Suspend Your Disbelief

Shop Talk |

Where to Write? Anywhere.

I admit I’m a bit of a prima donna when it comes to writing: I like particular spaces and particular environments. Being at my desk, with everything I need just where I want it, helps me focus. And I’m clearly not alone.

But there are benefits to being more flexible, and this essay by Jessica Francis Kane on The Millions points out some of the best reasons to make do when it comes to workspaces:

I began to suspect I was too susceptible to the idea of the “writer’s desk” and decided it might be better to do without one. Somewhere along the way, I began to work in libraries. More important, I began to get work done in libraries. I acquired a laptop, a padded case for it, and a backpack. I carried pens, a notebook or two, a legal pad, and a few books. Very soon I felt like the academic equivalent of the college student backpacking abroad—I was entirely self-sufficient! I didn’t need a private desk and the talismanic power of special objects surrounding me. All I needed was a warm cardigan (summer temperatures can be freezing) and the ability to ignore certain trivial rules (no drinking in the reading room; I’m very discreet with my coffee), and I had everything I needed to work effectively.

Do you need to be in a particular spot to write? Or are you a literary peripatetic who can write anywhere? Any tips for unfixing yourself from your desk?

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