Writing FAQ: where do you write?

aprilyamasaki.com // My first notes for Sacred Pauses were written in this journal, a freebie one year at a HarperCollins book display.
My first notes for Sacred Pauses were written in this journal, a freebie one year at a HarperCollins book display.

I wrote my first notes for Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal in a hotel lobby. It was early one morning while we were on vacation, and my husband was still asleep, so instead of turning on the light and disturbing him or resorting to writing in the bathroom, I quietly got dressed, grabbed my journal, and made my way to the lobby for a hot cup of tea.

Now I realize that’s a rather odd sentence because for many people “early morning” and “vacation” don’t exactly go together. Doesn’t vacation rather mean sleeping late and getting a slower start to the day? But vacation or not, work day or weekend, I’m generally a morning person, waking up early without an alarm and looking forward to a new day.

That morning, I was quite happy to write in the hotel lobby. At other times I might be writing in a library (which is where I’m writing this paragraph), while waiting to get my hair cut, in my dentist’s waiting room, at the airport, on our sun deck, in the basement next to our computer printer, propped up on one elbow while lying in bed, sitting cross-legged on the living room couch — and oh yes, I have a desk at home next to the kitchen and a desk at my office at the church which are great places to write too.

So does a writer need a special place to write? Or as I read recently, Does a writer need an office? On the one hand, I’d say no, I don’t need an office or some other special place to write — I can and do write in lots of different places.

But on the other hand, it definitely helps to have some designated space. While I can make do with just about anything anywhere, I do appreciate a journal, a filing folder, a crate for books and other research, a table surface where I can leave works in progress without having to put everything away whenever it’s time for dinner.

I also enjoy seeing where other writers write, and here are two of my recent favourites:

Cynthia Ruchti shares My Writing Desk and includes some beautiful artwork and views to the outside.

Barbara Techel includes a photo of her writing cottage in her post, What My Writing Cottage Means to Me, and follows that up with A Sneak Peek Inside.

Both are such a sensory delight, I’m not sure how much writing I would get done, but I do enjoy being able to look over their shoulders 🙂

Writing/Reflection Prompt: How about you? Where do you write?


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14 thoughts on “Writing FAQ: where do you write?

  1. April, like you, I can write anywhere. The most important need for me is that I am not interrupted. Much of my writing is done when my teenagers are asleep or when they are at music lessons and I am waiting in the van… I do have a cozy den/sewing room that is my favorite place to write. My husband calls it the “Woman Cave” since it is so feminine. 🙂

    Blessings ~ Wendy

  2. I like this second post I’ve seen today about the “how” and “where” and “what” of the actual writing task – tapping keys, scribing with a pen. Very interesting.

  3. Thank you, April for sharing my writing cottage. I do love it so!

    I should mention one of the reasons I needed a space of my own is that my husband works from home. He is on the phone quite often and since our home is small, I can hear so much of what is going on which is hard for me to then concentrate. The funny thing is though that I wrote most of my memoir in a nearby coffee shop! But when it comes to editing and proofreading, etc. I need silence to concentrate.

    Like you and others, there are other places when inspiration comes to me (such as when driving and on vacation) so I always carry pen and paper with me too. 🙂

    Thank you again for sharing my writing cottage. I hope it inspires others!

    -Barbara Techel

  4. I love the freedom afforded me by my laptop to go wherever the Spirit leads and readily write. Yesterday, I went old-school with notepad and pen and walked the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, strolling through the woods taking photos then taking “sacred pauses” on benches to write. It was lovely.

  5. Thanks for this enjoyable blog on writing. I used to write with a pencil at the head of the class while my eight-year-old students tried to write in their journals. However, with my sensors always on alert for my students’ needs, nothing I wrote in those days was worth keeping or sharing with others.
    When I was hired by Mennonite Church Canada back in 2002 I considered myself more of a teacher/speaker than a writer, but my ministry has called forth and helped develop my writing skills.
    Because of that, my favourite writing tool is my laptop. I’ve made a few stabs at writing in a paper journal, but my thoughts tend to flow more freely through a keyboard. I love it that I can move blocks of text around and that my editorial changes disappear without eraser marks. It’s almost like the fun of laying out pieces for a quilt! Where I write doesn’t really matter much to me, as long as conversations aren’t luring me away from the more solitary process of writing. However, when I write for children, I like to have some pictures of children around to help pull me into their world.

  6. I remember a quote from Walter Benjamin who said that you should not finish a piece of writing in a familiar setting because you will not have the courage to finish it as it ought to be.
    I definitely think about this in terms of finishing sermons . . .

  7. I’ve been writing for years, and still can’t say where I write best. The library is too loud (and are there less comfortable tables anywhere?), coffee shops are okay, but I get restless there, my church office has too many interuptions, the kitchen table needs to be cleared too often, my desk at home is small and doubles as a laundry table…yet somehow the writing happens. I’m still searching for “the place”. The place is definitely secondary to the inspiration and presence of God. Thank you for sharing your spots to help my search!
    Donita Wiebe-Neufeld

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