Where You Write Matters

I have been staring at this blog for three weeks with analysis paralysis. Ever since the 2010 Minnesota Beard-Off it has become very obvious to me that I can do awesome things if I just do them. But for some reason I need to open three new tabs and navigate to Facebook in each one of them instead of writing. And I do this, in spite of the fact that I know the only way to get published is to write. I figured writing here would help me write elsewhere, which it probably will, if I can actually get myself to write here. But the fact remains that I’m sitting at home for hours not writing.

Emily and I live in a two bedroom apartment, partly for the extra square feet, but also so I can have an office. As I am starting my freelance writing practice (new contract being sent today! Hooray for paid writing! Suck it, non-paying writing!) I have said it’s really nice to have an office at home. It is nice insofar as I have a door I can shut when we want to focus on different things, but for the ten hours a day when I’m by myself it does not inspire creativity. It has been my default position for everything: writing (both professionally, semi-professionally, and personally), StarCraft 2, cat videos on YouTube, and everything else. But really, working in my office dilutes my ability to focus on the writing I want and need to do. If I’m going to make more money than Emily (because this is a contest), then I’m going to need to start getting published a lot more. And that means writing a lot more. And the office with my Everything Computer has been absolutely shitty for that purpose.

I think I have had my best writing luck when I turn off the Internet. When I did National Novel Writing Month last year, I needed to write 20,000 words in three days, and I got it done only after I unplugged the router (pro tip: a bottle of wine will not take the edge off two pots of coffee, but it’s still fun to try). Today I have moved from my computer (a desktop) to Emily’s computer (a laptop). I am less easily able to log into Facebook (I have to log her out first), and feeling like a guest on the computer somehow helps me focus. I have also moved from the dedicated space of the office out into the living room. Oddly, out here my cats pester me much less.

So, my advice based on what I’ve been able to accomplish so far is to explore strange, new writing areas. Seek out new lighting and new isolation. And so on. Lock yourself in a room, TURN OFF THE INTERNET, and maybe then you’ll allow yourself to just do the writing you need to do. And maybe I will too! I hope.

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