• What’s Your Writing Habitat?

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Strategies     Comments No comments

    Last week we offered tips on how to carve out your own writing habitat right in your own home, with WriteByNighter Simone Fuselier laying out in detail the steps she took to make herself comfortable writing at home.

    But Simone isn’t the only one who’s succeeded at inviting the muse through her front door. Check out where a few of WBN’s coaches and consultants get their creative work done:

    Anisse Gross

    “I write in a small room in my apartment that’s also a guest room. It looks like a ship’s cabin, lots of wood and little windows. There’s a ton of books and clutter, and I usually tack up inspiring things on the wall. It doesn’t hurt that I have a view of the ocean. I like that it feels magical and separate from the rest of the world in some way.”

    Resa Alboher

    “I have a desk I love that is Ikea unpainted simple wood. On this desk I have a candle holder that casts lovely shadows on the wall and have a Native American blanket hanging on the opposite wall where there is a bed. Often I lie on the bed and write and sometimes sit at the desk.  I can see trees out the window and pure blue sky and hear bird song and dogs barking and occasional traffic sounds in the distance. When home this is a good place to write. I also love writing in cafes.”

    Lydia Conklin

    “After years of living in tiny spaces, in Ann Arbor I have my own office! It has a desk and a table and books and art stuff, because I also draw comics. It has a window that looks out on my neighbor’s house, and a tree branch where squirrels run by. It also has my clothes and skis.”

    Tatiana Ryckman

    “My composition usually happens out in the world, and I tend to be most prolific while traveling. However, when I return home and begin to edit notes and lines from the piles of scrap paper I’ve been lugging around, I fortify myself on the couch with a pot of tea and a mound of snacks so I don’t have to move all day.”


    For the most part, I’m the same as Tatiana–when it comes to writing, I’m at my best in the wild. My favorite type of spot is a quiet, dark bar, preferably one with wood-paneled walls, few customers, the TVs on mute, the music not too loud. Early afternoon works best. Pen and paper. A beer I can nurse.

    I haven’t found a coffee shop in NYC that offers a similar setting. They’re all very light, very loud, very crowded. If anyone reading this has any suggestions, triple-extra please send them along.

    Discussion & Further Reading

    Last week we asked you to tell us about your writing habitat at home. Today, let us know what sorts of public spots you find productive. Do you get good writing done in loud coffee shops and quiet bars? Quiet coffee shops and loud bars? Under a tree in the park? On the subway or bus? While driving? Let us know in the comments below.

    If you’re in need of a weekly writing treat, subscribe to our email list, either in your right-hand sidebar or by ticking the “Join” box beneath your comment.

    For more discussion of where in the hell to write, check out:

    Writing in the Wild

    Your Writing Habitat

    Any Austinite who may be looking for a good writing spot in town, try:

    Oh, the Places You’ll Go (to Write)


    David DuhrWriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is books editor and fiction editor at the Texas Observer and contributes regularly to the Dallas Morning News, Publishing Perspectives, the Observer and others.


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