Fiction Blog, Musings & Bookish Things

Step Into My Office (Or, Where I Write)

where-i-writeAs a reader, I love learning more about how my favorite books were written. Fun facts like how J.K. Rowling wrote the initial idea for Harry Potter on a napkin, or how Ernest Hemingway only wrote while standing (in a pair of oversized loafers, to be precise) always intrigue me.

I’ve shared by original inspiration for the Desertera series before (you can read about it here), but I realized I rarely talk about how or where I write. Admittedly, my “office” isn’t glamorous, but it’s gotten the job done twice now (14 times if you count my nonfiction projects).

My office spaceSome writers swear by the coffee shop – the white noise, the social pressure to look busy, the caffeine! – while others can’t imagine writing in public. I used to be in the second group. In fact, when given the option, I’ll always choose to write in the solitude of my office (aka the spare bedroom my husband also works in), wearing my cozy sheep robe, with a steaming up of chai tea (made with almond milk, of course) resting on my Kansas coaster.

On the weekends, I get my way and can write in my private little haven. But you know what? Most of the time, I can barely drag myself to the keyboard. Between the adorable meows of my feline son Thomas, and the seductive “buh-uh” of Netflix (don’t look at me like that – you know the sound!), and the pathetic reality of the empty refrigerator, there are about a hundred distractions that keep me saying, “I’ll write later.”

Sometimes I do. Other times I don’t. It’s always a gamble, and the voice in my head has a fantastic poker face.

Luckily for my readers and my sanity, the weekdays arrive again. Every morning, I pack my trusty laptop in my bag. (Disclaimer: I’m obligated to mention that it was a birthday present from my husband and I love it.) Then, I head to the train station, find my favorite seat in the “quiet car,” and write for the entire ride to work – and again, on the way home.

If you ask me, I’ll tell you that I hate writing on the train. Bumpy spots in the tracks make me commit unforgivable typos, the doors let in chilly breezes, and the other passengers take up more than their fair share of seat space (Can’t they see I’m writing, here?). But remember, inner me can’t be trusted.

On the trainWhen it comes down to it, I actually love writing on the train. The quiet car provides that crucial white noise – you wouldn’t believe how easily you learn to tune out conductors and announcements. The other passengers, while not always respectful of my space, provide that awful social pressure. (After all, I can’t have my laptop out like some kind of professional and not work.) And, I have to admit, I get a burst of satisfaction whenever I catch the person next to me reading over my shoulder … especially when they have a kind smile on their face!

And yes, I have written steamy scenes on the train. And yes, making eye contact with strangers when I do is hella awkward.

But the best part of writing on the train? It alleviates my writerly guilt. Like when you curl up with a book and ignore your family or friends, writing is a solitary craft. I hate spending evenings or weekends locked away in my study when I could be spending them with my husband or our friends. As long as I can get a seat on the train, I can easily write 1,000 words during my commute. So, when I get home, it’s all about enjoying dinner and each other’s company (and yes, Netflix).

As I said, it’s not the most glamorous office, but it gets the job done. Hopefully, I’ll be able to prove that to you again in a few months!

Do you have any fun facts about the writing of your favorite books? Where do you feel most creative or productive? Any other questions for me? Share in the comments!

26 thoughts on “Step Into My Office (Or, Where I Write)”

  1. Netflix is me & hubby time too, our bedtime TV binge. The weekend is about family, chores & maybe networking on social media. I can only write with peace and quiet, either at home or the freezing office (I prefer home). I’d take a train over my arguing kids, it’s impossible to write through.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing your writing routines! It’s always nice to know that I’m not the only one who succumbs to Netflix. 😉 I also like to leave non-writing tasks for the weekend, and I really admire your ability to balance writing with raising a family. It’s very inspiring!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your post, Jennie! I have an office with lots of bookshelves and a desk, but I prefer to write in my recliner with a fuzzy, warm throw over my legs and a cup of coffee at hand. When I really need to concentrate, I move to the bedroom, away from Hubby, TV and the oh, so tempting kitchen. With papers and source books spread out around me, the bed becomes “my office.” :).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to lock myself away for a longer writing session or take advantage of short bursts throughout the day whenever and wherever I might find them. Like you, I prefer to spend my weekends with family which is even more motivation to make the time to write during the balance of the week.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Still, I always admire writers like you who are willing to adapt. Too many play the suffering artist and refuse to write under anything but ideal conditions. I don’t know how they ever get anything written!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this! Thanks for sharing… geez, it would be so nice to be able to write on the train or bus, considering I spend so much of my time there. But I’m the opposite — if I see anyone looking at my writing, I get way too nervous and have to put it away! Mostly though, I switch back and forth between writing at home or in a coffee shop. I prefer writing in coffee shops and am most productive there, but lately the allure staying in my robe all morning has been much more enticing than putting on pants and having to look socially acceptable. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awh, thank you so much! I feel you — if I didn’t have to take the train for my day job, I don’t think I’d write anywhere but home. I used to be nervous about other people reading over my shoulder, but a few realizations helped me. A) Only a very tiny percentage of people dare look. B) Even fewer people care. And C) I’m never going to see these people again anyway! It’s very freeing when you think about it.


  5. My office in the loft off the living room is my comfort zone for writing. It has two big windows that look out on tree tops and can be opened in the spring and fall (summer is too hot) so I can listen to the birds. Add a cup of coffee and I’m ready to go!

    Liked by 1 person

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