Lois Moss had a post yesterday about music and the positive effect it has on her while writing. Making off with that idea of hers, I am thinking about the writing process in general, and what things are necessary in order to get the work done.
Over the years, my minimum requirements for the right surroundings have shrunk to almost nothing: a stable writing surface, good paper, a good pen and nobody speaking to me. For years I wrote in restaurants and a decent (or just any) meal with coffee was a requirement before I could write, but I've written on crowded buses, on lawns, on planes, in cars and just about anywhere where I could be ignored and open my notebook. It doesn't matter if there's music playing, or people talking around me as long as they aren't talking to me, or where I am. Good light is important, though, especially as I get older. There's a great pho restaurant nearby that's just too dimly lit for me to write in, which is a pity because I like their pho and they have big tables.
At home, Mighty Reader and I set aside a room that's part library (though it only holds about a third of our books, if that), part sunroom (the cat spends a lot of time on the chaise lounge by the window), part music room (it's where I keep the guitar and the violins) and part writing room. We set up my writing table, a couple of lamps, my printer on a stand and my laptop there, and allegedly it's where I'll write my books. Certainly that's where I type up my revisions and new work, but I haven't actually written anything there. Time at home, alas, is still mostly given over to working on the house or recuperating from long days at the office. So even though I do most of my writing in restaurants and on the bus these days, I still have a dedicated space in the house set aside for writing, and here's what the view looks like from my chair:
There's a rack of CDs behind my chair that you can't see, and I can hook my laptop up to my small-but-powerful speakers so that, on those days when I actually do use the writing room, I can listen to music. There's no pattern to music played while writing, either. It's pretty much whatever comes on the iTunes shuffle or whatever disk I grab blind from behind me off the CD rack.
So what I'm wondering is: what are your minimum requirements for writing? What things make it impossible for you (for me, it's people talking to me but not much else)? Got a photo of your writing space at home? I don't think you can actually post those in comments, but maybe you could email them to me and I'll add them to this post. That might be cool. We'll see. For now, let's just see under what sort of conditions we've all been laboring.
Additions! Rick Daley and Annie Louden have bravely sent me photos of their writing spaces. Here's Rick's:
And here's Annie's:
This is where Davin Malasarn writes. I assume the green book is Tolstoy:
You'll notice that none of them has a stuffed Gir:
Which is why I rule.