Killer Year–The Class of 2007

A Place To Write
July 4, 2007, 8:35 pm
Filed under: Sean Chercover

I know writers who can write anywhere. Some write on airplanes, somehow able to ignore the prying eyes of the passengers on either side. Some grab a few minutes from the day job and bash away in their cubicles, blocking out the ringing phones and gossiping coworkers. Many are even able to write in coffee shops.

“Just banged-out a thousand words down at Starbucks this morning. The cappuccino machine’s milk-frother? Didn’t even hear it. The superficial yuppie chatter? Didn’t bother me. The over-roasted coffee? The fluorescent lighting? The new-age muzak? All water off a duck’s back, man. I can write anywhere. Got my thousand words with plenty of time to bike across town to Yoga class.”

I hate these people.

Hate them.



Okay, hate is a strong word. Maybe I don’t quite hate them. And maybe my pseudo-hatred is really envy, because I can’t do what they do. Oh, I’ll take a notepad and a pen down to my local pub or coffee house. Well, the pub. And I’ll do all sorts of brainstorming with said notepad and pen. But when it comes to actually writing prose, getting the actual story down, I put aside the tablet and chisel, and switch to a laptop and keyboard.

And for some reason, at that point, I need to be alone.

I need quiet (even though I often play music while writing) and I need to feel the absence of prying eyes, or eavesdropping ears (I often vocalize while writing).

Am I strange? Okay, don’t answer that. I know I am strange. But that’s how it is with me, and I know that there are others like me out there in the world.

As many of you know, my wife and I have a ten-month-old baby. Love the little critter, and I’m having a blast. Never thought it could be this much fun, this rewarding. But remember what I said about needing quiet? Not really an option, at home with a teething baby.

Luckily, my wife and I have a very generous friend named Kit, and Kit has a cottage, and Kit’s cottage is my Place To Write.

Kit’s cottage is semi-rustic. No phone and no Internet. There is electricity, so the computer works and you can play music, and you can cook indoors when it rains. But there’s no running water, so you wash the dishes in the lake. And you wash yourself in the lake. And, well, there’s no running water.

You can take the canoe out and fish for bass. You can swim with your dog. Or you can just sit in the boathouse and take in the beauty of it all. And at night, there are so many stars. Living in the city, you forget about the stars. This place reconnects you with the planet you live on. It is a good place to be, and a very good place to write.

I come here with my dog, Edgar, and I write. My wife and baby come up in the evening and visit. They go home again, and I write some more.

And then I return to the city, and try to figure out how to bring that place, that head space, home with me.

Tell me about your writing place.


5 Comments so far
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Well, I don’t have a writing place because I’m not a writer, but I really envy you that cottage…

Comment by Barbie

The cottage sounds awesome. I’m like you, I prefer solitude and quiet. I’m too magpie-ish. Especially in a coffee shop, I get distracted, then start dreaming up lives for the people around me, and forget what I’m working on to embellish those lives into shorts and other things… it’s detrimental, I tell you.

Give me my chair, my laptop and my silly cat snoring softly in her chair any day.

Comment by JT Ellison

I hate to tell you, but I’m one of those people you hate. 🙂

I can literally write anywhere. I’ve stood at my breakfast bar and knocked out ten pages of manuscript while my wife, her sister, and five screaming kids operate in my vicinity.

Most of the time I write at night, in my den, with an ipod playing through the earbud lodged in my left ear, while my right ear listens to the TV, which is usually tuned into ESPNews.

Comment by E Scott Johnson

I have to have quiet as well (and I sort of envy you that cottage, but the no-running-water would be a deal-breaker for me). I can’t even stand the idea of the noise of a coffee shop, though I wish I could just find a place away from home and the distractions here and write on a regular schedule. My friend keeps touting a bungalow she has… unfortunately, it’s in Oregon and so not exactly in driving distance.

Comment by toni mcgee causey

I’d love to be in that cottage. Yesterday I wrote in the family room while my daughter watched Dr. Phil three feet away. Now I’m afraid that a few of those characters from Dr. P’s couch may have snuck into my novel…talk about scary.

Comment by patry

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