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  • Writer's pictureSarah Britton

Pick a Setting to Write In

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

Your surroundings can make or break your focus. When picking a setting to write in, ensure you’ve removed distractions and stressors.

Those thirty open internet tabs that aren't related to what you want to write? Bookmark them if you must, but close them. They're distracting clutter during a writing session.

Need to clean your living space? Do it or move your writing session to a place where you don't have to stare at dirty dishes or clothes all over the floor beyond your computer screen.

Know you'll write better outside your place, but you're afraid it'll be too noisy? Bring earbuds or headphones. Noise-canceling, preferably. You can get decent earbuds for 20 bucks off Amazon. Just make sure they’re comfortable in your ears!

My choice of setting? I frequent various coffee shops to accomplish long hours of writing. The combination of coffee and pastry treats, strangers doing their own thing, and removing myself from my own home (where I slack off) helps me focus. An outside-my-home setting gets me into my writing zone. Most importantly, my cat can't lay on my laptop keyboard—or my arm. (It's very difficult to type when your entire arm is falling asleep because a purring monster has latched on and refuses to let go.)

Anyway, there’s a plus when going out to write: People-watching (to a socially acceptable degree, mind you) can inspire new characters and new events to add to your story. The drum circle in downtown Asheville, NC, is a particular favorite writing setting of mine—you never know who you'll meet there, but they're bound to be interesting.

Figure out what settings motivate you to write. Explore your downtown and your library. Haunt the local coffee shop. If you can’t find an outside setting that suits your fancy, make one in your own home. It can be a comfy chair, a cozy corner, or even your bathtub. Whatever you do, pick a place and stick to it. If you find yourself watching Netflix or browsing Twitter instead of writing, find a new setting. When you slack off too often in a singular space, that space can become difficult to write in—your brain associates it with other activities.

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