Where Do I Write?

This week for our How I Write series, my accountability group is talking about where we write. And I’m sure that the others are going to talk more about physical spaces and where they take their laptops and notebooks for field trips.

I’m going to tackle this topic from a slightly different angle. I haven’t found that going out in the world to a coffee shop, bookstore, library or other place really helps to shake things loose in my head, they provide distracting people to watch which are often much more interesting than what I’m writing! Yes, even with headphones. And I didn’t really want to show off messy pictures of my desk or some of the other spots around the house that I’ll settle into to write. Because for me, it’s not so much about the location, as if I have the right tools with me.

For brainstorming and very early exploration work on a project, I take pen and paper and usually end up spread out on the bed, scribbling madly. Once that’s done, I used to take it and try to make sense of it by organizing it into a spreadsheet in Excel or an outline in Word.

After that, I used to use Dropbox to keep the files on my desktop and my laptop synched up. But my process has changed slightly since I inherited my iPad 1 from DH who got the newest one this spring. It’s much lighter and more compact even than my Macbook Air and with Dropbox available on it, that took care of the synching issue.

Screenshot of Scrivener and my desktop writing space.

Scrivener allows me to SEE the structure and rearrange easily if needed. Love the Project target window as well.


That left me with the question of what app I was going to use to do the actual writing. I’d played a bit with Notes on my phone. Ick. But, I’d recently converted to using Scrivener on my desktop and LOVE IT! The only problem is that there isn’t a version for iOS, yet.

Screenshot of IndexCard app for iPad.

Virtual Index Cards: Don’t Leave Home Without Them!

In the meantime, I found a workaround using IndexCard which is an iPad app mostly used for screenwriting and has some of the same fundamental features. It’s holding me until Scrivener completes their app.

But what this really means is that I’m no longer tied to my desktop or laptop. I am much less reluctant to drag my iPad along with me where ever we go — out to eat (IHOP, Red Robin, Applebees, TGIFriday’s), on appointments (various doctor’s offices, the eye doctor’s), etc have all become my writing spaces as well as many more locations around the house. Somehow, the iPad isn’t as isolating to use as my laptop when we sit around the TV in the evenings and I’m not captured by the show. I can also quickly drop in and out of the current “card” and not have to worry about screwing up the pristine copy.

I just have to make sure the synching is correct. You do have to do a bit more manual synching with IndexCard, but the freedom is worth it right now.

So… for me it’s not just WHERE DO I WRITE, but more HOW I WRITE when I’m there that’s important to keeping the words flowing and the creativity bubbling.


YOUR TURN: Does a change of scenery help your creative pursuits? Where are your favorite places to work? What helps you focus and keeps you motivated to finish a project?

And if you’d like to read what the rest of my accountability group thinks about mixing up their writing venues, you can find their blogs here:

* Alexia Reed * Kimberly Farris * Danie Ford * Emma G. Delaney

4 Responses to Where Do I Write?

  1. I’ve written in the library, at B&Bs, in parks. But the best place is my home office. Because – for me – it’s not so much the location as the commitment to write. Butt in chair. I also use Scrivener.

    • That’s definitely a lot of it, Carol! But sometimes I really WANT to write, but still can’t. I’ve found for me, changing locations doesn’t help so much as taking a break from whatever I’m stuck on and stuffing my head full of other stuff for a while.

      I think it would be different if I was trying to write more when everyone else in the family is up and wanting my attention, then I can see the desire/need to change venues just to get some peace and quiet might be there.

      But being an introvert, just being around other people and watching them, not even really interacting with them can be a drain on my energy levels, so I think that’s why going on field trips doesn’t work as well for me. =)

  2. I clicked on your Index Card link & they do have an iPhone version!! I do agree that the portability of the iPad makes it enticing for writing on-the-go. I want one! (But you already know that!)

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