The Right (Write) Environment – What Inspires You?

Posted: December 13, 2015 in Writing Tips
Tags: , , , , , , ,

You cannot deny it. The Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays usually give you a good feeling about life in general. If you’re up North you have the snow. For those of us down south, we must rely on Thomas Kinkade to set the mood.

I am in a much better mindset to write during the holidays. Unfortunately, living in the Houston area rarely provides me with those heart-warming, visually appealing Christmas scenes . . . sleighs and snow-covered trees in the forest, so I improvise by burning a Vermont White Spruce candle while listening to a 24-hour Christmas music radio station on my computer.

Let’s face it, we need all the inspiration and help we can get.

There is a wealth of information available on the Internet on how environment nurtures creativity. I once read about one writer who wallpapered their entire room with an outdoor scene. Some writers need to get out of the house and write in coffee shops, their local Starbucks, or lug their laptop and writing materials to the library, one of my favorite places to get away. Surrounded by all those shelves of books, how can you not be inspired?

Many writers need a dedicated space or room, and that is generally where I do most of my writing, except when I decide I need to get out of the house. Yet the room itself is not enough for me. I have surrounded myself with my favorite painting genre, outdoor scenes. Nearly every wall has at least one painting of a scene. They’re not Thomas Kinkade, but they accomplish their need.

The desk, the lighting, and the look of the lamps, all contribute to put me into the writing mood. Several months ago, I substituted a flat desk 60×36 inch desk with an L-shaped desk, complete with a tall hutch and ample storage space. On the main section of the desk sits my desktop computer where I handle all the “non-writing” stuff. My laptop sits on the L attachment and faces the window in my office. I’d love to be able to look out on a stand of trees or rolling hills, but for the time being I’ll need to be satisfied with looking out at pedestrian and vehicle traffic on a residential street. Still, it is a welcome distraction.

My family laughs at me because I frequently change the look and organization of the office, but I believe it’s finally exactly where I want it to be. Comfort and convenience is a requirement, so I have a tall and soft executive chair for my workstation, with a recliner and a floor lamp next to the desk where I can relax with my laptop and hopefully create riveting stories, occasionally glancing up to admire the paintings on the walls.

The type of lamp can make a difference. A small desk “uplight” lamp for my desktop computer work, a banker’s lamp for my laptop work and a tall desk lamp I purchased from Kirkland’s several years ago have stood the test of time.

Like many writers, my space needs to be clutter-free, with as few objects on the desktop as possible. I recently moved my file cabinet and a large credenza out in favor of a smaller table for my printer. Naturally, I needed to keep my bookcase, if only for the imagery of books.

On the wall opposite the desk sits a 40 x 72” whiteboard, perhaps the most valuable object in my writer’s “toolbox.” The results I’ve gained from brainstorming on this whiteboard have been remarkable.

Many writers play music while working on their writing projects. I prefer easy listening, and my favorite collection of music are the Nature Quest CD’s all of which sit on my Itunes app, always at the ready for whatever I’m in the mood for, whether it be a thunderstorm, birds singing in a forest, or the crash of waves at the beach accompanied by a guitar or harp. On occasion, I enjoy listening to Enya and Gordon Lightfoot.

Take a look at the attached photos, and let’s share sources of inspiration. Who knows? Perhaps we’ll get ideas from one another.


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  1. ellenbest24 says:

    Father Christmas of course!

  2. My book WRITE TO THE HEART & RIGHT TO THE BANK is so different from your experience. I’d love love love to invite you to one of my seminars — maybe collaborate. I have been widely published since I was 16, selling my writing to newspapers, magazines, on posters and tee shirts and ads, PR, and then my syndicated comic strip published in 23 countries.Finally, books.

    I wrote on buses, planes, in the kitchen of a spiritual community (Findhorn, Scotland) where the only place the lights were on at 5AM was by the ovens. When I couldn’t see after an accident, I blindly wrote the STAR poem on the cover of a nearby book. Thirty years later the Star poem is going to be released as a song.

    It had not occurred to me to set the mood for writing and I look forward to more from you and responses to your suggestions.

    • jackstr952 says:

      Vivian – thanks for replying. I wish I had your verve and drive to write, although I am doing better. I’m curious, what do you mean when you say “collaborate?” Have a great and productive day. 🙂

    • jackstr952 says:

      Vivian – My intention of the blog was not to suggest or imply one “needs” a certain environment to write, only that certain environments might put a writer more in the mood. That being said, I envy those writers who can write anywhere, anytime, in any conditions – unfortunately, I’m not quite there yet, but getting there. 🙂

  3. Ben Reeder says:

    I’m more in Vivian’s camp, in that I’ve tried to reduce my requirements for good writing to as close to nil as possible. Basically, I feel that writing is a skill, one I should be able to practice wherever I am, within reason. For me, requirements for a certain environment or for certain things within the environment create barriers to writing. This way, when I find myself WITH those things, they are only a plus, instead of being at a disadvantage when they are not present.

    This is not to say that some things can help improve the writing experience, but I feel they shouldn’t be absolutely necessary. As a result, I’ve been able to write seven books from my office space in my living room. My only necessity is something to write with.

  4. I do my best writing in the morning when it’s dark. Summer is not my friend. My desk is perched in a nook of my open floor plan (also not my friend) cottage a bluff over Lake Erie. A cubical of writing books, chill music, candles and a cat. I can journal thoughts anywhere but to reflect on what I write I need candlelight and a cup of 5am brew.

  5. fionaarcher says:

    Great post, Jack. I like peace and quiet. I have my window open right near my desk and a cup of coffee or iced coffee (depending on the weather) right near my jar of colored sharpies. 🙂

    I like writing in the morning for many reasons, not the least is once I’ve reached my word count goal, everything else that happens that day is a bonus.

    • jackstr952 says:

      Fiona – I’m with you! For some reason, it’s hard to get motivated in the afternoons and evenings, so mornings when it’s quiet is best. Thanks for the compliment!

  6. Hello, always i used to check blog posts here in the early hours in the break of day, because i like to learn more and more.

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