A Moveable Desk

Where are the best places to write?

A writer never leaves their office. Their world is where they work and they are at their job twenty four hours a day. Creativity isn’t nine to five, an idea can hit you like a kick in the balls anytime of the day and a good writer needs to be ready for the beating. If an idea comes on at midnight while you’re half way through Fletch Lives, you better grab a pen or that sexy new idea is going to move on over to the next writer and all you’re stuck with is the memory of Chevy Chase back when he was funny.

I hear people talk with lofty voices about their writer’s retreats out in the middle of nowhere. I don’t sleep well unless I can hear a car alarm faintly in the distance, not to mention the cost involved with such retreats. Nope, most of us have to find places amongst the hell of day to day life from which to write.

Bars & Pubs

I’ve written the bulk of my words from various bars and pubs around Melbourne. As I’m writing this it’s 6.07 on a Friday night and I’m at the Post Office Hotel on Sydney Road. Tom Waits is playing (it plays a lot here) and I’m drinking Guinness. Ordinarily, I’d like to sit at the bar but the Post Office doesn’t have stools anymore but that’s okay because the tables are wide and I can spread my papers out.

A bar is the perfect place to work, if you can find the right one. It needs to be quiet. It needs good music. And it needs patrons who are not going to hassle you with small talk (this does not apply to bars in NYC – they love small talk and you can never get any work done).

Cafes

Try and find a cafe that everybody hates. They’ll welcome the business of a single writer who buys one coffee every hour and a half, just to show the passing public that there’s at least one poor soul who can stomach their burnt coffee.

BEWARE: There is nothing worse than a bored waiter/waitress/barista talking your ear off about how he/she/they’ve always been told by their friends that they should write a book/screenplay/paragraph or whatever, because they’ve lived such an interesting life (which they rarely have).

Planes, trains & automobiles

If there’s ever a place where you can get a little solitude, it’s on any mode of public transport. People won’t engage you in conversation let alone make eye contact. Your knees make an okay desk, the view outside is constantly changing and eavesdropping on phone calls endless source of entertainment and material.

The Hotel Room

When I can afford it, and at other times when I can’t avoid it, a hotel room has been a fortress of solitude and a place where the words can flow free. The cheaper the better, for both aesthetic and financial reasons. You want the kind of place that power drills the remote control to the bedside table and where the air is filled with the ghosts of the people who’ve stayed there. There is nothing like the experience of pulling a bed up to a bench and building a makeshift office.

Bars, cafes, public transport or hotel rooms. It really doesn’t matter where you write from, only that you write. A pen, a piece of paper and a willing mind is all that is really needed. Be where you’re comfortable, be where you like the bartender or music. Be where you can draw the words out of your heart and onto the page.

The Post Office Hotel
6.56 PM
29/09/2012

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3 thoughts on “A Moveable Desk

  1. Agreed. I’ll always bang out more than I think possible when on the move. A 25 minute train journey will give me 500 words. An afternoon in a pub will give me 3K or so. I can (and do) write at home, but I think it’s honestly better to have a workplace separate from the comforts of the TV and sofa.

    • It’s funny how we can turn writing into mathematics. I prefer to write in rooms without televisions because when you’re in the depths of the second act, even SUNRISE can appear riveting.

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