top of page
  • Writer's pictureStefanie Barnfather

My Favourite Places To Write

Finding the right environment for writing can be a daunting task. If the mood isn't right it's easy to become distracted by external stimuli or consumed by internal rhetoric. How can artists locate -- or create -- a space to get those words on the page? Can you add a little white noise in the background? Or hang in a raucous coffee shop? Or move to a monastery where the clergy have taken a vow of silence?

The type of work I'm doing dictates my environmental choice. If I'm writing short stories I require total focus for at least four hours. If I'm banging away at my series I need a place with minimal distraction and a consistent routine. If I'm blogging? Riots could reign and they wouldn't break my concentration.

Wherever you choose to tap into your artistry, it has to be helpful. These are some of my favourite places to write.


Inspiration can come from anywhere, so sitting in a people-populated place can help with content creation. Stuck on dialogue? Grab lunch at your local diner and do some respectful eavesdropping. Struggling to find the perfect description? Visit your story's location (or somewhere similar) and jot down your observations. Unsure how to tap into the deep emotional vibes you need to land that climactic moment? Start a fight with your buddies and pay attention to the fallout (I'm completely joking, please don't do that, causing chaos to serve your story is NOT okay -- observing it, however, if conditions arise organically, can be useful).

Warning: I don't recommend going to high-energy places if you're doing detailed editing. Distractions can be counterproductive when you're trying to spot stray periods, hidden homonyms or unnecessary filler words.

Bright Side: Environmental energy can be a great kick-starter. Go into a crowd or hop on Twitter and see if someone else's jam can butter your WIP bread.


Do you hate distractions? Are you working on a meaty moment? Are the ideas flowing faster than you can get them down? Are your words stuck and any pull on your attention pushes them farther and farther out of your typist's grasp? You may need a silent space -- no sound, no breath, not even a whisper of wind. These environments can be difficult to find, but they aren't impossible. Lock your bedroom door. Ask your people for privacy. Put in those noise-cancelling earbuds. TURN OFF YOUR DEVICES!!!

Warning: If you're someone who gets lost in your writing for longer than you realize (uh oh -- missed mom's birthday again), set a timer to jolt your mind out of it's twilight zone. Your work is important, but when it gets too quiet -- and you become too absorbed in your written world -- it's easy to forget the other important things you've got to do. Like eating. And drinking water. And existing as a whole person outside of your story.

Bright Side: If you can create those moments of total solitude a lot of progress can be made in one sitting. I've written upwards of 10,000 words in a few hours when quiet conditions are consistent -- don't discount the power of silence. I especially recommend this environment for first drafts or when you're working on a series (it's important to get those bigger plot points crafted before they disappear like vulnerable species impacted by climate change -- not joking, our planet is in trouble).


This is my favourite type of creative energy after I've finished draft one and am checking pacing, fine-tuning and doing deep zone edits. I like a bit of activity in my outside world to keep my attention outside the page. Using sound and sights to hold my objectivity in place allows my brain to spot big-picture errors that may have been missed (ie. clunky concepts, garbled sentence structure and WTF am I trying to say?). There are lots of spaces and places that help with this type of work: bookstores, libraries, quiet parks, putting a fan on high speed, having your pug snore beside you in your office -- they all can be effective.

Warning: You may have to test the parameters of your ambiance tolerance a few times before you find the dynamic that works for you. Play around with different noises, lighting levels and locations in order to settle on your best fit. Don't get discouraged if you can't immediately craft the correct conditions -- this type of surrounding may take some manoeuvring to get right.

Bright Side: Once you find your sweet spot, it's easy to replicate. Create a playlist to use over and over. Make a trip to the park part of your daily routine. Adopt lots of dogs so the snoring never ends (joking again -- please don't adopt a pet to help your writing, they are living beings, not work tools).

Hope this helped! Environments can make-or-break a writer's career, so if you want to give the creative life your best shot I think it's worth devoting your time and energy into finding a space that serves your... time and energy.

Have a great week! Feel free to share when you've found a writing world that works.

54 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page