I make a conscious effort not to let myself get too picky about my writing environment. It’s not that I don’t think a routine can be helpful, or that I have a personal vendetta against my whiny inner artistic self. Routine can’t always be counted on, however – there are always variables in life, especially if you’re not a rich and famous author and you have to do other work to make a living (and let’s face it, that’s most of us). And as for my whiny inner artist, she has her place, but it’s good to remind her of it from time to time – as in, “Hey. If you ain’t writin’, you ain’t a writer. And if you ain’t a writer, you got no cause to be all prima donna.” Tough self-love is sometimes necessary.
But back to my main point – I try not to get too attached to any one aspect of my writing environment. Time of day is an unavoidably undependable factor, since my “day job” is on a flexible schedule, and from one day to the next I could work a midday shift and be off at four-thirty in the afternoon, or I could go in around six in the evening and work till midnight.
Location is something I stay whimsical about. I do generally use my laptop, since my desktop computer is full of distracting games and art programs etc., but every now and then I’ll shake that up, too, and work at my desk. When I’m on the laptop, sometimes I sit on the couch and work, sometimes in bed, and sometimes (now) sitting on the patio lounger on my balcony. I’m not one of those writers who can concentrate in a coffee shop, although I try sometimes. I can edit just about anywhere, but coming up with new material is something I really need to lose myself in for it to work.
I do let myself be a little prima donna about whether or not I listen to music while I work. Some days, I’m just not feeling it, but the right music will click my brain into the right gear. Other days, music is a blaring, horrendous distraction.
The main thing, for me, is to have enough self-discipline not to need certain circumstances to write. I’d hate to have writer’s block every time I worked a closing shift, if the weather was too cold for me to work on the balcony, if my speakers went out on my laptop, or if something came up during my “writing time” and took up those hours of the day. I’d most likely be furious anytime anything threatened my routine, including friends and relations, and that would be a miserable situation for everyone involved. So for my own well-being and peace of mind, for the greater good of the world not having to put up with me throwing tantrums about my writing time, and to keep myself productive as a writer, I’ve learned to write whenever and wherever I can, even if I only have an hour in between things to do it.
The point is: Be flexible.