Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | December 18, 2012

Where Do You Write?

It’s the holiday season and, with the cleaning, baking, shopping, wrapping, writing messages and sending cards, and all the other holiday activities, I find little time for fiction writing between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year is no different — except that this year I have the excitement of looking forward to a new place to write.

Writers pursue their craft in a variety of locations. No one location fits everyone, for we all differ in powers of concentration and process. Each of us has a mental image of the ideal spot to write; unfortunately, few of us actually have that perfect spot, so we make do with what is available at home or go to another location, like a library or coffee shop.

I prefer writing at home, and my usual writing spot is at the kitchen table, where I have my laptop and an assortment of notes, dictionaries, and a thesaurus spread out around me. Obviously, this is a less-than-ideal set-up. The kitchen table has two leaves in it, so it’s big enough for the three of us to eat even with my writing paraphernalia occupying one end of the table. However, if we have any company, I have to move all my things elsewhere … and then move them back. Occasionally, I use the desktop in the family room, but that has no internet connection, which means internet researching is impossible. And since the computer desk also makes my legs feel cramped, I’m more comfortable writing at the table.

The biggest problem with both these locations, however, is the lack of doors. Both rooms are open to each other and the foyer — which means that my concentration is frequently interrupted by my retired husband and college-commuting son. After much explaining and many reminders, they are better at not interrupting me, but it still happens more than I’d like.

My dream writing location would be to have my own little office — with desk and work space, files and bookshelves … and a door — in a place that would foster creativity … a cabin far off in the woods … in the mountains … with a stream gurgling past the cabin … and lots of birds and wildlife …

You get the picture.

Yet, while I’ve imagined my dream location, I’ve always been a practical dreamer who knows that dreams are rarely completely realized. Still, I hoped some day I would, at least, have an small office of my own with a door.

To my continual amazement, wonders do happen!

23 - The cabin

Earlier this year, the people who owned the woods behind my daughter and son-in-law’s house decided to sell their land and log cabin. We had long planned on selling our four-bedroom house and moving into something near my daughter — something smaller and more suited for empty nesters — after our youngest son finished college. The latter event is still in the future, but, although it’s sooner than we’d planned, how could we pass up the opportunity to buy something adjoining our daughter and son-in-law’s property?

Despite the cabin’s tiny size — with a central kitchen-dining-living area, two bedrooms on one side, and a bathroom and laundry/storage room on the other side — we fell in love with it immediately. It’s an actual log cabin that the former owners put together from a kit, and it’s just beautiful inside. While it’s not in the mountains, a stream does border the property (but it doesn’t gurgle). The cabin may not quite fit my image of the perfect place, but it’s a lot closer than I ever dreamed I’d really achieve.

31 - The laundry-storage room, Dec 3

Odd as it may sound, I especially fell in love with the laundry/storage room because I envision it as a great writing spot. The beautiful little room has two windows that let in a lot of light and look out at the woods. The corner beneath the windows is the ideal spot for a desk and table that I could use for writing. And the room has a door! Although we’d have to use part of the room for storage and the washer and dryer are stacked there, I don’t consider that a serious drawback. In fact, if the door doesn’t keep out the noise from the rest of the house, I can do some laundry and let the washer and dryer drown out distracting family sounds.

Can you picture it?

Although I won’t get the room set up for a while, the anticipation is part of the delight, so I don’t mind the waiting.

Where do you write? What would be your ideal writing spot?


  1. I do most of my writing in my local McDonalds 🙂


    • You must have good will power, Jon. I think I’d gain a lot of weight if I tried that!


  2. Very nice!!! My husband’s hobby is watching Westerns on tv, and if I’m downstairs, I can’t work for the sound of ricocheting bullets. Luckily, the kids are gone, and the upstairs is mine.

    We’ll be moving next year, and building our dream home. My office will have the best view, AND a door!

    Congrats on your dream.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Laura. Your plans sound wonderful too. Best of luck on making that dream come true!


  3. I write at work during the wee hours of the morning. It’s quiet. I can have the radio on in the background. During the summer I’ll write at the park.


    • Both sound like great writing locations — although your boss might not agree!


  4. I do most of my writing at the kitchen table, which we never use for food, except once a year for Christmas dinner.
    It works very well when there’s no one else in the house.
    Works not at all when someone’s home with me.
    It’s like sleeping when the baby sleeps.
    I write like crazy when the house is empty and do things that don’t require solitude when there are people around.


    • That sounds a lot like me, Louise. “Make hay while the sun shines!” Before my husband retired, I could get a lot done, but now he’s home most of the time, so a separate space will be ideal.


  5. You are so lucky to have found your “writing cabin.” My family is so tired of me saying “i want a writer’s cottage”!! Someday. Until then, I can write anywhere where I can put my feet up and don my noise-cancelling headphones!


  6. […] little while ago, my writing buddy J. Thomas Ross wrote a post asking authors where they wrote. I didn’t have much to say on the topic at the time. After all, I wrote almost exclusively in my […]


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