Writers are always on the lookout for the most conducive environment to actually sit down and do the writing. Inspiration may strike at odd moments, usually when a pen and paper is not accessible and the mind is at its most porous. For example the most scintillating dialogue will formulate itself in the midst of a traffic snarl and then disappears with the whizz of a car. The real nuts and bolts of writing happen when in a disciplined way you force yourself to sit down and start tapping away at the keyboard. That is when all those all those ideas that had arisen at such inconvenient times have to be rounded up or dug up from the recesses of the brain and put to the scrutiny of the muse. So which is that one place where such activity can be undertaken?
Writers differ on their favourite spots for writing. Some like the sea breeze to bring their ideas to the shores of their computer screen, whereas others prefer deep leafy glades with the sun streaming in to rustle up the words. J K Rowling used to have the luxury of being able to write in a café. Now she is just too famous and probably wouldn’t be able to step into one without being surrounded by ten people. We wonder if she has recreated a café atmosphere at home. There are yet others who prefer to write in libraries probably being surrounded by so many other books helps the words fall into place. Jeffery Archer wrote books in prison and said that was his most constructive time as there were no other distractions. Possibly what he meant by those were book signings and book tours. Which would also explain the freedom fighters who wrote copiously while incarcerated in various jails across the country for their freedom fighting activities.
William Dalrymple in one of his acknowledgements thanked someone rich enough to own a private island and not use it and therefore it had been lent to Mr. Dalrymple to write in a distraction free environment. We should all be so lucky! Though it is questionable how many of those hours on the island would be spent in swimming, eating, drinking and reading rather than on writing. The sound of the waves and the feel of the sand between the toes are more likely to send people like us to other worlds far away from the keyboard.
But finally, without prejudice to whatever has been stated above, the best advice about suitable places to write in came from a character in Thornyhold, a book by Mary Stewart, who claimed that a room with a view of the pig sty was most appropriate for writing as it discouraged any attempts at gazing out of the window. We still can’t bring ourselves to look for a room with that view!