To me, I need a certain kind of sameness in my writing environment. Maybe you do too. But you need to know how to create that space. Hopefully this will help you.
When are you most alert?
For me, I’m most alert a few hours after getting up, as well as whenever it’s dark outside (sunshine hurts me, as I’m a migraineur). It used to be about midday. For many, it’s early morning. For a lot of people, it’s somewhat late night to really late night.
You might also notice that your alertness doesn’t have a lot of bearing on how well you write. It doesn’t for me. Even so, knowing whether I’m alert or not helps me know what kind of expectations to place on myself, so it does help to know.
When is your thoughtful/meditative part of the day?
For me, this is late night or early morning. For others, it’s early morning. For you, it might be noontime.
This is more likely to be what affects your writing more. It is this way in my experience. I can be alert but unthoughtful and not be able to write. Maybe you’re set up in the opposite way, though, and you are the best indicator of what you need.
When do you have a relatively uninterrupted span of time?
For you, this might be during your child’s nap. Or during a meal break at work.
This can be almost the most important thing to think about. Interruption kills my writing more than anything, and I think that’s true for most of us.
For some of us time like this is the only time to use to get any writing done. That’s okay, but I wish it wasn’t like that, but sometimes Life must and should be in the way.
Putting it All Together: Time
Imagine a Venn diagram of all three of these timeframes. The overlapping space is your best time to write. Life might interrupt, but this time is important for you. At the same time, if you write at some non-perfect time, that still counts as quality writing time.
Where can you have access to all your writing helps?
For me, I need an internet connection and a computer. The internet has loads of thesauri, dictionaries, rhyming dictionaries, encyclopedias and other research tools, both word-centric and other-stuff-centric.
Maybe you just need a chair and a notebook. Or a spot on the grass someplace outside. You can also use a recording device and speak into it, then deal with it as you see fit.
Where can you write away from unhelpful things and near helpful things?
If there’s a quiet room in your house, and that helps, that works. If the local coffeehouse has an indescribably inspiring atmosphere capped wonderfully with the smell of coffee, that works.
Putting it All Together: Place
Imagine a second Venn diagram of these last two things. The overlap is your best place to write. There might be multiple best places. Writing in a non-perfect place is still writing. Whatever works is good.
Putting Everything Together
So if your best writing setup includes your iPad, a big fat dictionary, a dog-eared Bible, and a giant cup of cocoa at Starbucks at 8am, then that’s great.
If your best writing setup is a recording device on your favorite trail in Malibu at 12 noon, awesome. (Also, Malibu? What a gorgeous place.)
If it’s on computing’s answer to a rust-bucket jalopy at 2am, because your best friend built it for you and the new one just doesn’t feel right despite its ability to run everything imaginable at once, then that’s exactly what should happen.