When you’ve got a great idea and have just brewed the perfect cup of tea, often all you’re missing is a nice space to sit down and get that idea down on paper, or, in this digital age, onto the screen in front of you.
If you’re thinking “That’s silly… Finding a great place to write won’t actually make me a great author”, well, you’re partially right. But for those who find it hard to start the entire process or who are suffering from a severe case of writer’s block, having a designated writing space could be just the thing to get you to actually start writing – whether this writing ends up in the bookshop or in the garbage.
In fact, many famous authors have spoken out about the importance of finding this illusive writing haven which has led them to produce some of their finest works. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling believes a café is the best place to engage with your inner witch or wizard, stating:
It’s no secret that the best place to write, in my opinion, is in a café. You don’t have to make your own coffee, you don’t have to feel like you’re in solitary confinement and if you have writer’s block, you can get up and walk to the next café while giving your batteries time to recharge and brain time to think. The best writing café is crowded enough to where you blend in, but not too crowded that you have to share a table with someone else.
On the other hand, Stephen King prefers a more solitary approach to the task (no doubt it would be hard to write about spooky hotel rooms and murderous clowns in the middle of a noisy café):
If possible, there should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or videogames for you to fool around with. If there’s a window, draw the curtains or pull down the shades unless it looks out at a blank wall. For any writer, but for the beginning writer in particular, it’s wise to eliminate every possible distraction.
Naturally, we can thank Ernest Hemingway for giving one of the canniest answers to the question of where to write. According to him, “the best place to write is in your head.”
I suppose the message to be learnt here is that different things will work for different writers. That means that as a young writer, you have to search around and find what works for you. Personally, the silent level of my university library tends to suit me just fine, although I do secretly delight in the idea of writing somewhere slightly more luxurious. Perhaps something along the lines of Virginia Woolf’s writing hut, known as the Lodge Writing Shed (incidentally, Miss Woolf once proclaimed that a woman must have “a room of her own” in order to be able to write fiction).
For some, the trouble of finding alone time to write can be a deterrent from actually ever getting anything written down. It’s cases like these where paying for a writer’s studio or engaging in a writer’s residency might be a good option. Throughout Victoria, there are several lovely places on offer to writers of all ages.
Writers Victoria gives you two options: find writing solace in a Victorian Gothic mansion in St Kilda, or take up residence in your very own cell at the historic Old Melbourne Gaol. On the other hand, a residency at beautiful Montsalvat could be just the thing to get those creative juices flowing.
Naturally, these options cost money, but it’s always good to have an idea of what’s out there in case you find yourself absolutely unable to complete that all-important short story or final chapter of your first novel while surrounded by boisterous university roommates or screaming brothers and sisters.
While just a preliminary step, creating a writing environment can truly make a difference to how often you actually sit down and churn out that next chapter. Whether you find this magical space at home, at the library, in a café, in the park or during a residency stay, it is sure to become a space you will return to time and time again as you embark on that solitary yet exhilarating path of becoming a writer.