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How to: Find Your Best Writing Conditions

by Christine Szarmes

“In an unmoored life like mine, sleep and hunger and work arrange themselves to suit themselves, without consulting me.” – Kurt Vonnegut
When it comes to writing, every author functions differently in a given environment. The following items are important considerations for an author when sitting down to write a short story or even a novel:

Physical Environment

The conditions of a physical environment are perhaps the most influential in impacting an author’s ability to write. When deciding on a writing environment, an important consideration is your degree of introversion or extroversion. For example, introverts will likely prefer writing environments that can provide solitude, while extroverts will likely favour environments that allow for socialization and a greater feeling of connectedness. When selecting the best writing environment for you, consider:

  • Is writing from your home or in a public space – such as a coffee shop – more appealing?
  • If you are writing in a public space, such as a library, do you often search for a hidden space or work at a shared table?
  • Do you prefer to work with background noise or in silence?
  • When you need to recharge your batteries, do you look for socialization or solitude?


The time of day during which you choose to write is also an important consideration. Finding a balance in your energy levels is vital for the writing process. For example, you must have enough energy to work on the task at hand, but an excess of energy may not allow you to focus. Consider:

  • Are you a morning person?
  • Do you prefer to work on your tasks in the beginning of the day to “get them out of the way?”
  • If you could set your own schedule for the day, what time would you get out of bed?

Managing Stress

The conditions under which you write can help to manage your stress as an author. Frustrations with writing or writer’s block can be mitigated with these simple tips:

  • Clutter. A cluttered workspace can act as a significant source of distraction and can take you away from the task at hand. A physical space that is clutter-free can help to lower stress levels and keep clarity within your mind.
  • Movement. Remaining still in one place for long periods of time can significantly lower your creativity and productivity. Taking a 10-minute break to clear your mind and stretch can give you a boost to continue working.
  • Comforts. You may find that you require certain foods or drinks when writing, or even certain types of clothing. These comforts are important for creating an optimal writing environment and can ease you in times of frustration. Pay attention to any comforts that you feel you need when writing, such as coffee, and be sure to include them each time you write.

Share with us!

What are your favourite writing conditions? What have these conditions taught you about yourself?