"I hate writing. I love having written."
Dorothy Parker couldn't have said it any better. Writers have quoted and re-quoted her to describe just exactly how they feel about the writing process. No one can blame them. The writing process is as complex as the human brain and it takes so much for it to be perfected.
Great writers throughout history and the present had interesting ways of dealing with this "struggle". Truman Capote wrote lying down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. J.K. Rowling went to the café to write like mad. Alexandre Dumas went and sat below the Arc de Triomphe in Paris where he ate an apple every morning for inspiration. And despite the cliché quote that inspiration can be found everywhere, it seems that the place where you write is vital to the art.
With Beaches and Frolicking in the Meadows
Whether you're a journalist or a creative writer, you've probably dreamt of either sitting on the shore with the calm waves of the sea in front of you or sitting down a cool patch of grass in a serene garden with a pen and notebook in your hand. No one ever said this was a bad thing. In fact it's a pretty good thing as the scenery and calmness is perfect for your muse. But if you're a journalist with a deadline, a researcher in need of internet connectivity or a novelist required to submit a Word or PDF file to your editor, then you're in big trouble.
The problem we have today, as opposed to lives led by writers years and centuries before, is that available technology makes it easier for life to catch up on us. Distractions are easier. Some of us even can't take 5 minutes without checking our phones. So while beaches and meadows are abundant in inspiration, it's not realistic in today's setting. Travelling and writing is the most ideal thing in the world, but not everyone can afford that kind of lifestyle.
Being the Hipster that J.K. Rowling Is and Writing in a Coffee Shop
J.K. Rowling and French author Nathalie Sarraute both agree that writing in a café is the most ideal for them and their muses, and it's not just the coffee. This may be also ideal for some because of wifi connectivity and the fact that you can charge your laptops there. Although, there some coffee shops that changed how they operate, limiting or having no wifi connection at all due to other people's tendencies to overuse it.
But not everyone can write in a public place. There are people, like me, who prefer to be alone when writing. However...
We're Not like Proust who has his Cork-Lined Room
Marcel Proust famously locked himself in his cork-lined bedroom in the last three years of his life to complete his novel.
Seclusion, although not to that extreme, can be good for your muse as it fosters concentration and focus. A lot of writers "lock themselves" from time to time in order to finish their manuscripts. Maya Angelou, William Thackery, and Margaret Drabble choose hotel rooms as their perfect places to write, being able to stay there and be uninterrupted for days on end.
But while this is an ideal situation to foster creativity and the will to finish a hundred pages or so in just a few days, realistically speaking, only a number of writers can pull this off. We're mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, students, and people with day jobs who have other things to do besides writing.
So we're basically stuck at writing just about everywhere and anywhere we can. But then again, does it matter? An article from the Guardian, which I agree with, pointed out that it's not the perfect workspace or routine that makes great writers great, it's their talent. From experience, these workspaces are all there to condition the mind.
In addition, I wholeheartedly agree with Ernest Hemingway when he simply said that the best place to write is in your head. So why not write in your head? Especially since November is National Novel Writing Month.