Writing … spaces and places – conditions for writing

My plans for the day have just changed. I’m now working out how to best spend the time that has opened up.

This is, obviously, a bit of a furphy. The time will fill itself without any help from me.

There are the usual suspects. I have plenty of regular chores and errands to fill in the space. There are also some tasks that were deadlined during the week that I need to finish off.*


One of the big things that I need to take care of is sorting the space where I write and study.

After intensive writing weeks, like this one just past, my space tends to look a shade wrecked. It’s not at all photogenic at this point.

Looking around now, there is a considerable amount of filing and shelving to be done. You may remember that I’ve been buying books. (I’m always buying books.) They need to be stamped…catalogued…shelved. The danger there is that I might stop to read them. There’s definitely no time for that. Even with that bit of extra time, there’s no time.

I will HAVE to work on my space at some point this weekend. That’s a given, but I don’t want to waste daylight on filing and shelving. That’s the sort of thing I like to do at night; in that settling down time while I’m waiting for the world to calm itself and become quiet.

Once my space is sorted, I enjoy the work I do when the world is sleeping. Writing into the night while I’m on holidays is one of my favourite things. I ease into the ideas and words. I don’t worry about distractions or obligations.

Small desk set up with laptop, reading lamp and notes
Writing in the still of night

The important thing I need to remember, though, is that night writing needs to be balanced. It needs to be relaxed. I need time freed up around late nights so they are manageable. (I do still need to sleep…)

In the deadline frenzy of this week I made the mistake of engaging in some pressured night writing. It’s not something that works for me. This week’s late night (in the midst of a couple of days of annual leave) was disastrous. The result: a missed deadline. Lesson learned and noted. Night writing can’t be panicked. Not for me at least.


I’m a fan of working ‘elsewhere’. It’s not just the chaos of home that drives me to be somewhere other than my study. Finding a spot and settling myself into it is part of the fun.

Of course, there are times when I seem to wander aimlessly looking for the spot. That’s a risk that needs to be mitigated on a regular basis. I need to run my own interventions some days…

Once I find a spot to be the spot for a chunk of time, it is worth it.

Picnic bench at The Whaling, Flinders Bay set up as a writing desk
In the sun by Flinders Bay

This found space was just delightful. I was in Flinders because a friend had whisked me away from the debris of a broken heart. Angst of those days aside, working at this bench felt so good. The writing was for my day job and for uni. Even so, it was pleasurable. It was a beautiful space to be. The sun on my face, the wind in my hair, the sound of water lapping on sand…I won’t go on.

I often find that the spots I choose for writing feature water, in one way or another. I lived in inland for a couple of years. I liked where I was and I was happy there but the absence of ocean and river were disconcerting. Whenever I went home to Perth I would head straight to the ocean ‘just to check’. I still choose routes that take me along the river or coast – even if it adds time to the journey.

The plan

It’s time to run some of those errands, do a bit of the family thing and then stop by the water on the way home. I fancy working on some bits from the scrawl and perhaps add to it.

I can see the spot now. It’s quiet, it’s beautiful and, as usual, there’s the possibility that there will be pelicans or maybe even a dolphin.


*I met one with a minute to spare. Literally. The date stamp on the submission receipt is 3:59 for a 4:00 deadline. That was cutting it a shade too fine. Even for me.

2 thoughts on “Writing … spaces and places – conditions for writing

    • I understand what you mean about people watching. Today I went to a cafe by the river in East Fremantle. I didn’t get much actual writing done, but I did watch some really interesting (and rather affirming – it’s not just the young people with whom I associate who sook at the table…) family dynamics at the tables close by. There were fascinating conversations all around me. The glimpses into other people’s lives are great for building ideas.

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