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Writing on the Go: 7 Tips for Setting Up a Creative Spot

Posted 9:00 AM, January, 12th 2017 by Manning Wolfe & filed under Books

Hi Ya’ll:

As you know, Bill and I travel a lot and each time I arrive at a new location, I need to set up a space for writing. Whether writing on the go or writing at home, here are the top 7 items that I include in each writing spot:

  1. Take time to set up a dedicated space that’s conducive to creativity. Select somewhere that isn’t cluttered or likely to get cluttered, such as a kitchen table. Stephen King described his early writing spot as a desk in the laundry room. I usually move a desk to the window with the best view in the quietest part of the new abode.
  2. Get yourself a comfortable chair, but not so comfortable that you’ll want to curl up in it! I often rotate between two chairs so that my body has a break (like changing shoes in the middle of a day of walking).
  3. Determine your view. Michael Connelly says that he sits on a couch and writes in a dark room with little sensory input. I like writing where I can look up and out the window to ponder, so long as it’s not a busy view.
  4. Have an adequate amount of storage around your desk so that your writing surface can be clear of clutter. When I travel, I tend to organize in writer’s conference bags – Bouchercon for the current book, ThrillerFest for the next book, Killer Nashville for the supplies, etc.
  5. Assemble your supplies before sitting down – water, snacks, pens, other books for inspiration, etc. I always have either a cup of hot tea or a glass of iced tea at hand on a Dollar Signs coaster.
  6. Take yourself seriously and respect your time. Turn off anything that may distract. I found that if the email notice went off it pulled me out of a scene, so I completely close-down email when I’m writing. However, I can write with the TV on something like Law and Order reruns or in a coffee shop with white noise background. Some writer friends actually require ambient noise for creativity. Know thyself!
  7. Set the mood with music, special lighting, etc. and/or a talisman that speaks to creativity. I always put flowers on my desk and a ceramic wolf I found on a trip to Alpine, Texas. When I turn the wolf to the window to face the moon, the space is officially launched. Time to write!


Next week, I’ll have some surprises in the newsletter. Stay tuned, and…

Happy Reading,



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