28 Super Stimulating and Contemplative Places to Write
If you read any articles on the art of developing a good writing habit, one of the most common pieces of advice you’ll see is to find an ideal writing spot. Somewhere that not only inspires you, but most importantly, gives you that special something you need to sit down and get those words on the page.
Because discipline will trump inspiration every time.
There are a lot of places you can go to write. The most obvious is probably somewhere in your home. But, maybe you don’t have an ideal setup there. Maybe it’s too small or there are too many people. Or maybe you’re just sick of the place and want to go out into the wide world.
I can understand that.
With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of places you might consider writing. And be warned, some are a little out there, but I was trying to a) get a list with a lot of variety and b) trying to find some ideas that might offer specific inspiration depending on what you’re writing. Just work with me here.
Places to Write
- Art gallery – Being surrounded by other forms of art can inspire new ideas and perspectives in your writing. Galleries also have a peaceful and contemplative atmosphere, perfect for that very contemplative writing.
- Art studio or maker space – This one might be a little out there, but sitting in on or taking an art class could give you a creative spark. Just being in the presence of other creatives, and surrounded by different types of art and the materials and tools used to create them, can also stimulate the mind.
- Beach – I’m not saying you need to combine this with a holiday, but I’m not saying it would be wrong. Writing at the beach gets you outside, where you can connect with nature and the vast expanse of the ocean. What could be better than the sun on your face and the sound of the waves as a backdrop to your story?
- Bookstore – Perhaps a no brainer, but being surrounded by books begets more books. It’s just science. Find yourself a bookstore that doesn’t mind you hanging out for a few hours and let yourself become one with the words permeating the atmosphere. Also, there are books there, so you can use them for research and stuff.
- Cabin – Preferably in the woods, on the water, and far away from civilization. Or at least two out of three would work, too. No distractions. Just you and the great stillness of nature. Bonus points if there’s no Wi-Fi or cell phone access either.
- Campsite – If you’re extra outdoorsy, then make a tent your cabin and repeat the instructions above.
- Coffee shop—Coffee shops are known for having a cozy atmosphere and background noise, which can really help some people focus. Also, you can’t get much closer to the source when you really need a shot of energy. Or a cookie.
- Floating home or boat – If you can get your hands on a houseboat, then you are my hero. Being in a totally unique environment can help shake out those cobwebs, while you’re soothed by the sounds and the bobbing motion of the water. As long as you don’t get seasick.
- Garden or greenhouse – Any time you can find yourself surrounded by living things will help you feel more alive. At least, I’m pretty sure. Flowers, plants, birds, insects all coming together is basically the definition of serenity. Find yourself a shady spot and get writing. Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses along the way.
- Home office – We can’t really write a list like this without mentioning a home office. If you have the luxury of doing so, build your dream office. With a door. And a lock. And a sign that says “Anyone bothering me will be tossed into the Pit of Despair and denied dessert until they move out of the house.” Trust me, my family thinks this is adorable. In addition to being comfortable and familiar, you’ve also got all your stuff there, so your favorite blankie or mug is always within reach.
- Hotel or Airbnb – So the best present I’ve ever gotten was a weekend away at an Airbnb where I took myself on a mini writing retreat. I stocked up on cheese, wine, and crackers, and a little more cheese, and got myself out of the city. See ‘cabin’ above for further instructions.
- Hotel lobby or lounge – Another one you’ve maybe never thought of. Personally, I’ve always found hotel lobbies to be the height of elegance and intrigue (provided it’s a nice hotel, of course). There are all these people coming and going and you have no idea what they’re really doing there. Not only can your writing benefit from this change of pace, you can also make up outlandish stories for everyone coming in and out as a writing exercise.
- Ice-skating rink or roller skating rink – Okay, this is a bit of a weird suggestion, but there’s something about people moving and being active that can really generate new thoughts. If you happen to be working on a roller rink romance or a hockey story, then you really can’t lose.
- Library – Libraries are typically quiet and peaceful, providing a conducive environment for concentration, and they’re usually more than happy to let you sit there forever, unlike their bookstore cousins. They also have a wide range of resources available, such as books, journals, and newspapers, which can both offer inspiration and something to help guide your research. Plus, it never hurts for a writer to build a good relationship with your local library.
- Local community center – Community centers sometimes offer rental spaces where you can get away and be alone. If nothing else is working and you need complete solitude, check out your local area for something more affordable than renting a whole cabin.
- Local community events or gatherings – Anywhere there are lots of people gathered might be a great spot to sit down and write. You can listen in on conversations, watch how people interact, and get all kinds of character inspiration. Just don’t be weird about it. If you get caught staring, just tell people you’re writing a book and most of the time they’ll be so impressed they won’t even be that mad. I think. I have absolutely zero experience with this.
- Local market or farmers market – This is really the same idea as the one above, but in a different setting. Plus, you can buy farm fresh eggs and jam to take home. Everyone loves jam. Unless you’re a monster.
- Nature preserve – Continuing in the theme of the outdoors, find yourself a nature preserve to get creative. Not only do you get the benefits of a breeze on your face and the sounds of the wind rushing in your ears, you get to feel good about supporting a place trying to preserve (rather than destroy) nature.
- Museum or science center – Depending on what you’re writing, museums are great places to find inspiration. Especially if you happen to be lucky enough to live near a museum that highlights the time period you’re writing about. Art imitates life, after all.
- Online writing communities – If you don’t really like leaving your house (I get it), then you can virtually step out and join an online group. A good online group can provide support, feedback, and motivation for your writing, along with a sense of community and accountability. They also often have resources, such as writing prompts, exercises, and tips to share.
- Pool – This one doesn’t really do it for me, personally, but maybe you’re a pool person. Find a quiet one at that hotel you booked above and get yourself an umbrella drink delivered. Or if you're someone who likes background noise, then opt for something a little more vibrant to settle into that lounge chair. If you have kids, you could do double duty and entertain them for an afternoon. Just make sure they can swim or you tip the lifeguards because you probably won’t be paying attention to them.
- Public places – Writing in a busy public area like a train station or a mall can provide a unique perspective and is another great way to people-watch for inspiration.
- Transportation – On the subject of trains—and planes and other things that go vroom—these are great places to get some writing done. The sense of adventure you get from travel offers all kinds of inspiration and personally, that drone from an airplane just puts me in a zone. I could write for hours on a plane.
- Retreats or residencies – If you can manage a retreat or residency somewhere, then you are in for a treat. Retreats or residencies are specialized programs that offer time and space for writers to focus on their work, often in secluded or beautiful locations. Hello. Sign me up.
- Rooftop or balcony – Write from on top of the world. Gain a new perspective, enjoy the fresh air, and maybe do some people-watching.
- Shared co-working space – Check where you live if there’s a shared co-working space. Essentially, you pay a fee for a “desk” or other workspace with other people who need somewhere to work. Being surrounded by productivity can help stimulate your own. They also offer things like internet access, meeting rooms, and office equipment, which can help make the writing process more efficient.
- Spa or wellness center – I think it goes without saying that inducing relaxation can get those creative juices flowing. If you can get away for a day or two, take advantage of the soothing vibes, while you focus on a little much-needed self care. A burnt out writer is a useless writer.
- Temple or church – If you’re the spiritual type, then connecting with your gods and/or deities can help bring balance and focus. Writing itself can be a sacred and spiritual process, and what better than a place that embodies that same atmosphere?
Tips for Writing in Public
You should have a lot of great ideas now of places you can write. Of course, the question is can you write there? Here are a few tips to ensure you’re as productive as possible.
Choose your location wisely: When writing in a public place, it's important to choose a location that is conducive to focus and productivity. While it might seem cool to take your laptop down to the local Starbucks, are you actually getting anything done there?
I know Carrie Bradshaw made it look awesome, but don’t forget she was writing a single column a week, while living in a Manhattan apartment and buying $400 shoes on the regular. It might have been a contemporary setting, but boy, was that a fantasy for the ages.
If you do pick a coffee shop or any place of business, make sure you’re using good manners and buying something, tipping the staff well, and not overstaying your welcome.
Bring noise-canceling headphones: If you find you’re distracted by noise, then fight back with noise-canceling headphones to create a more focused environment.
Use a notebook or pen and paper: Using a notebook or pen and paper instead of a laptop or tablet can help you stay focused and minimize distractions. This also allows you to take notes, sketch or brainstorm in a more natural way.
Set specific writing goals: Setting specific and measurable goals can help you stay focused on the task at hand. This could be a word count, a chapter, or even a certain number of pages. Something like, I’ll get 1,500 words down and then I’ll reward myself with a fresh cup of coffee.
Take short writing breaks: Writing for long periods of time can be draining and can lead to burnout. Breaking up your writing sessions into shorter and more frequent intervals can help you stay focused and refreshed. This could be as simple as taking a short break every hour or so to stretch, grab a snack, or even take a walk.
Eliminate distractions: Turn off your phone, close unnecessary tabs on your computer, and minimize any unnecessary movement around you. You’ll hate how truly effective this is.
Use a timer: Set a timer for a specific amount of time, such as 25 minutes, and focus solely on your writing. Once the timer goes off, take a short break, and then set the timer again. This is known as the Pomodoro Technique, and it can be very effective in keeping focus.
Reward yourself: Treat yourself to a cup of coffee or a piece of cake, or it could be something bigger, such as a vacation or a new book. Whatever your reward may be, make sure it’s something that you enjoy and look forward to.
Use Dabble: When writing in a public space, you want to ensure all your hard work is protected and that it’s still there next time you start writing. Since Wi-Fi can be sketchy when you’re not at home, Dabble is the perfect solution. If you’re connected online, then it’ll save everything in the cloud and will be there, ready and waiting for you.
If you’re in a location without internet, then keep using Dabble, which will save locally on your computer and then update to the cloud as soon as you’re connected again. I love this method for airplane writing and have used it countless times. I even do it on my phone if I don’t want to carry my laptop with me.
Sound good? Then try out Dabble free for 14 days and head out into the world to get all that inspired writing done.
TAKE A BREAK FROM WRITING...
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