The only thing you really need to write is something to write on and nowadays, technology has made that even easier. These days, you can even do it on your cell phone (although this is definitely not a method I prefer). But all you really need is something to write on. It can be a phone, a computer of some sort (be it laptop, desktop, an iPad, etc), a paper and writing instrument, or even a sidewalk and a piece of chalk (make sure you bring a camera though because the city may not be okay with you tearing up a slab of concrete you’ve just scribbled on).
Basically, you can write anywhere and with laptops getting so much more portable, it’s even easier to carry them around. I’ve got a MacBook Air, which is perfect for this as it’s light as can be and is thinner than a notebook. But I think a lot of people overlook how important having a location for writing can be.
I have quite a bit of downtime at my day job. And since I can bring my laptop with me, this makes it really easy to get work done. It’s also great for moving it around the apartment. But the usual home for my laptop in my apartment is probably the only place I can never seem to get any writing done. It’s not because it’s uncomfortable — it’s actually the most comfortable spot I’ve ever used my computer in. I’ve got a very comfortable couch with a table in front of it and my computer sits there on a cooling pad. It’s connected to my TV and speakers as well as an external hard drive and I’ve got a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard for more convenience.
The problem is, I have never been able to get any writing done in this room. Even when I have the drive and motivation to write, I can’t seem to get any work done. Until recently, that’s always been surprising to me. My job causes me to move around to a few different locations, sometimes within the same day. But I’ve been able to write in every one of these locations. I’ve also been able to write on ferries, planes, even while taking a long bus ride. This one room though, I can never get any work done. And then it hit me one day — this is the place I go for relaxation. So it’s not really a suitable work environment.
I have found a way around this, though. The couch I have in this room now is actually my second one, meant to replace my first which wasn’t quite as comfortable. And in Japan, it can be costly to dispose of old furniture. So rather than going to the trouble of paying to have the old one thrown out or picked up by a used furniture shop, I decided to take advantage of a location I haven’t used much of since moving here — my balcony. It’s pretty large, so I moved my old couch out there. I have to keep it covered with a tarp to prevent rain (as well as volcanic ash as I live right by a volcano). But when it’s nice out, I can take my laptop out on the balcony with a glass of scotch and get a lot of work done in a pretty nice setting.
Unfortunately, now it’s gotten cold in my area of Japan so this has warded off that possibility. But it did make me realize how important having a location for writing really is. I do wish I had a spare room I could devote as a study so I could get more work done at home but until I have the need to move, that won’t be a possibility for at least another year or more.
That can make things frustrating as there are few locations in my town where I can go off with my laptop. I live in a very small town with no real coffee shops to speak of. But if you have the means, I’d like to stress to my fellow writers the value of having a dedicated place for writing.