There are countless posts out there about how to create the perfect writing environment for yourself. As with most advice, what’s offered varies significantly from one tidbit to the next.
Some will tell you how in order to write effectively you need to basically find a secluded cabin in the middle of the most serene wilderness landscape so you can draw inspiration from the chirping birds and rustling wind outside the window next to your writing desk.
Others will tell you need to position yourself in the middle of Union Station at rush hour, drawing life and creativity from those around you, moved by the stories you write about the passersby in your head and the hustle and bustle.
Here’s what I’ve found: The best place to write is where you are. If that’s not working for you, the best place to write will be where you move to next. Repeat as necessary.
There are times where the solitude of my home office has been the perfect writing environment, whether it’s marketing copy or something more personal and creative I’m working on.
There are times where the hustle and bustle of a nearby Starbucks have helped shake me out of a funk. Other times that kind of environment can be distracting and counter-productive.
There are times where the understated tones of NPR announcers are the perfect accompaniment to getting work done. Other times I need mid-80s arena rock to even put two words together.
The main problem is that a large percentage of writers of all stripes don’t have this kind of flexibility. They’re told that they *must* be productive in an office devoid of personality. There are still ways to make this work, but the options are more limited than they are for someone who’s freelancing and is able to adjust their environment as needed. Many companies are making changes to accommodate creatives who feel stifled by corporate beige, but there’s still room for growth.
There are conversations to be had around the role of the central office in a day when Slack, text and other tools let remote teams communicate more easily than ever before. But barring a sea change in thinking, you have to play the game you’re a part of.
So it comes down to this: You just kind of have to work with the situation that’s presented itself. That may sound like German pragmatism, but that’s only because that’s exactly what that is.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.