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Finding Your Mental and Physical Writing Space

Posted by Gabriella Basile, Poetry Reader and Art Curator for Issue 4.1

One day a few months ago, the inspiration to write hit me, and I went tearing around my room in search of my special gel pens. Once I had found one I got water, closed the door, opened the window, popped a piece of mint gum in my mouth, and curled up with a blanket and some paper. But instead of focusing on the poem I had been about to write, I began thinking about something else: our mental and physical writing spaces.

In 2015, Poets and Writers Magazine made a call for submissions: writers were to send in pictures and descriptions of their “writing spaces.”Some writers seem to favor doing work at their desks, while others sent pictures of their beds or porches. Novelist Sally Charette sent in a picture of a diner, a notably more public setting than in the other photographs. In her description, Charette describes what appeals to her about this particular writing space:

“A diner is a great place to eavesdrop and keep in touch with the natural cadences of conversation—and to pick up story ideas.”

But would a poet want to be in the same environment? What about a creative non-fiction writer?

Curious about what kind of physical and mental setting writers craved, I decided to ask other students here at Geneseo. Each individual has a different major (History/English/Communication), but each writes a lot both academically and for pleasure.

GB: In what setting do you typically prefer to write creative pieces?

Casey: “At my current place in life, wherever I can, like a study lounge or the campus library. Ideally a place that’s light, airy, and cozy.chair-270980_640 When I’m at home, then in my bedroom, to be alone. I shut the door depending on if people are making noise. But having an open door is especially nice if you’re home alone—then you have a connection to the rest of the house. But I mean, if I remembered to shut the door, I would.”

Chris: “I like to write outside a lot. If it’s raining, then in a coffee shop. Drinking coffee. I drink coffee 24/7.”

Leah: “The environment doesn’t matter so much to me… I’m good at working with noise. I work in the College Union all the time. Being in the right mental state is what’s most important to me. Like when all of my ideas start to come together, and then I just feel ready to write.” Continue reading

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