A reply on one of my blog posts got me wondering, so I'm taking an informal poll. Do you go out of the house to write or lock yourself in your office?

I'm a hardcore inny. The very idea of writing in public is deeply disturbing to me. I want my desk, my things, my own little world where everything is the way I like it. When I was younger I was more flexible and would write whenever I had a spare moment, wherever I happened to be. Now I guess I'm more of a stick in the mud. I have my routine and it does not involve any other humans, either directly or peripherally.

Part of that has to do with my inability to block out noise. I don’t have TV and don’t understand people who run that evil thing 24/7 “for background noise” or “company.” As a result, I never built up that immunity to chatter than most modern people seem to have. I particularly can’t stand the sound of any human voices while I write, either real or recorded. I think it’s my obsession with words. I can’t help but hear them. If I see words, I have to read them and if I hear voices, I have to listen. I can’t block them out. When I hear music, I hear every word of the lyrics. Words just have this intense effect on me and if I’m making them up, I need to do it in a word-free vacuum.

That’s my excuse, anyway.

Of course, I also live in Los Angeles, land of pretentious hipsters who want to make sure everyone at the Starbucks can see that they’re working on a screenplay. I always suspected anyone who takes their laptop to a coffee shop of harboring exhibitionist tendencies. In fact, I used to think that was the mark of a wannabe. That those of us who actually do this for a living don’t need an audience.

But I’ve heard different from several other pro writers who don’t suck and don’t have a pretentious bone in their bodies. They tell me they really do need to get out of the house in order to write. They need to go somewhere outside their own mundane world or they need to get away from spouses and offspring. (I live alone so that’s not an issue for me.) I’ve even heard the more practical claim that a struggling writer too broke to afford air conditioning likes to go out and soak up the free cool during the summer.

So, how about you? Inny or outy?

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He's a actually a dwarf. With a big red, conical hat and furry woodland creatures to do his bidding. Like a miniature Tarzan of The Chipmunks.
Did I say stream? I meant The Mississippi River.
Gosh, the whole wonderful zen thing about writing is crawling into my very own office, closing the door, and not having to deal with any annoying idiots. So I'd say I'm a firm inny. I can't really do the JKRowling thing by writing in public. I get too distracted. Hell, my office is distracting enough with all the shit on the shelves.
My most productive writing is during my lunch hour at work. Not because it's 'out there', but because I'm forced to produce something in a particular time frame.

When I'm not having trouble getting the words flowing I definitely prefer to be at home, with the world asleep and no one bothering me about whose turn it is to clean the kitty litter.
I'm an inny, and have trouble writing when I can't have a little peace and avoid interruptions. That's been a bit of a problem since I lost my office - it's now my youngest's bedroom.
Interesting question. I'm reminded of Hemingway in A MOVEABLE FEAST talking about his need to work in his tiny office away from the distractions of his family and flat in Paris.

As for me, it's neither. I usually have several projects going simultaneously, so if I'm at the day gig, and I've got a few minutes, I work on stuff (this is particularly true of the non-fiction stuff I've been doing lately). I recently started meeting once every other week with a couple of other writers. We meet at a coffee house. I don't drink coffee, but like the atmosphere. Almost everyone else who is there is working on a laptop (and this is Seattle, so we have free wireless in places like this).

That said, I wouldn't work there, given my druthers.

When I started out, I'd work to a background soundtrack: different types of music, and so on. A couple of years ago I realized that there was no point to turning on music or having a TV on, because when I'm working, I'm not focused on anything else. I'll look up and realize the CD I was "listening" to has been over for an hour and a half.

I suppose everyone's different, though.

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