Working Conditions – Tip 3

3 Tips About Working Conditions

Now, before we get onto the actual content of what you are writing, let’s consider the circumstances under which you are doing it. Your working conditions will affect your productivity enormously. Simply sitting day after day, tapping away with no break except for a cup of coffee, is not in the long run going to be good for either your health or your productivity.

Let’s take the various aspects of your working conditions separately:-


Sometimes I read the advice, ‘always write in the same chosen environment because this helps your routine and concentration.’ I don’t agree. This also hinders every writer’s battle against monotony and solitude. I like to go wherever the mood takes me. If the sun is out I’ll go into whichever room has it shining in through the windows. If it’s warm enough I’ll go out onto the terrace or into the garden. If there’s too much noise around I’ll hide in the bedroom.

And as for solitude – when I was young and writing my first stuff, I shared a London bachelor flat with a number of other actors and writers. Sometimes they were all out on tour or doing things elsewhere, and the flat felt very deserted. So then I would either go to the public library, or I would catch the tube to Leicester Square and go to my favourite Lyons Corner House (now long gone), where I would sit in the most secluded corner with a cup of coffee and their wonderful apple pie, and write for hours at a time (longhand in those days) with the hubbub of London all around me. The waiters and other regular customers knew me and often asked how it was going! Highly productive was the answer. Go wherever you feel happy.


This is hugely important, both for your body’s wellbeing and for your concentration. Everyone is different. I for instance cannot now sit for long at a desk or table. I get backache. The physios wouldn’t approve, but by far the best position for me is on a sofa, bed, chaise longue, leaning back against cushions, with my legs straight out in front, a cushion on my lap, and my laptop on the cushion. I can go for hours like that and no trace of back pain. But then I have a friend who writes all the time standing up at a lectern. Find your own most comfortable posture.


Even more important. Sitting for days exercising your mind but not your body will in the end take its toll on both. This requires a whole blog, so it will be the next one. Simple rules for how writers can stay healthy. (Then we’ll start on the writing itself.)

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