Pat Iyer's Blog

You don’t have to suffer when you write. Create a comfortable writing environment.

Experienced writers, those who write every day, will tell you that you can’t do anything more important than to create a physical setting and a comfortable writing environment for the time you spend writing.

The default setting that comes to most new writers’ minds is a comfortable room, preferably soundproofed, with a door that locks and a sign on the outside of that door that reads “DO NOT ENTER.”

That would work for many people. However, I know writers who write at Starbucks, in their local library, on planes, and they can jot down a huge quantity of notes on their phones.

do not disturb sign

Privacy Can Be Important

If you do decide on the private room, let everyone in your household know that your time there is equally private. Emphasize that this means no interruptions. Be prepared to accept that something being forbidden makes it much more tempting. If you have a spouse or partner, do your best to enroll him/her in the privacy mission.

Remember that the more committed you are to your writing (and always think of it as “yours,” the more others will respect this).

Don’t underestimate the importance of being able to submerge yourself in your writing. I enter a different mindset when I write and view interruptions like being pulled away from an absorbing world. I can easily lose my train of thought by being interrupted. The cell phone goes on silence.

Discover Your Best Time and Circumstances

Are you a morning person? Evening? Middle of the night? Take the time to discover when your brain is best functioning.

For some, getting up earlier and writing when everyone else is asleep is ideal. Conversely, late at night after everyone is asleep may work for some. However, get enough sleep. Otherwise, you will be tired, and writing will really seem like a burden.

I love to write with music playing – just low enough that it soothes me and not loud enough to distract me. Experiment, see what works best for you.

Supply Yourself with Beverages

Your choice of beverage may depend on the time of day or night when you’re writing. Water is always good to have on hand at any time. You know those big thermoses that keep water cold for a very long time? They are great for writers.

The main point of having supplies is not having to make a trip to the kitchen, which can involve a longer detour than you’d planned. Hopefully, you’ve succeeded in getting others in the house to respect that you don’t want to be disturbed when you’re in your room. That respect won’t necessary extend to your time out of it.

Unless you want to risk a discussion about why your daughter’s life depends on having a new pair of shoes, you should spend your writing time exclusively inside your room.

Have Comfortable Furniture for a Comfortable Writing Environment


I know this sounds basic, but you might be surprised to learn how many people ignore the basics. Get a good chair. This can be hard to find online. I find that you get the best chair when you actually sit in it, play with the adjustments, and see how it feels. It makes sense to go to an office supply store and try out the floor models.

You may need a pillow in the small of your back to increase comfort.

The same is true for your desk. It can be a table, but it needs to have room for your computer, maybe a printer, reference materials, pens, printouts, and whatever else you need to facilitate your writing. The height needs to be in proportion to your chair. You need physical comfort.

You may thinking, “But I liked that idea of writing at Starbucks.” You still need to be comfortable. Slumping and discovering a backache later will plant in your mind (and maybe your body) the idea that writing is uncomfortable.

Be comfortable. Wear comfortable clothes and cozy socks. Many factors can make writing difficult. Remove all unnecessary obstacles. You will thank yourself for creating a comfortable writing environment.