Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Where I write bestest

It's not at work, obviously. And it's certainly not at home, where my children terrorise me.

I write my best stuff on my bike.

I dunno why, but there's something about sitting at my desk that actually gets in the way of thinking. Maybe it's the myriad distractions of the internet. Or the background hum of developers arguing over whether Spiderman could defeat The Sandman 'in real life'.

Whereas trundling home on my bike seems to free my mind.

The best writing is a string of ideas. And they just seem to flow on a bike. A gag or nice turn of phrase that would usually take ages to come up with suddenly comes so easily.

I don’t actually scribble words on paper, but I compose it all in my tiny mind. Then I type it up, usually the next day, and do the last bits of tinkering.

I wish it wasn’t this way. It’d be far easier if I wrote best sat in the office which is, after all, specifically for that purpose. Maybe I should nail an exercise bike to my desk and be done with it.

Yet I suspect I’m not alone.

What about you other writers out there? I’d love to hear where you write best. Is it at the kitchen table? Or down the pub? Or riding bareback across the desert at dawn?

And for once this isn’t my usual pathetic plea for comments to give me a sense of self-worth (well, it’s not just that). I’d be most intrigued to know.


  1. Shower.

    Is that weird?

  2. I can actually see a shower working really well. But I don't tend to wash, so wouldn't know.

  3. I maintain a smoking habit (just one a day) because as soon as I light up, all the useless crap flies out of my head and the most exciting, and clearest, ideas come flying in in their place. For fairness, warnings on fag packets should not only state the cons ('SMOKERS DIE YOUNGER') but also the pros ('BUT THEY WILL HAVE LIVED AN INSPIRED LIFE').

  4. I'm a bit like you, exercise seems to free my mind. I've had some of my brightest moments when swimming otherwise dull lengths at the pool.

    It seems like the best thinking comes when you're not 'work' focused.

  5. Definitely while exercising and like your first poster, in the shower. And also right as I'm about to fall asleep or just waking up - the subconscious realm. Now if only I could get a snapshot of my brain during those moments, because my memory is crap and I forget the good idea within a few minutes.

  6. For me it's mostly at a desk because i am very forgetful. If I don't actually write it down it's gone. We're all different. Last night I was listening to top writer John Simmons talking about his new book and he was saying how much he liked to write on a train. A few years back he penned a book while commuting to work on a tube train. Nice use of free time.

  7. These comments are solid gold, thanks for sharing chums.

  8. Listening to live rock music. In the bath. Driving. (Not all at the same time.)

  9. I ride to work too and though it can be freeing, I usually find myself too preoccupied with hapless joggers, inattentive drivers and poorly maintained cycle-ways. The threat of being rendered paraplegic by an opening car door somehow eclipses pondering about a tagline for that new land estate I’ve been procrastinating on all week.

    Often I find the noise and banality of a food hall works wonders. I have come up with most of my least-shit ideas while leaning over a bowl of Laksa surrounded by the chatting, slurping and chomping masses, indifferent to my scribbles in little boxes.

  10. It's Bedtime for me... When I want my brain to switch off it frequantly switches into gear as soon as I hit the light... always handy to keep a notepad on the bedside table.

  11. Client meetings or sitting in our call centre inspired office.