The Writer's Room: What Does Yours Say About You?

I'm fascinated with peering into the spaces where writers create. Whether it's a pristine cottage look, or a cluttered space dominated by stacks of books and papers, I feel I get a glimpse into the personality of the author.

How about you?

Light. Some writers, like artists, need large doses of natural light in which to work. Others find a dim, cave-like atmosphere conducive to getting words on the page. Large windows with spectacular views dominate the spaces of certain authors, while another group finds the view distracting.

Clutter. Writing is an activity that naturally creates clutter. Multiple drafts, writing and research books, maps and scribbled notes. They all add up. Not to mention, there's little time to clean up when one is under deadline. Some writers thrive on this atmosphere, while others need a clean desk, with every pencil in place before the muse can strike.

Noise. It's a rare writer who enjoys a silent writing space. Kids, phones, traffic--the wise writer will learn to tune out extra noise. Some enjoy background music as they type, and a few need tunes blaring before their words come pouring out.

Comfort. Whether you type at a computer, or curl up in an armchair, comfort is both a necessity and a curse. An uncomfortable chair keeps you from the writer's goal: BIC (Butt In Chair). On the other hand, too much comfort induces sleep or daydreaming. It's not easy to find a happy medium.

I looked around the web to find examples of writer's spaces to inspire me. These rooms, some beautiful, some quirky, some questionable, may give you ideas for your own space.

The Guardian posted a long-running series of famous author's writing rooms. From Roald Dahl's writing hut, or see the table where Jane Austen wrote longhand. For Victorian-only writing spaces, check this site. A fascinating site to spend some time. Similarly, Writer's Fest has a series on writing spaces.

Artist Elena Climent has painted murals of a series of writers' rooms. A beautiful way to learn more about particular writers. And Jennifer Bertman collects photos of the creative spaces of children's writers and illustrators.

Perhaps you'd like to see the homes of famous writers for yourself. This site lists five author homes if you're planning a literary vacation, from Louisa May Alcott to Ernest Hemingway. P. D. Smith has more in A Writer's House.

Maybe you'd like to visit some famous literary bars in New York City, or tour literary Dublin. A particular place connected with a famous author may be the perfect spot to inspire you. Check Literary Locales for over 1300 photos of places important in the lives of literary figures.

Is your environment holding you back, or does it free you to write? If you've posted photos of your writing space online, feel free to link to your post in the comments.


  1. Very interesting! And thank you for including my blog. I was familiar with the Guardian series, but I'm going to have to check out these other links as well. (I guess it's obvious that, like you, I'm also interested in where and how other writers and artists work.)

  2. Checking your blog on a Monday morning is one of the things I really look forward to. And the questions you ask are so insightful!


  3. I love looking at people's writing spaces too. Here is my very humble one:

  4. I love this idea--and can't wait to dip into some of these sites. Thanks so much for sharing. Great idea...

  5. Thanks Julie and Kenda. And Julie, I wish I could see all the book titles in your photo!




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