Writing Spaces: Where 9 Famous Creatives Do Their Best Work

Creative offices for writers: mountaintop
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Where’s your favorite place to write? What space inspires you, helps you be productive and keeps you organized? Without a place to foster their creativity, many writers might not be able to get their work out into the world.

We want to see your #writespace, where the magic happens! Head over to Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest and share an image of your workspace using the hashtag #writespace, then tag @thewritelife.

Need some inspiration? Check out the writing environments and workspaces of these famous artists, writers and storytellers.

1. E.B. White, author

Sometimes all you need is a comfortable desk with a view of the outdoors for inspiration. (Ideally, near a farm with plenty of interesting animals, including a few spiders.)

Image: e.b. White

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2. Jane Austen, author

This table may be tiny, but it supported the creation of her later works, including Emma, Persuasion, and a revision of Pride and Prejudice.

Image: Jane Austen

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3. Mark Twain, author

When you’re struggling to write, sometimes taking a break can help get your creative juices flowing. Perhaps a game of pool would inspire some ideas?

Image: Mark Twain

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4. Nigella Lawson, chef and food writer

When you’re looking for inspiration, having all your favorite books within arm’s reach certainly can’t hurt.

Image: Nigella Lawson

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5. Steve Jobs, inventor

Jobs was well-known minimalist. He described one home by saying, “All you needed was a cup of tea, a light, and your stereo.”

Image: Steve Jobs

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6. Virginia Woolf, author

This simple desk and chair overlooking the outdoors were ideal for writing, at least in the summer. Woolf noted that this converted toolshed was so cold in the winter that she couldn’t hold a pen!

Image: Virgina Woolf's Desk

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7. Tina Fey, author and comedian

Were you wondering about the workspace that may have inspired 30 Rock, Mean Girls or Bossypants?

Image: Tina Fey

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8. Chip Kidd, book cover designer

Many artists find their creative inspiration in other books, authors and stories.

Image: Chip Kidd

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9. George Bernard Shaw, playwright

Keep it simple with a typewriter, a clean white desk and a small window in a private place. That last one was key for Shaw, who once confessed, “People bother me. I came here to hide from them.”

Image: George Bernard Shaw

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What’s your favorite place to write? Share your workspace with the hashtag #writespace on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and tag @thewritelife to join the conversation!

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Carrie Smith is a writer, artist and ex-accountant who helps creative freelancers tackle financial mountains. When you subscribe to her email list you'll get the free Tax Toolkit: A Checklist for Self-Employed Biz Owners.... .

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Carrie Smith
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Comments

  1. My favorite places are the coffee shop and my bed with my back propped up with pillows, and music blaring in my ears. 🙂

  2. Loved ALL of these, but I think Jane Austen’s blew my mind the most. That TEENY-TINY table produced such masterpieces. WOW. I hung tiny white lights on my office roof to inspire creativity. I love them. Thanks for this interesting piece.

  3. A very interesting article and the photographs were wonderful. I am inspired to rethink my current writing environment. But, I have to agree with Marcy – Jane Austen’s desk is absolutely too small. Where does she put her teacup?

    Thank you for the inspiration – and you too, Marcy…love the idea of the tiny lights.

  4. I love this! Thank you for sharing. This is my #writespace … http://www.pinterest.com/pin/10625749096383902/ 🙂

  5. I’m with Elke, except for the music. I often have the TV set on in the background but I’m going to start using earplugs to listen to music.

  6. I think I have to agree with Jane and Steve — too much around me and I get way too distracted! I like to keep my writing space as simple and clear as possible.

    Not that it always stays that way… though I pretty much do always have a cup of tea!

  7. At home I sit at the dining table, next to the sunny full glass doors and windows, preferably with a vase of flowers from my garden. This is where I work when my toddler is asleep. But my preferred workspace is a local indie café half a block away, where I can enjoy a pot of chai, surrounded by bustle but not distracted by it.

  8. I couldn’t believe E. B. White’s writing space! A comfortable chair, how tickling! My desired writing space is a nice, quiet room with a view and soft instrumental music to keep me going. No brass, please.

  9. Love this post (I wrote that comment from my living room couch, currently my favorite place to write)

  10. I enjoy writing at my small desk, with a light as well as in my bed with pillows all around me. I must have instrumental music going.

    Adorn,
    K-town, Germany

    • Same here, Adorn! What kind of instrumental music do you listen to? I like the focus@will app as well as some random playlists on Pandora. But I’d love to learn some new ones if you want to share! 🙂

  11. I live alone, so my dining table is covered with my two computers, lots of printed materials, books, flash drives, pens, paper, bills to pay, etc. – looks a real mess. Beside it is a bakers rack with the printer, supplies, folders of research, etc. I write in silence, no music, no TV, nothing.

    If I have company for dinner, we eat on trays in the living area of my tiny house – my dining table is sacrosanct.

  12. I have not yet established a special writing space but what I can say is that my inspiration always comes first thing in the morning after my quiet time. It is at this time I will start putting thoughts down for my blog. During the course of the day ideas will be going through my mind as to how I will go about the blog. Then I would just sit at my desk and write. I hope in not too distant a future I will have a permanent space for my writing.
    Thank you for the post it certainly got me thinking.

    • I admire your perseverance and focus Mabel. For a while my writing space was on the R train during my commute from Queens, NY into downtown NY. It was very productive.

  13. I just can’t do the window thing. I must be more easily distracted than inspired. We have wonderful views across the Mosel Valley, but I choose to write in a room in the cellar. It’s warm, (I share it with a boiler) dark, and slightly sinister.

    • I concur. I get so easily distracted as well. That’s why I get my best work done while taking the subway to and fro home and work.

  14. Young Aspiring Writer says:

    Being young, (young enough to not have a place of my own) it’s hard to find a quiet place and time even to write. I prefer my room so I can turn my music up as loud as I want and I just block out everything. It’s in the corner of my house. It’s as reserved as I’m going to get.

    -Young Aspiring Writer

    • Sounds like that’s a good option — hopefully you’re one of the writers who’s able to concentrate with music!

      Great point about the challenges of not being able to control your environment.

      Heather
      TWL Assistant Editor

  15. Very cool to see how everyone works differently.

    For me, it’s all about mobility. I’ve done some of my best work in airports and coffee shops. It’s all about changing my environment to change my state of mind.

    And I actually work better with the humdrum of life spinning around me. Silence often stifles my creativity, as I will inevitably find myself philosophizing.

    DM

  16. I sat down on my bed one day just to write an outline. Four days later I discovered I was still there and had several chapters completed. My motley collection of forgiving Great Danes informed me that it was time to expand my horizons.
    Tunnel Vision.

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  18. Great article. I love doing most of my writing time in coffee shops and in my home office space, even though there are a lot of distractions around. It’s great that my boss allowed me to work from home and in wherever I wish to do my job. I asked my boss to grant me such work flexibility because I really can’t focus a lot doing my job in an office space for rent that my boss have been renting for two years. Last week, my boss informed me about the possible office relocation that might take place in the first week of July this year. We’re in Cebu City, Philippines. Does anyone here has an idea on how and where we could fine an appropriate office space for rent in Cebu City?

Trackbacks

  1. […] Writing Spaces: Where 9 Famous Creatives Do Their Best Work. […]

  2. […] The Write Life has some wonderful pictures of famous writer’s spaces. […]

  3. […] people’s working spaces as I really enjoy taking a peek into them. Maybe you’ll like this and this, […]

  4. […] it may be, but everyone’s doing it. And to me, it represents an irresistible peek into someone’s mind. Messy or neat? […]

  5. […] Designate a space and time for your writing. When I was initially writing a novel, I had to make mandatory that writing is a component of my daily routine—in essence, I transformed it into a habit. Therefore, I decided to inculcate discipline in myself and guarantee that I start writing at 6:00 AM every day at a favorite nook in my home. The time and place are exceptional for me because I have it solely for myself—I adore my little “writing nook,” wherein the first rays of sunlight are just coming through, including the substantial writing results I derive from it. Check out these inspiring writing spaces of famous authors. […]

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