Today I can proudly say that I can write anywhere. I don't care if people can see my computer screen or not. Sure, there are some topics, some themes I'm planning to explore which are rather dark. I try not to write notes on those in public spaces or, if I do, then I try to write them quickly.
Some of my favorite places to write these days are coffee shops and fast food restaurants. Near my day job there is a Subway, McDonalds, Starbucks, Carls Jr. and a take-out or eat-in Teriyaki place. I pretty much got for teriyaki or to Subway, get a sandwich or a teriyaki dish, set to the food. While I eat I read over my recent writing and, when I'm done eating, I start hammering away at the keyboard.
With the exception of the coffee shops, the best part about these places for me is their lack of internet. The lack of distractions. When I have the internet I want to get online, check emails and browse the web. I go to YouTube and listen to a five minute song, then search for another one, and another, and another, and another. I don't do much writing. However, I have learned a trick to help myself with this: I give in to the desire. If I do this, then I am likely to spend anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes browsing the internet before finally settling down to write. If I don't, then I'm going to struggle constantly for the entire time I'm trying to write. But, giving in, I can then write for a couple hours before running out of steam or needing to scratch the browsing itch again.
It's the way I take care of the basics, cover the things I need to cover, and get stuff out of the way. It's how I tell myself "It's ok. Everything looks good. You can take a break from it and write now."
That's the removal of internal distractions. To remove the external distractions (other people running around, bland elevator music or the Pop song you've heard 5 times in the last hour) I have to wear headphones. I put on some music I like (check my Links page if you haven't) and turn it up just enough to drown out everyone else without letting them listen too. That is one things I still can't stand: other people listening to my music. It's mine, not yours. I like it. Whether you like it too or not, don't judge me. Still, I like it loud. Silences everything, even the non-story thoughts and, especially, the tap of my fingers on the keyboard. That, the click-clack of my fingers striking the keys, pulls me out of my writing more than anything. I hate it. I know, someday I'll probably go deaf. Sad thought, but there it is. I'll have to try to reign in the volume a bit more.
Those are my two writing habits. They put me in the mood, in the write frame of mind, and help keep me there. I also try to keep my notes with me, open and available while I work on the story they are about. Quick, easy to reference, expanded when needed. It helps that the notes are all on the computer too!
What is your writing environment? Do you have to have things a certain way? Play certain music or have it completely silent? Do you have special food or beverages while you write? Lights on or off? How do you make it so that you can do what you need to do and write?