Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and reading resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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Writing Space Survey

In my last entry, I mentioned some useful software for writers. Rob Winchester had an additional suggestion: Writeroom by Hog Bay Software. A description from the Web site: "For Mac users who enjoy the simplicity of a typewriter, but live in the digital world. WriteRoom is a full screen, distraction free, writing environment. Unlike standard word processors that focus on features, WriteRoom is just about you and your text. Requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later." Rob point out that there is also a version for Windows users.

Today's comic strip was inspired by a conversation with a friend about office environments and our individual writing quirks. One of my quirks is that I can't write if there's music with words playing in the background; I start listening to the words instead of focusing on my writing. When I work in a coffee shop environment, I always bring along my noise cancellation headphones. I use Plane Quiet headphones, but am saving up for a set that packs up into a smaller space. Here's a CNET review on sound-cancelling headphones.

I find these immensely handy to enable me to work in pretty much any environment. I usually listen to silence (with the noise cancelling feature on) or to mellow instrumental music (good for masking any outside noises that do leak through) or nature sounds (the Solitudes CD line is my favourite). Sometimes I listen to Italian progressive rock, depending on what I'm working on...I can't understand the lyrics so they aren't distracting, and the music is a nice change from all the mellow instrumentals.

What about the rest of you? Do you have any particular writing space quirks? Do you have a favourite chair? Music or no music? If music, any type preference? Do you prefer a private quiet space, or people all around?

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