I’ve written in various places, travelling and at home, indoors and out. I wrote much of The Grey Islands, the first drafts of the pieces, outdoors, wandering around the island with a clipboard and pads of paper in a backpack. I’m doing some outdoor writing again in the countryside around where I live.
As for indoor writing, I like to be at ground level, near a window, ideally with a door to the outdoors not too far away. Of course, this isn’t always possible. The space I create or gravitate toward for writing tends to be more like a small simple living room than a typical office. I like a comfortable chair or sofa with a side table for books and a coffee table to rest my feet on. I write in a sketchbook or on a clipboard on my lap. I generally spend time at a desk only when I’m revising and developing work. It’s true that I spend hours, whole days, at a desk, at a computer doing just that. But I usually make my first sketches away from the desk.
John Steffler was Canadian Poet Laureate from 2006 to 2009. His latest book is Forty-One Pages: on Poetry, Language and Wilderness (URP, 2019).