When I was a young man, I wrote exclusively on an old 1950s-era manual typewriter that I stole from my Mom (in the sense that it was her typewriter from her working days, and I borrowed it one day and simply never gave it back). I loved pounding out stories on that thing. It was like a tank, a solid hunk of metal and you could feel the goddamn earth shake every time I typed on it.
At the same time, I started writing short stories in college-ruled notebooks, something I still do today, and I got superstitious about the pens I used. I would only use a certain kind of cheap blue disposable pen, so I bought them by the dozen and if one ran out of ink I stopped working until I could find a replacement.
In other words, I totally fetishized my implements. Until practicality imposed itself.
Any Way, Any Where
Basically, the Internet happened and I could no longer get away with submitting type-written manuscripts, and finding my exact kind of pen became a bit of a burden. So I weaned myself off the typewriter (I tried to do first drafts on it, keyboarding them in for revision, but this was too much work when I could simply do the first draft on a computer) and I got a little looser with my pen rules (though they still must be blue for no reason I can articulate).
Oddly, despite these early fetishes, I’ve never been hung up on office space or writing space, and ultimately I think that’s the healthiest thing: Don’t get hung up on where or how you write.
For some writers I know, these hang ups are delaying tactics. They spend months futzing with their writing nook, or playing with fonts, or trying out keyboards, all in the service of avoiding having to actually start their book and possibly fail at it. For others, it’s just a love of the idea of being a writer but not so much the effort involved.
But the perfect writing space, or a super-cool process involving expensive pens or expensive gadgets, shouldn’t be your focus. There’s nothing wrong with having a great working space where you’re comfy and free from distraction. There’s nothing wrong with liking a certain pen, or a certain keyboard, or a certain word processing software. But I’ve come to believe that the main goal should be productivity: Learn to write under any conditions, any where, in any way. Learn to be able to composed a short story using a stubby SAT pencil and some butcher paper while trapped in an elevator with fifteen other people. If you can do that, you’ll always produce great stuff, no matter what’s going on in your life. The more fragile and rigid your environment, implements, and process is, the more likely it gets broken on a regular basis. And every day you don’t write because you ran out of the right pens is a day you’ve lost.
Of course, none of this applies to whiskey. When the house runs dry of spirits nothing gets done, but that’s just science.