Lauren Oliver Writes at Home (And On the Move)

Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver is the author of young adult novels including Before I Fall and the Delirium series, as well as middle-grade book The Spindlers, featuring an intrepid heroine who descends into another world to retrieve her little brother’s soul. Here’s Oliver on where she writes:

Although I often write on the go—I wrote much of my first novel, Before I Fall, on my Blackberry—my favorite place to write is sitting at my dining room table at my apartment in Brooklyn. Some people need ambient noise when they write, like music or the buzz of conversation, but I prefer silence and stillness. I’ve never been a big fan of working in coffee shops, partly for that reason, and partly because going to a coffee shop would entail showering and getting dressed in the morning. Usually I roll out of bed, shove the coffee pot on, sit down, and don’t move again until lunch.

This photograph is representative of both my physical and mental workspace. It was taken on my laptop camera, halfway through a long, nine-hour workday—thus the expression of weariness bordering on despair.

The best part about writing at home is definitely getting to work in pajamas. The worst part is the tendency toward anti-sociality it breeds. Home becomes a nest, and it can be really, really difficult—especially after a long day of conversing only with imaginary people—to motivate into the outside world and play the role of functional adult. Fortunately, I have a lot of writer friends, so we often migrate in groups between one another’s houses. Even though we’re largely ignoring each other and staring (or cursing) at our computer screens, it feels social, and it’s nice to share common anxieties and frustrations. That’s one thing I miss about having an office job: the camaraderie, the sense of companionship. Fortunately, other than the free Swiss Miss hot chocolate in the break room, it’s really the only thing I miss.

Do you prefer to write at home or at a coffee shop?
  • http://thetalesofmissusp.blogspot.com/ Suzanne Schultz Pick

    I love this article! Silence works for me, but the café forces me to go outside and look productive. If I stay at home all day, I’ll get too distracted doing anything but writing.

  • http://www.inspiteofallthedamage.com/ Juliet deWal

    I am a coffee shop writer (though quite often, I don’t shower—they know me well enough here that they’re delighted if I remember shoes). But once the book is flowing and I have intense sections to work on, I’m at home, in my underwear, cold coffee and unbrushed hair. :)