Rich, I can understand why you’d spend a lot of time wishing you’d had some sort of ideal environment in which to write your book, but I’m not convinced that actually having one would have helped much. I have a very nice office at the Hoover Institution, for example, but I ended up writing my last two books at home…in my bedroom. It don’t know why, exactly, but it’s the one place where I can actually think thoughts a whole chapter at a time into the future. Maybe it has something to do with the privacy of a bedroom–even when the kids have friends over, not even the nosiest little five-year-old pokes his head into my bedroom without knocking.
I used to feel embarrassed about this–a year ago, I’d never have admitted that I wrote in my bedroom, even to friends, let alone written a posting about it for The Corner–but then I learned that two writers I’d always admired had done a lot of their work in their bedrooms themselves. Shelby Foote, the incomparable Civil War historian, does all his writing in his bedroom to this day. The other? Ronald Reagan. (In my new book, the chapter devoted to Reagan’s writing–of which he did an immense amount–is entitled, “At the Big Desk in the Master Bedroom.”)
Maybe sooner or later you will end up writing in an immaculate, air-conditioned and sound-proofed office, well away from your apartment (and from the distractions of running NR). But in the meantime, Rich, you’re not alone.