The short answer is: “Wherever and whenever I can, whether it’s a good long session or a five-minute quickie.”
The longer answer…
I used to be really precious about where I could write. Spoilt by going into full-time writing straight from university, I had the luxury of deciding that I could only write under optimal conditions. Door shut on the world; silence; an uninterrupted block of at least a couple of hours…
Maybe that helped me in the early years: shut away from all distraction, I could concentrate on the very difficult business of learning to write. But I do think it was a handicap, too, and one I had to work hard to overcome in subsequent years.
Now? I’ve learnt to take my opportunities wherever I can. Yes, there are times when I’m still precious about my writing environment. Times like now, when I’m early in the first draft of a big novel, I need my peace and quiet to give me the best chance possible of losing myself in my created world. But most of the time I’ll adapt.
Writing habitats for my last couple of novels have included hotel rooms, lunchbreaks in the office, sitting cramped on a plane, outdoors with a netbook, sitting in noisy pubs, in friends’ houses, trains and more. And more often than not I’ll be surrounded by the hubbub of life.
Maybe it’s not ideal, but in a very busy life those fifteen-minute bursts in less than perfect conditions are far better than not touching a story for days on end. At best I can do good work in those sprints, and at worst I’m at least re-immersing myself in the world of the story, raking over it all in my head. Working this way, I’m far more likely to be struck by random insights and sparks at other times too, those moments when you just have to stop what you’re doing to make notes on any surface available. It keeps the story alive for me.
It all boils down to the old truism: writers write. They write whenever they can, wherever they can.
So where do you like to do it?