Don’t, please, get precious about your working methods. . . . The more you humor your inadequacies by compensating with phony environment, the tougher your work will become.

You have to be in a mood. I grant that. But if you haven’t the understanding of yourself to be in any mood when you wish – then don’t fool around with the mood business. Be an automobile salesman.

I would like you to be able to write as well as you can with pen, pencil, and typewriter, in tree houses, boiler factories, and on subway trains. I insist you must be able to write as well as you can with a stomach-ache, a crying baby, a paving drill going – and on a typewriter that has a non-functioning “e” and an inoperable backspace. If you want and need to.

Then – for your regular surroundings – any moderately quiet, well-ventilated room with an ordinary typewriter table and chair will be paradisiacal.

Philip Wylie (1902–1971),
co-author of When Worlds Collide (1932)