Where Do Writers Write? In the Tub … Where Else?

Where do writers write? Have you ever asked yourself that question?

If you’re like me, the answer is “No.”

But last year I saw two movies with scenes of writers pecking away at manual typewriters and conducting business by phone all while soaking in the tub. The first was Clifton Webb in Laura and the most recent was Bryan Cranston as Trumbo (both great movies). Apparently the blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo actually did prefer the tub for cranking out his screenplays.

The blog AnOther featured a post, “Where Writers Write,” stating that poet Rod McKuen and the queen of mystery, Agatha Christie, also found themselves at their most creative in the tub. Christie munched on apples while immersed.

Benjamin Franklin is credited with bringing the first bathtub to America from France. It is said that he read and wrote in the tub. See “Benjamin Franklin and the Bathtub” in The Daily Tubber.

According to the blog Postcripts, French playwright Edmond Rostand, creator of Cyrano de Bergerac, also wrote in his bathtub. Ditto for Vladimir Nabokov, author of Lolita. See the post, “The Work Habits of Highly Successful Writers” on Postcripts.

Each to his or her own. I’d rather work in my comfortable, and dry, bed.

This article on BookRiot lists inexpensive essential items to enhance reading and writing in the tub (plus keeping printed and digital materials dry).

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Maggie King is the author of the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, Death by Cupcake, and Murder by the Glass. Maggie is a member of James River Writers, International Thriller Writers, Short Mystery Fiction Society, and is a founding member of Sisters in Crime Central Virginia, where she manages the chapter’s Instagram account. In addition, she serves Sisters in Crime on the national level as a member of the Social Media team. Maggie graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a B.S. degree in Business Administration, and has worked as a software developer, customer service supervisor, and retail sales manager. She lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive.


Where Do Writers Write? In the Tub … Where Else? — 15 Comments

  1. With modern technology, we have so many options. One I would like to try is talking into my iPhone while taking a walk.

  2. Perhaps water is the key ingredient. I typically write while being near the water versus being in the water but that’s personal preference. My original work has most often been contrived on the beach, on a cruise ship, by a lake, or next to a bubbling stream. A rainy day seems to call for a paper and pen as well. Water is the common element. Like DNA, many original thoughts are born of the sea.

    • Bob, I agree about the attraction of water. I love water sounds and my dream is to live at the beach—or by any large body of water. I’m not far from the James River, so I’m getting closer!

  3. Very interesting. My first instinct anytime I’m in the bathtub is to go to sleep. My preferred place to write is at the table or a desk, fully clothed. And I love the scene in Laura where Clifton Webb is writing in his tub!

  4. Not in the tub, but definitely at the beach. I’ve done some of my best writing holding a notebook and pencil while dabbling my toes in a rockpool!

    • There’s definitely something about water. I haven’t read the various studies about how beneficial it is for our brains, but I absolutely believe it.

  5. Interesting subject. A log cabin with wifi for me, please. The idea of writing in a bath tub is definitely a great image but lacks practicality.