Another more common distraction at home and at work is the availability of the Internet. I am a regular reader of at least 30 blogs and more than a dozen newspapers. And I am constantly browsing for new book recommendations on Amazon.com and searching for books on sale at several other sites like Daedalus, Labyrinth, and Edward R. Hamilton. That feels like the moral equivalent of work, even though it is really procrastination.
All of those activities, combined with my addiction to e-mail, means that I receive a continuous flow of custom-tailored information that is almost always more interesting to me than what I am writing.
. . . .
So for all its lack of amenities, my third office in the barn offers fewer temptations to avoid writing. I have no Internet connection, and there's no one here to speak to besides myself. So far, my productivity has improved significantly, even though my desk is a door on two sawhorses, and I am sitting on a box.
In other words, the writing space he's now chosen makes it easier to write, an idea that fuels some of my most persistent fantasies about writing (that it's easier in a coffee shop, for example). I write in my study at home or sometimes in a library; it's hard to write in my office on campus for the reasons Benton mentions.
I have been known to harbor what is known in my family as a "writing house" fantasy. This fantasy encompasses everything from a tiny house placed in the backyard to something along the lines of Mark Twain's study in Elmira. Sometimes I dream of building one of these on the side of a mountain that's about 10 minutes from here (on land I couldn't afford anyway, of course). In my dreams it might look like Michael Pollan's writing house, or it might be something more fanciful.
Curse you, Thomas Hart Benton! Now I am in full writing house fantasy mode, when all I really need to do to be productive is turn off my Internet connection.