Monday, January 28, 2019

Writing Space

Do you have your own designated writing space?  A place in the house where the creative juices flow?  A corner at Starbucks where your characters speak to you?  A seat on your back porch where scenes come to life?

I posted the question, “Do you have your own designated writing space?” on Facebook in the Fiction Writing Group.  Some of the answers I got were:

--Actually, I have a particular folding table and chair which I store when not writing.  For some reason the ritual of setting them up every time helps me get into the right mindset.  I set it up on the deck if it’s nice, in the office if not.

--I have a favorite spot at the library.

--Yup. We call it my “geek cave”. Where my various Star Trek, general Sci-fi paraphernalia reside.  It’s my sanctuary of sorts.

--Sorta, I do have a desk I'm supposed to use but it's got crap all over it.  Right now I write on the couch.

Some sent me photos of their work space.  Some pictures showed cozy corners of the house where the tops of their desks were neat and tidy.  Then there were others that were cluttered with papers, files, photos and books…like mine, as depicted above.

Some workplaces have given birth to some remarkable fiction.  J.K. Rowling was partial to writing in cafés and coffee houses in Edinburgh while single, on welfare, with her sleeping daughter at her side. Rowling said in an interview: “It’s no secret that the best place to write, in my opinion, is in a café. You don’t have to make your own coffee, you don’t have to feel like you’re in solitary confinement and if you have writer’s block, you can get up and walk to the next café while giving your batteries time to recharge and brain time to think.  The best writing café is crowded enough to allow you to blend in, but not too crowded that you have to share a table with someone else.”

Now, of course, her fame makes it impossible for Rowling to work in a coffeehouse so she works in a writing room in her garden.

Jodi Picoult writes in the finished attic office of her Hanover, NH home.  She said, “It’s clean and quiet and has everything at my fingertips—namely, the files full of research I’ve been doing, plus reference books and a quick Internet connection.  But it’s also just a staircase away from my family if anyone needs me.”

In his book On Writing Stephen King states, “For any writer, but for the beginning writer in particular, it’s wise to eliminate every possible distraction.”  He goes on to say that one of the most important parts of your writing space is the door. King claims that your room must have a door that you’re willing to shut and keep closed until you’ve reached your daily writing goal. It also tells people that you mean business. By closing the door, you’re saying to the world to stay out, that important stuff is going on behind it. He says the door not only serves to keep the world out, but it also serves to keep you in and focused, without having to look to see who may be passing by the entryway.

Here are a few examples of writers in their writing space.           

                                                   Agatha Christie                             

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

                                          Damon Runyon

All the examples above are far tidier than my work space.  But I'm comfortable there and I've produced two published novels (and one more to launch in July) within its confines.  And all on the same beat up laptop. So as long as it works for you, keep on writing.


Unknown said...

Work Space Wishlist~working on my MAC, and glancing up over a beautiful blue ocean. I might as well add having a lovely lunch brought to me too.

Workspace Reality~working on my MAC in the master bedroom. I have two desks set up side-by-side, so Sally J. Smith, my writing partner and I can work together and be able to glance at each other's computer screens. As far as the ocean view goes, we do look out a large window at a beautiful pool. That will have to do for now. 😉

Jean Steffens

Anonymous said...

I tried changing up my workspace for no particular reason, (I'm writing, writing, writing) so I went to a more stand-y-up position at the small island in my kitchen which is high and can accommodate a pub chair close by or make me stand at my laptop. I'm going back to my desk-y chair and table just a few steps away with the same views of my yard and living room. After 7 months with the other, I've decided the stand-y-up is too "goofy" for me. It actually makes me goof around, not sit or stand but be distracted instead of writing! It didn't feel "business-like" for writing. Those who know me will be surprised that there is now a rigid rule for me (for anything!) but I now know I have to sit like a secretary and write to get shit done.

Laura Hernandez

Anna said...

I'm hoping---just hoping---that the admin here can delete spam. So disheartening to see it in this friendly place.

My writing spaces? By hand at the dining table. By PC in my editing office. By laptop in my bedroom (still trying to tweak and improve that setup).

Susan D said...

Fret not. Of course Agatha, Arthur and Damon have lovely neat workspaces. They've been staged for a magazine photo shoot. You don't think they produced all that great writing from those tidy wastelands, do you? :^)

Rick Blechta said...


Spam is an ongoing problem. To get rid of it, all comments would have to be moderated, meaning that you, for instance, comment on a post (as you just did) and it wouldn't be posted until someone got around to reviewing it and "passing" it as legitimate. We're trying to work our way through the process. One thing that's irksome is that the software doesn't allow us to block people, which would ease the spam situation somewhat.

We're doing the best we can and are hoping to have a better solution in the very near future.

But yes, you're very right: it is incredibly disheartening. I hope that there's a special place in hell reserved for spammers. Personally (on my website) they have made my life a misery.


Anna said...

Thanks, Rick. I understand the difficulty of monitoring the comments and am grateful that this community has been relatively free of spam--which is why the recently deleted "comment" was so surprising. It's too bad you are plagued by spammers; may their tribes decrease and dwindle away.

Rick Blechta said...

You and me both, Anna!

There was another one today on my post. Fortunately, it was not as obnoxious as some of the other recent ones.