As I’ve gotten to know more and more writers over the past 15 years, one point that has been driven resoundingly home is this: we’re all different. Not just in what we write, but also in how we write, why we write, when we write, and – to keep focusing on the “W words” – in where we write.
I’m always looking to improve and enlighten my writing – and my writing processes – so I love to learn about how other writers do that thing they do. So today I thought it would be fun to explore the writing spaces we use, whether it’s something created/developed/carved out for yourself, or simply a location you’re drawn to and have found conducive to writing, such as a coffee house, a library, a beach, etc.
I’m very curious to see what surprises may be revealed. But hey, since I’m asking others to reveal their own literary Batcaves, it’s only fair that if you show me yours, I’ll show you mine.
Hutch, no Starsky
First, some history. I started writing seriously (you know – frowning a lot and making sure my brow was appropriately furrowed) around 1999 or 2000. I was living in a small, sparsely furnished apartment with my daughter, and I’d inherited a tall, narrow wooden hutch from a previous relationship, which became my little writing space – perfect for typing away on the cast-off laptop my older brother had been kind enough to donate to his starving-artist sibling. This was not even an actual desk, but merely an open shelf on the hutch at approximately desktop height, and frankly it worked very well for me. It was tucked in a corner of the main room of the apartment, and sitting down in front of the hutch gave me the feeling of having taken myself out of the main room, and having entered an imaginary office of sorts. Whatever the psychology of the thing, it always felt like “time to work” when I sat there.
As my income – and my hardware – grew in size, I later bought an actual computer desk – a 50-dollar assemble-it-yourself job from Office Max – and for the first time I began to concern myself with the aesthetics of my workspace. I bought candles (okay, so maybe they were scented candles, but I consider vanilla to be a very rugged and manly scent), and also began to buy music specifically to use as a sonic backdrop for my writing. I’ll admit, I really got into the notion of “creating a mood” for my writing. And again, the ritual of lighting those candles and turning on that music helped me feel I was making a transition from a long and duty-driven day of work and parenting, and was now stepping into some highly cherished “me time” for working on my art.
Movin’ on up
A year or so later, my ESO (Extremely Significant Other) and I bought a house together, and afforded ourselves the luxury of choosing one large enough that we each would have our own office. [Read more…]