Oct 13, 2014

A Sense of Place

Once upon a time I had a dream of a room of my own. I dreamed of a place where there was a desk and a reading chair, maybe a small fire and a window that gazes on some serene landscape. Maybe I'm dreaming of Laurie Halse Anderson's cottage.

The reality is I do have a desk. It is located in the center of the house in an area that accommodates the living room, dining room and kitchen within 180 degrees of my periphery. It is adjacent to the hall that leads to my kids' bedrooms. It is right smack in the middle of the action.

I'm sure there are many people who theorize they would do better if physical circumstances were different. That they could be inspired better.


Surely, I can't be the only one guilty of coveting a different environment.

In May of 2013, I attended my favorite writing conference wherein Sandra Tayler taught ten principles that apply to the creative life. The one that stood out to me then and has resonated with me in the year and a half since is the necessity of physical space. She explained that when it is time to write, the mind engages better when there is a sense of space.

But the mind is tricky and trickable. If you, like me, don't have a proper place to call your own, don't despair, because the main purpose of the space is routine. If you have ever had kids or puppies, you know that the way to train them and keep your sanity is routine. When I am blogging or social mediaing or whatevering at my desk, music can be coming from the speakers, I can be offering critiques on the violin, viola, cello, percussion or piano being practiced, offer poor advice on how to solve a math problem and so forth.

But when it is time to write, it is time for classical music, my red SkullCandy headphones and Scrivener. This generally works, but it after hearing some recent tips about further communicating work vs play from the brilliant minds at Writing Excuses, I plan to make a sign that indicates when the kids can and cannot bother me.

The thing that I learned recently is that I'm getting to the point where my brain does recognize when it is writing time. Over the weekend, while sitting in the passenger seat of the car, I put on my headphones, music, open laptop and got quite a few words jotted down in the 45 minute drive to my son's soccer game. My process is creating a broader room of my own, one that is portable and adaptable and still productive.

Do you have a place of your own? If so/not, what is your getting ready to write routine?

9 comments :

JeffO said...

My desk is back-to-back with my wife's, and it is also in a high-traffic area of the house, though not quite so high traffic as yours. I am very aware of the feeling of people behind me when I write, and I don't like it. However, when I do write, the headphones go on and I do hang a sign on my desk that reads "Don't Poke The Bear." It works pretty well and I've also started getting pretty used to people being around.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I write much better if I sit at my desk and not some other place. The front porch works for me in the summer too. At least my kids are old enough to leave me alone.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm fortunate I have my own office and can put on music and focus when I need to. Glad you've found a way to make your space work.

Susanne Drazic said...

I have a desk and space, but right now it is overrun by a lot of junk. I'm in the process of getting the area cleared out.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I have my own "study", with a desk and bookshelves and stuff. However, I normally write in the family room in an overstuffed chair.

David P. King said...

I have a space reserved in the basement for my writing (which I like, because man cave!), but it's not yet complete and needs money I don't have to finish it. Soon, I hope. Then I can crawl into my hole and disappear to write for a while. :)

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