A brief exchange between me and another blogger about the need for solitude in which to write led me to thinking about what would be the perfect writing space. Writers have lives that include families, friends, coworkers, and pets. Those who have children (especially young children) can find it very hard to secure a quiet spot for writing, if that is what they need. I like reading about other writers’ work spaces and see the variety from an ascetic outbuilding to a corner room overflowing with books and papers ( http://www.pw.org/content/writing_spaces; http://www.themillions.com/2012/02/where-we-write.html). I know perhaps one or two people who have the ability to tune out everything around them and be perfectly focused on their writing in the midst of total noisy chaos. I am definitely not one of those people.
I need complete quiet, which shouldn’t be too hard since it’s just me and my husband and three cats. However, the oldest cat, Luisa, can be very vocal, especially when you put a closed door between you and her. I have a room of my own where I do most of my writing, but Luisa “shares” the room with me. When I’m in there, she has to be in there too. If I’m lucky, she’ll eventually curl up on the guest bed and fall asleep. Usually, though, she has to “Meow” and Me-OOOW” and paw at my chair several times before she settles down.
As I face opening day of Camp NaNoWriMo, I wish I could spirit myself to the St. James Hotel in New Orleans where, during NaNoWriMo 2012, just me, my iPad and a keyboard huddled together and wrote for hours while my husband was at a conference in another hotel. My first day I wrote over 4,000 words. What a joy it was!
Of course, most of those words were crap, but to have unbroken concentration was liberating. And right now I can only fantasize about an ideal writing space. More than likely I’ll be folded into a corner of our couch (which also serves as my reading and knitting corner) with my iPad on a TV tray and the keyboard on my lap. If I’m lucky, I can sneak some time at work, although I can’t prevent surprise visits from colleagues and I’d probably get written up if I put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door. Actually, such a sign would attract attention, not deflect it.
And there is that room of my own (except when I share it with Luisa). My 20-inch Mac desktop has a lot more flexibility than my iPad; much easier to hop between Pages and Evernote and FireFox, multitasking my way through a novel. No surprise that I write less when I’m on my desktop than with my iPad 😉 Even now, as I try to write this post, I spend most of my writing time jumping back and forth between Evernote, Pinterest, and Calibri … looking for pictures to add, downloading books to my Kobo … when I’m supposed to be writing. So the iPad will win out as my best avenue to focused writing. It was truly wonderful in NOLA.
What is your favorite writing space? How does where you write help you write?
Do you have a fantasy writing space? I often imagine myself going on a retreat of some sort, preferably one where everyone has to take a vow of silence. Or a lonely cabin in the woods … or on the beach … or in the desert. For me, location would not be so important as solitude. While I got a lot of writing done in New Orleans, it was NEW ORLEANS and so my afternoons and evenings were spent walking and eating and talking with my husband. In other words, I could have gotten a lot more writing done if I had been in a city I really didn’t care for and if I had been by myself. Then again, you could argue I had the best of both worlds for a few days 😉