Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Writer's Space

If you're a writer then you hear a lot about the tools of the trade - computer, writing books, organizations, a highlighter, whatever. And a lot of discussion is usually over office space. People are of so many different opinions as to what works and doesn't and they all seem to contradict each other. Some feel that you need some glorious writing desk with a huge window and a clear view of trees, birds, the ocean....whatever you have access to. Stephen King says to pick a corner of a room and put your desk up against a wall facing it rather than in the center. He says in the center of the room, you are king and focused on yourself and your space. Up against the ugly wall, you are put in your place and can concentrate on your writing. Hmmmmm. Interesting.

What I've found is that one place doesn't work for me at all. It's changing places that makes me the most productive. Now some might argue that that's because I spent so much time traveling and had no choice but to write in different places, and that might have reinforced the behavoir, but it's always been there.

The reality is, ever since I got my Alphasmart several years ago, I became the roving author. I love the cafe writing in the morning (everyone who reads me regularly knows that one), but if my husband is working a late night, you might also find me at the local Waffle House, sitting at the counter, drinking coffee and pounding away on the keyboard (mostly while coveting those new blueberry waffles they have).

And that's not the end of it. At home, I'll take my laptop and travel within the house. I might work on the couch or the chair or the kitchen table or in bed. If the shadows are right, or I'm editing (and the weather permits), I might sit outside.

Some people swear they have to be "grounded" to a place and their productivity is better, and I can understand that. It's a mental game. You sit in one spot and eventually the mind learns that when you go to that spot, it's to write. That way, the mind will turn "on" more quickly each time you sit and reinforce the idea of writing in that spot.

But it doesn't work that way for me. I guess I'm just a wanderer. I find the different locations spur my creativity. What about you?


Jaye Wells said...

I'm a wanderer too. I can't sit in my living room for some reason, but I love to sit on my patio. I also like going to the coffee shop. The less silence the better.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I like the office, sometimes I wander, it depends on the task. (Do I need a desk because I'm working with research or hard copy stuff? Do I want to sit with the honeybunny while he's watching a football game in the living room? Are the cats driving me nuts trying to walk on the keyboard and I need to put a door between them and me? Do I need to be in a part of the house that the wireless network won't reach because otherwise I'll surf instead of write?). I figure it's something that varies from one person to another. You go where you are comfortable and then you just DO.
No, mind you, that I've really had a lot of time to DO, but when I do DO, then the above applies. ;=)
Pink Pelican

Tori Lennox said...

Another wanderer here. And no offense to Stephen King, but there's no way I could have my desk facing a corner. I hate hate HATE having my back to the door. I don't like people creeping up on me.

Dona Sarkar-Mishra said...

Ditto on the wanderin'. I love to find new coffee shops (if they do NOT have wifi, ever better, since that means I'll actually do work!)

BTW, TAG Jana! I have tagged you for a meme over on my blog: http://donasarkar.blogspot.com/

Have a great day!

Jana DeLeon said...

Jaye - I'm with you. I have to have noise to concentrate. If I'm at home alone, I turn on the television.

Pink - yes, sometimes what I need to do does make a difference. I can't do any internet surfing in the cafe and my laptop doesn't run long enough to make it worthwhile to use there, so the cafe is for rough draft (on the Alphasmart) or hard copy editing.

Jana DeLeon said...

LOL tori - I'm with you. My husband and I usually argue over seats at restaurants because neither of us likes our back facing a door. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Hi dona - yes, wifi tends to cut into writing time, doesn't it? I am simply amazed by how much time I can spend on useless internet crap.

I'll go check out the tag!

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