Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What's In My Writing Space: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I have visions of writing in a beautiful, tranquil space. I can see it now. A giant desk.. no wait.. a table, with nothing on it but wisp of a computer (which despite its tiny size has an exceptionally large screen and a perfect keyboard). I'd be surrounded by books I love and all my favorite objects would be perfectly arranged on bookshelves (ones that were lovingly made to fit contours of the room as opposed to the ones made from medium density fiberboard that you put together yourself). The look would be uncluttered, yet comfortable. Calming yet inspiring. And there would be giant windows overlooking... (okay here's where I'm stuck. I can't decided between a view of the ocean, a mountain lake or the Eiffel Tower) but you get the idea...

In real life, my writing space leaves a lot to be desired. True, it does have a certain charm, if you define charm as tiny, cluttered, and completely devoid of any natural light.

Here's what I like and don't like about my current writing space:

THE GOOD: (where I make an attempt at a serene, orderly, inspirational space)

That's my rock collection, which is filled with thoughtful words like "create" "imagine" "believe". The sparkly "Hope" was a gift from a friend. Right by the door, there's a handmade switch plate with more inspirational words on it. (Do boring generic switch plates bother anyone else? There was a time where I'd proselytize about having creative switch plates. I even made my own out of polymer clay. It's a weird quirk but it makes such a difference in the tone of the room.) Other favorite things include two bulletin boards filled with quotes (more words), a bookshelf (made of medium density fiberboard) filled with my favorite books, some bamboo plants, framed song lyrics and a collection of good luck tokens from various cultures. Oh and chocolate.

THE BAD: Disclaimer: There is nothing in my "bad" category that I want to go away. I'm terribly fond of everything here. But that's the problem. I'm too fond of them.

This is a category of writing distractions (albeit beloved writing distractions). They include family members and friends (sometimes I let them into my space), my dog (who lives underneath my chair), the telephone (even now, it's right next to me), the tbr pile (it should never be this close to your desk). Oh sure, I know that everything here is necessary for a healthy balanced life, but sometimes all that health and balance can take a toll on your writing. That's my dog, Chi, and part of the tbr pile. The book on the bottom is Libba Bray's Going Bovine and Chi can't take her eyes off the cow on the spine.

THE UGLY: Also known as clutter and time zappers

We live in cramped quarters so my writing space also doubles as the room where we put things that we don't know what to do with --like an old footstool and various electronic equipment. It also serves as a pc graveyard. All the formerly used pcs are piled (neatly) in the corner ( I don't know why we keep them, but I digress..). It's also where we toss our unread mail, pay bills, store bills, and do laundry.
Plus these time-zapping items seem to find their way into my space --things like slinkies and bubbles and formadehyde free nail polish (current favorite color is walluka watermelon). Oh and don't get me started on spider solitiare.


Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Funnily enough, my writing space is noth the calm tidy room I expected it to be. It's full of books, piles of research, little bits of paper with notes on them and magazines everywhere. Plus I have this great blanket that one of my critique group buddies made me spread out on a sofa...it doesn't match the sofa, which would normally put me over the edge, but I love it in there. I have little bits and pieces from trips on shelves. Special pieces of art that friends made. Pictures of places I love on the walls. My files and books are very organized though. :)

nanmarino said...

Your space sounds like a wonderful place to create. And the blanket sounds cool. Critique buddies are the best!

TerryLynnJohnson said...

writing spaces are important! Stopping by to say thanks for your support on Verla Kay.Way to go with your book! Woo!

nanmarino said...

Congrats again on your book deal, Terry. Love the pictures of your dog on your blog. Look forward to hearing more about/reading your book.

S A Putnam said...

I love your dish of stones. I collect them too, but they aren't in a dish but grouped here and there on the shelves of the barn red bookcase my aunt (the one who was an artist) made along with pinecones, cut glass paperweights, doorknobs and perfume bottle toppers. My marble egg collection and two framed photos(one of my husband and one of my son when he worked at VTel) are also in the bookcase.

My writing space is in the living room. I could have turned my son's bedroom into an office but it doesn't get much sunshine and has only two small windows that look out onto the bank behind the house... not very picturesque.

The living room, on the other hand, has a picture window on the same side as the sliding glass door onto the deck and two large windows on the opposite wall.

I have my aunt's black art work (assemblages) hanging upon three ivory colored walls, two prism mobiles (one that she made and one that I made) different shaped wicker baskets and wicker trunks that are crammed packed with folders and writing/computer supplies.

My computer monitor and Midi speakers are sitting on small maple table (a table and chair set that I had as a child) and beside them my new Dell computer is sitting on top of my old computer case.

A hand forged iron door latch that came off the blacksmith's shop door (from the 200 acre farm in Beachburg, Ontario that we owned) is hanging on the wall opposite a gold Judith Brown snowflake that is mounted on a piece of black velvet in a silver and gold frame. My Vermont College Diploma framed in a Norwich University maroon and gold frame is on the wall next to the windows. My son’s old Sony boom box is on one of the wicker trunks that makes a perfect seat for Canoe to sit on and look out the picture window.

My white and maroon witch balls and 6 prisms on thin maroon ribbons are hung in the picture window, there is alsp a small couch (claimed by the cats) and my easy chair that will hopefully one day become a loveseat and recliner. Books and papers are piled onto another computer case that acts as a side table.