The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia
13 August 2008
Ready, set . . . . wait, where’s my pen?
Two thousand writers, talking about writing, going to writing classes, meeting other writers, reading writing books in spare moments. No wonder one’s mind pops with ideas at the yearly Romance Writers of America conference. I promised to talk more about the suggestions of psychologist Eric Maisel. These thoughts came to me as I read his book A Writer’s Space.
In my sewing area, my sewing machine, table, and equipment sit ready for use. Everything has a place and is usually in its place. The quality of the light is different from the rest of the house. The area contains nothing unrelated to sewing except CDs and a CD player.
When I go to my sewing area to sew, that’s what I do. The room is ready and there’s nothing else to do there. The ambience puts me in the mood immediately.
Not so my office. It’s a multipurpose room. I do medical writing there. I copyedit there. I critique there. I write fiction there. I shop there. I balance my checkbooks there. I bill clients there. I work on my account book there. I call the mortgage office and the sanitation department and the vet’s office and my family and everyone else there.
When I go into my office to work, that’s often not what I do. First I have to search for what I plan to work on. That can take some time because there are piles and piles of papers that need to be filed, receipts that need to be entered into my account book, stacks of notes about people I need to call and tasks I need to take care of, my harps in case I want to take a break and play (except the mess has cornered them and made them inaccessible) . . . I think you get the picture. If not, I've provided one at left.
Reading A Writer’s Space made me realize that my office does not trigger a writing mood or encourage me to write or even make writing easy. Instead, I feel exasperated and pulled in all directions by the many tasks begging for attention.
Going to the RWA conference prompted me to undertake several new projects. One is to make my office a place that does invite to write. I took the first step this week by making a strict new work schedule that sequesters non-writing projects to certain times, so that I can focus just on writing the rest of the work day.
The next project—a long-term one—is to organize my office. I’d like separate projects to be in separate places. I want to finish unpacking from our move here. I want to figure out where to store office papers so they don’t land in ever-growing stacks on the desk and floor and futon.
How about you? Does your writing space encourage or discourage you from writing?
Next week: Public speaking: an interview with Christee Gabour Atwood
Two weeks from now: An interview with historical romance author Lynna Banning
29 August: Remembering Katrina