A Writing Room of One’s Own
June 11, 2012
Do you have a space set aside for your writing (or other creative pursuits) even if it has to be tidied/corralled/put away when the family comes home? It can help so much, I believe, in making creativity a regular part of one’s life if one has a spot that is devoted to that.
The website of the Guardian in the UK has an ongoing feature on Writer’s (and composer’s) Rooms that one can lose oneself in for long stretches of time. On a smaller, but no less fascinating scale, Joanna Marple generally asks the illustrators she interviews in her current Wednesday blog series about their creative space.
I have had a variety of writing spaces over the years, from writing on my lap as I sat watching television, to a desk in the corner of the living room, to my present situation of having an extra bedroom which has been turned into a writing room. I am so grateful that now that I am no longer working outside the home, I have a work space that is conducive to creativity inside my home. I’ve recently done some reorganizing, and although it’s not perfect, I wanted to share it with you.
I have gone from scribbling on my knee with the television on to preferring complete quiet when I write — not even music playing. After years of working in a cubicle where I faced a wall of some sort, I far prefer having my desk situated so that I look out into the room. Although anyone who knows me knows that I can easily mess up a space, I feel most comfortable when there is order and clear space around me. Come in to my writing room —
Different draperies will be hung before long — the window faces east, and the sun streams in, concentrating itself on me at my desk chair in the morning, sometimes to the extent that I have to pick up the laptop and go elsewhere in the apartment to work for a while. The desk was my Dad’s. Although it isn’t the perfect computer desk, it creates a sense of connection to use it — and my budget is currently earmarked for things other than new furniture. The bed, which I valiantly pretend is a daybed, is a hospital-style bed I purchased for my mother when one of the nursing homes where she sojourned didn’t provide an adjustable bed. The toy dogs (and a small toy cat on one of the bookcases) are the closest I can come to having real animals around, and they help to make it feel like a child-friendly room for a writer whose repertoire includes children’s books.
The closet door currently displays little bits of inspiration, in the form of cards or words of encouragement. In fact, all around the room you will see things that bring me joy or provide inspiration. Even when my writing space was just a desk in the corner of the living room, I liked to have a few objects on the desk that provided inspiration.
Until recently, the printer was in another room, and I’d carry the laptop to it. It’s lovely to have it at arm’s reach. The little airfield in the middle of the desk is comprised of tiny airplanes I gave Dad over the years. They used to reside on one of the bookcase shelves, but when I reorganized, they were displaced. I set them on the desk while I was organizing, and discovered that not only does having an airfield filled with biplanes on my desk make me smile, but it also prevents me from stacking papers all over the desk. This is a good thing, since I can turn into a paper-stacker extraordinaire with very little provocation.
As you can see, the desk was designed in an era when personal computers were only a thing of science fiction. The tray on which Mackie resides (and which used to serve as a keyboard tray when I had a full size desktop computer) is one of the shelves from my bookcase balanced on the top drawers of the desk. Because of carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis in my right hand, I mouse with my left. That’s handy when I want to write anything as I can put a notebook to the right of Mackie. (I am right-handed when it comes to handwriting, although I avoid handwriting as much as possible.)
Those of you who have seen photos of my writing room before may notice a rearrangement of the books on the shelves. The bookcase I face as I write now holds my DVD and CD collection, with music on the lower shelf. The bookcase on the right (which Dog seems to be rather lazily guarding) holds picture books, middle grade novels, some writing books, and more music. Note to members of the Children’s Book Hub — the picture book shelf still has a space reserved for publications of Hub members. I’m sure you will note various items that inspire me daily to “let my creative sparkle out.”
Thank you for visiting my writing room today — I’ve enjoyed sharing it with you. I hope you’ll visit again on Wednesday, when Alexander Technique practitioner and teacher, Imogen Ragone of Body Intelligence, talks to us about how we can make whatever space we write in more comfortable and more conducive to the flow of creative ideas.
Do you have a room, a corner, a spot of some sort, that allows you to let your creative sparkle out?