Monday, October 18, 2010

Where the Magic Happens

Hm. Bit quiet around here lately. *dusts off chair* In the 4-1/2 years of this blog, it's rare that I've gone a whole month without a post. Lots of reasons why, which I'll tell you about soon. But I'm jumping back in today because this Wednesday, fellow writer Melissa Marsh will be blogging about the places writers do their work, with links to everyone's posts on their own personal writing havens. As a devotee of HGTV (what can I say? I can't resist poking my nose in stranger's houses) I'm curious to see how other writers arrange their work space.

Which means, of course, that you get to peek in mine.

Virginia Woolf wrote about a room of one's own. I feel most fortunate--I have not just a room, but a whole house to write in. We've lived here my entire writing career, and in that time I've wandered quite a bit.

I started out in the logical place: my office.

The office is home to two overcrowded bookcases, cat beds, dog beds, cases of printer paper, stacks of books that don't fit in the bookcases, stacks of novel chapters with comments from my writing group, office supplies (my 3-hole punch and paper cutter are dear to my heart), stacks of research materials for whatever novel I'm currently working on, a footlocker stuffed to bursting with research materials from previous novels, an old scratched up dresser containing our paltry selection of house linens, a sloping ceiling, cat hair, dog hair, and a desk with computer and peripherals. It has only one window facing north, which in Portland means that it's dark in here most of the time. (I've spent years dreaming of a skylight. Someday...) This office is where I wrote the many drafts of my first novel, Tallulah Falls, plus a chunk of my second novel. And then...

...we purchased a new laptop. A laptop that was actually functional. And suddenly, the entire house was my oyster.

I wrote most of the second book, Ten Cents a Dance, on the futon couch in our living room with my feet up on the coffee table. I liked the open space and the light pouring through the windows.

My animals liked the fact that they were no longer on measly pet beds on the floor, but now up on the couch with me. Before:


As far as they were concerned, this was definitely an improvement in the daily routine.

The abandoned third book was also mostly written here. When I set it aside, and moved on to the next third book, a change in venue seemed in order. (Plus, that couch was starting to hurt my back.) So I migrated upstairs.

My sweetie gave me this rocking chair, complete with cozy afghan, for Christmas one year. I've done copyediting here, and for years, whenever I got stuck and couldn't figure my way out of a writing dilemma, this was my go-to spot. I would leave the laptop behind, grab my notebook and a pen, and head up here for a brainstorming session. The chair is magic; the chair always works.

These days, this corner of our bedroom is my writing space. With the afghan pulled up over my lap and a mug of hot white chocolate on the windowsill, I'm in writing bliss. The animals aren't sad over my defection from the couch, because they simply moved onto the bed. (Less crowded for me, which is a relief. Typing with a cat draped across your wrists is a serious challenge.)

If I need a change, I'll pop back to one of my old haunts. Occasionally I'll set up shop at the kitchen table. But the rocking chair is where my third novel sprouted and continues to bloom. (Speaking of which--and thank you for asking!--I'm well into those 2nd draft revisions. More on that later.)

So this is where I work. If you'd like to take a gander at other writers' spaces (I know I do!), don't forget to head over to Melissa's this Wednesday, October 20th!