Sunday, March 27, 2016

Where I'll be writing soon.

I was hoping to show y'all a photo this week of the completed spring table topper, but I can't. Oh, I finished all of the gazillions of French knots. But it still needs to be blocked, and now it's packed.

We're moving this coming week, to a bigger apartment in the same high-rise. You would think moving two floors down would be easier than a cross-country move, but you'd be wrong. You still have to sort everything, and pack everything, and get it from here to there. We're still in the sorting-and-packing stage, and it's painful. But the good news is that I'll have a more private place to write, when all is said and done.

That reminded me of a post I did for Indies Unlimited earlier this year about all the different places authors find themselves writing. Here it is, in a slightly edited and updated version. And next week I promise I'll have some very interesting publishing news for you.

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Not everybody has a tidy writer's study with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a roaring fireplace…and a cup of tea, or maybe a tot of something stronger… Um, hang on. I'm fantasizing again.

In real life, we all have our preferences for workspaces. Lots of writers like flexibility; they want to be able to work on their WIPs whenever the mood strikes them, or whenever they have ten spare minutes. That's the biggest advantage of using paper and pen for a first draft, I think. You can write anywhere – at the breakfast bar, under a tree outside, at the beach, at a coffee shop, on the Metro, even at an actual desk. Laptop computers are almost as flexible, especially if you're willing to tote around an external battery for a quick recharge. Although I'd be leery of taking a laptop to the beach. I can't imagine sand and salt spray would be good for its innards.

Some people really seem to like writing in public places. J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter novel at a coffee shop. Others like to commandeer a carrel at a library. I've seen people camp out in Panera’s and other restaurants for the free wi-fi, and I have to believe some writing is going on there. I suspect this setup appeals to less-introverted writers, or those who feel isolated in their day-to-day lives; they’re looking for a way to be out amongst other people while they're cocooning themselves mentally in their private writing worlds. I think this is the impetus, too, behind the social events that NaNoWriMo schedules every November: a write-in at the beginning of the month, and a "thank God November's over" outing at the end of the month. The idea, I suspect, is to make NaNo seem more appealing to extroverts who balk at shutting themselves away from other people for all the hours it takes to write 50,000 words in a month.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are the writers who look forward to shutting themselves away to write. These are the folks who believe they cannot write in public, because any sound or movement will pull them out of their writing hypnosis. They're the ones who set up a home office – and when it's time to write, they tell family members not to bother them unless someone's bleeding. Others use music as white noise, or noise-canceling headphones, or both. Some go so far as to build a tiny dwelling – a cabin or shed – in the backyard and kit it out as a writing cave.

Some of us would kill for a writing cave.

This pic is several years old, but the desk hasn't moved. Yet.
But most of us, I suspect, have to make do -- and that's what I've been doing for the past several years. I've been writing on my all-in-one desktop with the 24-inch monitor. My desk is in the living room of my one-bedroom apartment, which isn't a problem unless someone is staying with me – which has been the case for most of the past three years. I can't write with music, because no matter how ambient the sound is intended to be, it still distracts me. Luckily, my daughter Kitty is also a writer, and she doesn't mind wearing headphones to listen to her music while she writes. So we've been making it work: I sit at my desktop behemoth, she sits at her laptop at the dining room table, and it's fine until one of us needs a break and distracts the other one.

But when we move, I'll put my desk in my room, and Kitty will have her own desk in her own room. That should cut down on the distraction factor. But as my younger daughter, Amy, will also be moving in with us, who knows?

Are you a writer? If so, where do you write?

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These moments of bloggy location, location, location have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.
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