When I started this blog, I was asked to submit a picture of my writing space so that it could be posted.
I froze, my stomach dropping when I read the request. Not because I didn’t want to share it, just because there really wasn’t anything to share. What was I going to do? Send in a picture of my couch? How do I hide the very distinct teeth impressions from that time my dog decided the couch was his personal chew toy? There was always my bed but that seemed a little weird. A bit too personal if you ask me.
Finally, after several moments of panic, reason prevailed and I did the only thing I could think of: fake it. That’s right, fake it til you make it.
I had a desk but no chair for it and at that time it was littered with make up, hair brushes, and other odds and ends I pulled from my pockets at the end of the day.
I tossed all of that onto the bed, propped up a framed Stephen King quote my sister had gotten me, stacked my Harry Potter books on the edge, and added my lap top and a notebook and pens. A few quick pictures later and I took all of that back off and curled up in bed with my laptop to continue writing.
I know, you all are clicking over to look at that picture now. Yes, my friends, it was staged. Please don’t feel deceived. I was a newbie blogger and felt embarrassed that I didn’t have a real writing space. It made me question whether or not I was a serious writer. Later I decided it was more a reflection of my wallet than my writing skills.
I’ve read several books on writing that claim you need a place devoted solely to your writing. It’s supposed to help you focus and gain inspiration. But my life and schedule have always necessitated writing in many locations. I’ve written at work, in the car, in bed, on the couch, in my recliner (my new favorite spot), and even under the dining room table. The last one I only tried once. It did work that one time but it was just too weird. Even for me.
Rarely have I written at my desk here at the house. As I type this, I’m sitting in my recliner. The desk next to me is covered with notebooks and unopened mail, bills, tax documents, and a bunch of coffee and tea cups.
I haven’t really found that writing in all of these different places has made a difference to my writing. I’ve written as much or as little in all of them. Some writers even prefer a change of scenery. They say it helps keeps them inspired. Most of the time, I’m inclined to agree.
That being said I talked last week about planning and schedules and how it’s helped my writing. So I’m not quite as eager to bash a proper writing place as I used to be.
Still, I think listing the pros and cons is always a good way to make a decision.
Pro: Organization While I don’t think having a writing room will necessarily improve my writing, I do think it will be a good way for me to keep all of it in one place.
There are notebooks spread throughout this house, some of them only half filled. I also have a plastic tub full of completed notebooks and binders bursting at the seams from being crammed with years’ worth of notes and ideas.
Pro: It’s Fun You get to plan out a space in your home that can be decorated anyway you want. It doesn’t have to have a certain theme or decor or match the rest of your house.
I want to put a bookshelf in my spare room so all of these notebooks and binders have a home. I want to line the extra shelves with books on writing I’ve acquired over the years. I want a wall that’s a corkboard so I can pin up little things that inspire me. I want another wall covered in chalk board paint so I can work through problems visually. And I want a big comfy bean bag chair so I can read or write or do research in it. Because I’m totally a grown up like that.
Pro: Quiet Alone Time I should tell you that I live alone so basically my entire house is my writing space. Rarely is there anyone around to disturb me. If you don’t live alone, a writing space might be just the thing you’re looking for.
It gives you a room that’s just yours where you can go and shut the door and escape for a bit. Maybe you’ll even get some writing done in there.
Pro: It’s Freedom Even if you do live alone, having a room that is dedicated just to your writing can be helpful. It’s a place where you can explore ideas and your imagination. You can scatter out notes and research. If someone shows up, you just shut the door rather than rushing around trying to clean up. Plus sometimes writers research things that might seem suspect to others.
Con: Loss of Inspiration Having a writing space might come to feel a little routine. Maybe it’ll lose it’s luster after a while. Maybe you’ll just get bored in there. After a bit it might feel less inspiring than it once did.
Con: Dependence What if after a while you can only write in your writing space? You’d go on vacation and not be able to write. Go home for the holidays and no story will come out. This is maybe a stretch but it could happen. I’m a person that tends to form weird habits so, for me at least, this is a real possibility.
I came up with more pros than cons so I really all that’s stopping me is funding. Still, I don’t think it’s important as far as my writing is concerned. It might help but I don’t think my writing career depends on it.
Personally I don’t think having a writing space has anything to do with how much or how well you write. I think it’s more of a status symbol. It says hey, I’m a serious writer. I’m successful. I’ve made it.
My advice is to learn how to write anywhere first. And if you do have a writing space, don’t become dependent on it. Shake things up every now and again and write somewhere else. Maybe you could even use your writing room as a thinking room. Whatever you decide to do, do what feels right for you.