Friday, February 16, 2007

A Room of Her Own - The Importance of a Writing Space



I started taking my laptop upstairs to my bedroom to write and what I found is I do a lot less writing than when I'm in my office, which has always been my writing space.

What I've decided is that I'm too comfortable in my bedroom. I lean back on my comfy pillows and look outside. From my bed I can see the Cascade mountains, watch the ferry come and go, and see varieties of birds from bald eagles, to sparrows, to a murder of crows on my rooftop. I thought that this new location, this new view would be beneficial to my writing. I thought, "My poems will be written from the sky, from a bed of clouds." What happened was I slowed down and felt as if I were getting ready for bed. I was less likely to be productive and even write a poem from the comfort of bedroom and more likely to sit and watch my computer screen like some sort of silent movie made of white.

I bought a new laptop because I felt as if I was tied to my office from my PC, or as we've started calling it: my desk anchor. Where's mom? She's in her office--honestly, I felt like I was in the batcave while the world of good happened elsewhere in the house. I was the superhero fighting invisible bad guys locked in the corner office. I thought by moving into the flow of the household, putting myself on the top floor in the warmest and coziest room in the house, I would actually write more and get more done. I was so wrong.

There is something to be said about a little discomfort in your writing space, you should like your writing space, but not too much. If it is too comfortable, I might fall asleep. I might cozy up with a good book and let the words fall off the couch. I might look out the window and daydream the day away. But my office, with its round red desk and its "To Do" list, its reminders that I am a working, a practicing writer won't let me get away with my daydreaming.

There is a place and time for daydreaming, but it's not when you awake and the house is empty because children are at school learning about the rhombus and the husband is lifting heavy weights or stepping up an invisible staircase at the gym. The house is quiet, this is not the time to daydream, to do the dishes or the laundry, it's time to sit down and write.

On my office door there's a handmade sign that reads: Writer at Work. When it's flipped over, the time is mine. The moment to create has been swallowed into a room with terra cotta walls and a 1932 Corona typewriter. Yes, I thought I wanted to be elsewhere, I thought I was the personal ad: Have laptop, will travel. But no, my space is in the oldest part of the house where ghosts travel through and chandeliers move for no reason, where I can't forget what I'm here for. It's not for vanishing into a pillow and a goose-down comforter, but to write as much as I can until the world arrives at my doorstep with bags of groceries or someone hands me the mail. It's my space where I look at the bottle sealed with wax that says, "Captured Hopes & Dreams," right next to the Frida Kahlo magnet with the word, "Passion." Yes, here's where you can find me.

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