Time For Moving On

Frans new workspace

Sometimes you just know it’s time. That’s the way I felt as I made the decision to relocate my writing workspace from the end of the kitchen table to a real desk.

From my first tentative exploration of fiction writing, with the early drafts of Disappearing in Plain Sight, I refused to sit at any of the lovely desks we have in our home. It was as if the very idea of a desk meant academic writing.  In the span of a dozen years I had an undergrad degree and almost seven years of grad school under my belt. I had spent enough hours sitting at a desk, working on a certain type of writing, to last me a lifetime. Or so I thought. Writing fiction was to be totally different for me – something completely new.

For a fresh beginning in fiction writing, I set myself up at the end of the kitchen table and there I stayed through the writing and multiple rewriting of two novels. Obviously, this was disruptive to the other uses a kitchen table could have. We often found ourselves eating our meals on a tiny portion of the table surrounded by a pushed aside laptop, stacked books, and multiple papers covered in post-it notes. Gradually, the piles of writing material spread from the table to the adjacent countertop.

I recently returned from a wonderful month with my granddaughters. I walked into our small home and was overwhelmed by the stacks of books, magazines, newspapers and objects piled on almost every available surface. My husband and I both knew that the time had come to deal with the clutter. I realized, quite suddenly, that I could go back to working at a desk. I was ready.

We had a couple of days of disruption as we carted things from one room to another. As is usually the case, one small move can begin an avalanche of change. Leaving the kitchen table involved reworking a space down in our old dining room. That involved moving a desk we had in the entrance which also meant revamping that area. Bonus – we cleaned up three rooms!

As I sit in my new workspace, I am ready for the tasks that will get The Light Never Lies into production mode. I feel myself gearing up for a major writing push in early 2014 – the first draft of my next novel.

Improved workspace = more creativity and output. New horizons open, all things become possible.

Moral of the story – because of course there is always some lesson to be learned – right? When it comes to being creative, don’t under estimate the psychological needs met by a particular workspace. Where you set up at any given time may be as much about where you can’t be as it is about where you want to be. Ultimately, the only yardstick is whether you can write or not.

Let me know what you think. Have you ever cleared the decks and ended up sweeping yourself right into a new and invigorated writing mode? Do you write in a less traditional space because it works for you? I’d love to hear.

Kitchen - Cabin - 2013

33 comments on “Time For Moving On

  1. All I know is I’d never get any work done with that view staring me in the face!

  2. As a minimalist, my ideal workspace is pure, simple, empty space. No muss, no fuss — no clutter.

    MY PROCESS?
    I sit down at my desk window-facing desk. There are two items — and two items only — on the desk surface: (1) laptop, (2) a brand new tea light.

    I SHOW UP every day. When I SHOW UP, I light the tea light and write. I do not leave my desk until the tea light goes out of its own accord.

    Dog’s first note to self: Yankee brand candles burn up to 6-hours.

    Dog’s second note to self: SHOW UP means a positive attitude and a commitment to write. The candle is my visible-tangible CONTRACT. I sign a new CONTRACT each day when I SHOW UP to write.

    Laurie Buchanan http://tuesdayswithlaurie.com

    • Thanks for sharing, Laurie. Love the tip on Yankee brand candles – take note people. But, seriously, you’ve captured the core – show up and commit to the process. Once we do that, the sky is the limit.

  3. oldmainer says:

    I’m with Kevin. I have a laptop in the basement family room off in one corner. Only distraction is the dog snoring on the couch.

    • I simply can’t think straight if I am facing a wall – it has to be open space. As I mentioned in my comment to Kevin, crazy how different each one of us is when it comes to tackling and holding that creative muse. Love the idea of a dog snoring off in the distance. We recently had to have our very elderly dog put down and his spirit still seems to wander the rooms – often in the form of a wheezing snore.

  4. smilecalm says:

    how wonderful to have an inspiring view of the world! I look out at my quiet neighborhood and fall colored trees.

    • Looking out on a tree (any tree) is a constant inspiration – season by season. The other day, I sat and just watched the buttery-yellow leaves of the apple tree blowing away in the wind – what a sight. Trees – so much beauty. Thanks for mentioning trees.

  5. Wow, what an amazing office! I have to agree with the masses, trying to focus would be tough for me with a view like that. Enjoy your new space! 🙂

    • We’ve lived here for so long – maybe focus comes a bit from familiarity. I’m not saying the view gets old because it doesn’t, but perhaps over time it becomes more inspiring than distracting. Thanks for the comment and I am enjoying this new space. Feel very productive the last few days.

  6. Gwen Stephens says:

    Your cabin looks amazing. I think I could draw a lot of inspiration in a workspace like that. I also work at the kitchen table. We have a finished room over the garage with a lovely antique desk, but the room is poorly heated and cooled so it’s not ideal. Since most of my dedicated writing time is before sunrise, the kitchen works for now. I suppose the only thing I could invest in are a set of cushions for the very hard mahogany chairs I sit on!

    • Gwen – you hit on such a great point, here. It is more than psychological or emotional – some spaces are not physically comfortable. Then there are the timing issues. A perfectly good kitchen table is not being used in most households before sunrise. I will never lose my affection for the work done at a kitchen table. And I’m all for the cushion idea.

  7. Would luv to see the space but sad that I m unable to view d same…..Each one has their own style of writing & source of inspiration….. Yes, the space shud definitely be clutter free…Wish u all the best for future projects :):)

  8. Roy McCarthy says:

    I’ve found it’s important and far more productive to dedicate a workspace to one’s writing. In my case it’s simply a desk as against my normal armchair Internet-messing location.
    Your working view of the lake is, I think, inspirational.

    • Good point, Roy – a space for creativity that is different than the space one does other (time-consuming) internet type things. I have this dream space idea out in my garden that may someday come to fruition. I would go there, shut the door, have zero interruptions and just write for a given period of time. We’ll see.

  9. Maggie Thom says:

    Having a working space and a desk where you can sit down and do your writing makes all the difference. Congratulations on making that decision, I know for me it made all the difference in the amount of work I got done. Ironically, I love your view and for me it inspires me to write. I’m always trying to capture the essence of what I see onto paper and I think your picturesque setting would be great inspiration for that. Absolutely beautiful.

    • Thanks, Maggie. Because my first two books have been set at a fictional lake (geographically very similar to the one I live beside), the view is quite inspirational. This desk is serving to really define work time for me. I think I will be more disciplined in this area.

  10. Gemma Hawdon says:

    Wow Francis – what an inspirational place to work from! I tend to shift around a lot, from gardens to cafes, sometimes at home. The fresh environment seems to encourage new words, senses etc. I’m sure, however, if I had a view like yours, you wouldn’t catch me anywhere else!

    • Maybe – on the view – but, you know what they say – a change is as good as a rest. I can see me picking up the laptop and moving into the garden at the drop of a hat. Thanks for stopping by, Gemma.

  11. It all looks so lovely and serene. Beautiful home you have. 🙂

  12. I don’t really have a routine as yet. I’m very much in the experimental stages and I travel around so much that I tend to take the inspiration wherever and whenever it happens! Really interesting blog, though, as I’ve just been reading about superstitions associated with writing and inspiration…

    • That is the main thing, isn’t it? Get inspired wherever we end up. Superstitions associated with writing and inspiration . . . Now that sounds fascinating. I don’t know if it is in the realm of superstition but, sometimes, I feel like an old dog circling around and around the mat before I can make myself sit down and work.

  13. Yowza! If I had that view, I would never leave my chair. Stunning, Francis, but then again, your kitchen view is beautiful as well. Do you rent out writing space? 🙂

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