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.