Sunday, June 18, 2006

Writing in Chaos

This wasn't what I had originally planned to blog about but something happened today that made me wonder about how other writers work.

When I first started writing, almost five years ago, I worked in a little cubby hole between the kitchen and dining room. It wasn't the quietest place to work, but I hate writing in long hand, so since that's where our computer was, it's where I had to be. Then, about two years later, my sweetheart surprised me with a laptop. I gladly abandoned my work station and enjoyed the freedom of being able to sit just about anywhere to write. I loved that, but still wanted my own office, my writing haven. You know, where you can close the world out and have all your stuff around you. Comfortable necessities like my giant dictionary that I love to peruse and pick out words I don't know for the fun of it. Yes, I'm a little odd.

Two months before we moved from Indiana, I finally got my wish. I had this beautiful office, skylights right over my desk, an LCD television -- which I swear I only played Buffy reruns on. Oh, how I loved it. Cried my eyes out to leave it. Yes, I'm a little emotional.

Then we moved to Alabama. Since we've been in our new home, which is a little over a year, I've had three offices. And if we ever finish the basement, which we will possibly in the late part of the twenty-first century, I'll probably move my office again.

What prompted this blog? My husband persuaded me to put his mother's eighty year old sofa in my office. Well, the sofa is huge, my office is not. The sofa is an antique, my other furniture is not. Yes, I admit, I'm close to being an antique. But not yet.

So, I'm sitting in semi total chaos, and wondering if this will inhibit my writing.

I tell myself no. A writer should be able to write anywhere, at anytime. But I know me. I'm a creature of habit. I wake up each morning, get my coffee, feed the dog and then head to my laptop, where I check my email and then begin to work. I like things to stay the same, look the same, be the same. Yes, I'm a bit boring.

Will the disarray inhibit me? I don't know. I'm hooked up to the Internet, my dictionary is to my left, my grammar book behind me and the stereo is finally hooked up. If I don't look behind me, I can pretend that all's right in my little writing world. But if I do turn around, boxes, papers, notebooks and nicknacks are stacked three feet high, looking to be put away. Unfortunately, I have no place to put them.

What about you? What's your workspace like? Do you have to have perfect order, organized chaos, all of your favorite things around you? Or can you just pick up pen and paper, your laptop or Alphasmart and write away, no matter where you are?


Paula said...

When we first moved into this house, I had the entire downstairs den/basement area to myself. Only problem was, we had a dampness problem, and between my asthma and allergies, and my cat's severe skin allergy, we couldn't live downstairs. However, there was really nowhere else to put my desk top computer.

So I invested in a laptop computer and thought I had it made. Except my sister and her two young daughters had moved in with my mom and me by that time, and there was no such thing as a place upstairs that was chaos-free.

For a long time, I just wrote in the family den in the middle of all the craziness. I wrote two whole book and revised three others in that den, somehow, but I kept thinking, if I could just get settled somewhere else with my computer...

A couple of weeks ago, I moved my computer into my bedroom--bought one of those Table Mate folding tables top put it on. And I do have a lot fewer distractions here, but I find I miss the companionship of being in the den with my mom.

The grass is always greener...

Deborah Matthews said...

I made my final move in March and I still have things sitting on the floor in my office. Some of it is divided into stacks and all I have to do is put it away, but there it is. I still have one box of papers and a box of my computer disks. My desk is already cluttered. (sigh) I had such high hopes.

Carla Swafford said...

For a small time, I had an office and I actually boo-hooed because it hadn't been since I left home (nearly 30 years before) that I had a room all of my own. But as I said, I had it for a small time. Now my desk is in the living room where we have a big screen TV and next to the kitchen. To drown out the TV and people talking, I log onto XM radio, click on #26 and listen to all the new songs through some very nice headphones. Thankfully I'm one of those people that grew up listening to Rock while doing her homework. Would I rather have silence? Oh, yeah. But you make do and get it done, if you want to be published bad enough. And I want it very baaaddd. ::g::

jennifer echols said...

There's something to be said for being able to write no matter what. If you don't have a choice, you make do. But Christy, it sounds like you have a choice. Your writing is important. The sofa is bothering you. The Sofa Must Go!

Gaill Wills said...

CHAOS! I could not think of the word to aptly describe my life! Thanks Christy!

Our den is where we live. All three of us have our computers in the den, along with the TV and the laundry room is next door, and everytime I'd be on a deadline- self-imposed for a contest, sigh, not an editor's- I'd be so wrapped up with what I was doing that my husband or son might snap at me because I haven't been listening to them.

I hate wasted space. We have a dining room, which we use maybe two times a year. I got rid of the kitchen table, moved the dining room table to the kitchen, moved the sideboard to the living room, put a desk and my overstuffed chair and ottoman along with my stereo in the dining room. It is MY room. This is where I write. This is where I hide. This is where I do research (AKA reading). I was going to put a small TV in here, but my husband wouldn't hear of it, he was afraid it would be too much like my own apt, given that it is next to the kitchen and the freezer is actually in my room, so I gave up the idea of the TV.

My husband and son will come to the door, they only enter my room if they need to talk seriously, and if I'm trying to get something done, like a deadline, I have bamboo curtains I close. If the curtains are closed, I'm not available. Call me on my cell.

It is still a wreck from the move and the hasty remodel I did, and no, I'm not done painting yet, but I've got this huge silk palm tree in the corner that hangs over my chair, and I've got my clock at my eye level sitting in the chair, and I love my room, I really love my room.

I don't have anything to write on other than my desktop computer, unless, of course you count paper, but I'm a typer, so it is hard for me to write what I'm thinking longhand,
so I can write better away from the chaos of the daily grind in the den, even if the room is still a wreck.

I've got plans to build a nice bookcase to put my books and get them out of the house proper, but until them, they are stacked or boxed, or hidden away in other rooms. I'm going to make this room my writing paradise, even if it takes me forever!

And Christy, if you hate the couch so much get rid of it or put a slip cover on it that matches you and your room.
Tell your husband you've changed your mind and it can go in HIS space, or ya'll need to get rid of it. Just because it was his mother's and it is 80 years old is not a good enought reason to keep something no one is enjoying.