Friday, July 30, 2010

Protecting The Space

In order to write you have to have a space.

It can be a corner, a chair, a home office, it can even be in your car--just somewhere that is YOURS.


Because in order to write, at least for me, I have to get focused. I need to feel like this is where I can safely sit and write. It sounds selfish, but I discovered it after years of writing in all sorts of places. For me, its my Blue Room, a home office painted a lovely dark blue color by the previous owners. I feel like I write in a cave. I love it. I feel safe here.

This summer a friend and I were discussing why we felt so discombobulated-why we could not focus to write, how we were unable to reach some of our goals. Both of us have school age children, and even though we both implemented a "program" to get the kids on track it still fell short. In frustration my friend stated, "Every time I go into my office, someone is there on my computer or playing on the floor, bringing in their stuff."

Her space was being invaded as was mine. The effect was feeling off balance, unable to focus to push forward. Of course she wrote in different places like I do, but where does she get the bulk of her work done? Where do you? In your SPACE.

Even my children were invading, I had drawings all over my desk. Parts of my chapters I had printed out were stacked haphazardly in different places-not where I put them. My husband would come in and tinker. It stressed me out.

That's when I realized you have to PROTECT THE SPACE.

My friend, she gave time limits to her children on when they could be in her office. She also banished the toys and no playing in there while she worked. She made sure she spent time with them, she was not abandoning them. It worked.

I told my family, you can come into my office, but I forbade them to touch anything on my desk without asking me first. I used bribery. Trips to the library, movies, etc. Its working. For now.

What was the end-result? I am focusing better when I sit down to write. I am slowly getting more work done.

What if you don't have an office? Find a special chair. A corner...someplace that you can make yours. How do you make it yours? Decorate or place near it an item or two that you love. Maybe its a book you have read over and over, or a candle and a trinket or two. For myself, I have two gargoyles that I placed in my office area. Make it your area, the place you feel focused and reminds you of what needs to be done, whether its writing, cross-stitch, or reading. This is the one place that you feel safe. It is yours.

Protect the space.

Tell me your space.......


Callie James said...

I used to have a space. It was my own, wonderful room upstairs that had never been used. Everything was fresh, new. I hung inspiration on the walls and set encouraging plaques on my perfect little desk.

Then two rabbits moved in.

Needless to say, they made me move. As everyone knows, I foster care animals (and have quite a few of my own). So, moving happened a few times, and now "my space" is my laptop keyboard. Somehow I've managed to adjust, but you might be surprised how put out I get if my husband gets on my laptop. It's like ... hey, that's all I have left. Sure, the thing may be old and my A, N, and P barely work anymore. But it's all I have!

So, yeah. I totally understand about that space thing.

M.V.Freeman said...

See, you have the space! Your laptop--I so identify with that. Actually, I get a bit miffed if someone tries to commandeer my computer. LOL

The one thing I like the most about what you said---you keep on writing, now that is inspiring. :-)

A man called Valance said...

You've got it all sorted out, Em. Anything that distracts is no help at all - except for making excuses, maybe. I'm lucky enough to have my own little space. It ain't much, and there's cigarette ash everywhere, but it's mine and I'm grateful for it.

Gwen Hernandez said...

I can so relate to this, especially after moving three times in the last year. The little apartment we were in while we looked for a house had no quiet place to go, and everything was stark white. With that, the kids home for the summer, travel, and the move, I hardly accomplished anything these last few months.

I finally get to come home to the new house tomorrow. I can't wait to carve out a niche for myself and get back to work!

M.V.Freeman said...

Mr. Valance,
You always make me smile, thank you for stopping by. :-)
And I am glad you have your space, ashes and all, I think its so important to have your matter where or what it is.

M.V.Freeman said...

I don't know how you managed to survive these last few months--and get to Nationals. I'd be stark raving mad.

And I'm cheering you on for carving out your space!

Christine said...

When I moved, I learned I could write in a box. However, if I am in full on writing mode and someone in this household interrupts me, watch out. It's so hard to get back into the scene I was immersed in if that happens. When I am truly seriously revising, I go into my office, close the doors and God be with the person who dares cross the threshold of my space.

M.V.Freeman said...

I SO understand that! LOL
I got very inspired by your moving and writing at the same time!

RedPeril said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RedPeril said...

My space is a corner of the loft office. It's more of a nook really, densely decorated with inspiring quotes, posters, magazine clippings, and a sign overhead that reads:

Tasmanian Tiger
Trespassers will be eaten!'
(It's a long, convoluted story.)

I've tried writing on a laptop just about everywhere else in the house and even outside, but the ADD kicks in and something shiny, noisy, smelly, furry (or all of the above) steals my attention.

Still, what I favor for productivity's sake isn't so much space as it is more on the order of what Christine has described: An outright sanctuary. What I seem to need is peace, quiet, and solitude. Something that can only be enforced when my precious offspring are unconscious. So for now, it's all about the right place AND the right timing. Once the kiddos develop some language skills, I plan to work on defending the sanctuary. >.<

M.V.Freeman said...

I totally understand that. I did not have a "space" until my kids were walking and talking.

But, you have a nook..some place that does inspire. That counts for a lot!