By Julia Lynne
It’s one of the most discussed pieces of writing advice ever. Create your own private writing space. This is easier said than done for a lot of us. If you have a houseful, a dedicated space to write can be a pipe dream.
For a few years and throughout my first two novels, I shared a space with my hubby, affectionately known as The Beard. The Beard and I have distinct organizational styles. He’s a piler, and I’m a piler/organizer. I can deal with my own piles for a short time, but other people’s stacks drive me mad. My shit is stuff; other people’s stuff is shit. —George Carlin
I don’t know about you, but when I’m writing, I also talk out loud. I read lines of dialogue aloud to check how they sound. Random ideas and plot threads are great things to discuss with the dogs. They love everything I write. Sharing an office space created confusion. The Beard often thought I was talking to him. On the topics I was speaking to him, he would ignore me. The nerve some people have.
Though a garden shed office has been in the works for several years, we finished our last big remodel project, and The Beard moved his office to the garage. He created a man cave, no room for the cars, but he likes it just fine. I am, at last, working in my own space. Sure, it becomes a spare bedroom for guests on occasion, but it’s primarily my writing office. I’m not giving up on the garden shed. Even when the door is shut, the offspring and hubby frequently interrupt when crisis, e.g., when there’s no clear dinner plan. A garden shed office would mean walking distance or even a text for clarification on how three mostly grown men should feed themselves.
For now, my working space is still my own. My quirky little thrift store finds have cozied up the vibe. We tore up decades old carpet and replaced it with dark roasted bamboo floors. My handwoven rag rug provides a whimsical crash pad for the dogs. And creme de la creme, the mojo is all mine. I can pile research by the project with confidence. I can switch from desk mode to groovy vintage chair mode while keeping the groove of what I’m writing. My post-it notes are at a quick glance, no more schlepping project folders to a different room.
I had scoffed the need for a dedicated writing space. After all, I wrote two novels utilizing different places of my house and backyard. I learned, however, this private little space has fostered a shift in my writing paradigm. I no longer feel the need to wait for ‘inspiration.’ I can step over the threshold and enter writing mode with little or no creative animus. A few taps of my keyboard whisks me into my work, and I’m off. Sometimes it’s a stumbling start; sometimes it’s a burn out to a 12-second quarter mile.
Funny thing, I would say when experts give you advice take it with a grain, but in the case of carving out your writing space, sharpen your knives and get to slicing.
JC Lynne is a graduate of Metropolitan State University and Colorado State University. She holds degrees in Aerospace Science, English, English Education, and Education. After ten years as an air traffic controller, she spent ten years teaching Language Arts, Writing, and Film.
She currently lives and writes in Colorado. She divides her time between writing, teaching yoga, wrangling two pseudo-adult boys, three dogs, two cats and quelling dust bunny rebellions.