Monday, August 17, 2015

Room to Write

When I first started writing, I didn’t give much thought to writing spaces. During the first few months of writing my first novel, Kingston’s Project, I did most of my typing while seated on the couch. I would half watch/listen to whatever show was on the television while pretending to check emails, but secretly I was bringing Sarah and Elijah to life. After about four months, I finally found the courage to tell my husband that I was actually writing a novel (partly because I was afraid he was starting to suspect I was doing something naughty on the computer since I would close it up when he came to sit next to me).

No longer being held down by a secret meant I could write anywhere in the house. I’m lucky in that we have a dedicated home office, but at that time I was still working out the home as well. I didn’t want to waste the few hours I could spend with my family by isolating myself in the office. The result was that I did most of my writing on the couch or at the dining room table. Occasionally I’d make my way to the office, especially if I really needed quite time to concentrate.

Once I started staying home full time, I took over our home office completely. Now, I only write in the office. The reason is because spending time with my daughter is the main reason I now stay home. If my computer were out in the living or dining room, then I’d only be giving half of my attention to my daughter and the other half to my writing. My new schedule is designed to give me time to dedicate fully to both, so thats what I try to do by restricting my writing to when she’s in school, at her gymnastics practice, or playing with friends.

We moved into our home about 4 years ago. In that time we’ve slowly redecorated the entire house. There wasn’t much major work to be done, and we contracted out those few big projects we did have. We prioritized each room, and the office fell to the bottom of the list. We didn’t use it much when we both worked outside the home, and the way it was styled when we moved in was passable.

This summer I made the impromptu decision that it was time to make this office my own. I think it has something to do with the fact that my approved leave from my company is now over, which means I’m officially a stay-at-home mom and self-employed author. I’m hoping that having a new space that reflects my style will help me feel as though this is really my job and not just a hobby. I started searching for ‘writing spaces’ on Pinterest to get some inspiration and came across these amazing little cottage-style writing rooms. Many look like they were sheds that were then turned into a writing/reading space.

Unfortunately, our home owner’s association has some very strict rules that prevent us from adding any structures to our yard (unless we had a pool . . .  which we don’t). Don’t get me wrong—I do realize that I’m lucky to have a dedicated home office for my writing. But everyone is entitled to dream, right? Those little writing cotteges are so cozy and it reminds me of my unfulfilled childhood dream of having a life-sized playhouse. Maybe someday I’ll be able to make that dream come true, but until then I have to work with what I’ve got.

Below are a few before (top) and after (bottom) photos of my office. I’m sure some things might get moved around as I fall into a routine in this new space, and I might add a few more odds-and-ends as I discover them.

As you can see, I had to make sure I kept a space for both the kid and the cat. The kid got a new table and chair. The cat doesnt mind since she thinks all the changes are for her anyway. I didnt exactly get a new chair—I just swapped out the one that was in there for the newer one I had in my craft room. Before the makeover, my view from my writing desk was a large golf print. Again, it was okay—just not me. This is now my view. Yes, much better.

It was important to me to be surrounded by things that inspire me. Some of them are items of sentimental value, and others are pieces I fell in love with and purchased specifically for my new writing room.

I love my new space! I already have the urge to just sit in here all day and write. Watch out book 4, I now have some powerful inspiration!

What about you—where do you write? What would your ideal writing space look like? If you dont write, do you have a special reading space?

~ Carrie


Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

With 3 kids, every bedroom is taken so we have an "office" (it's really a desk) in our finished basement. But writing in a basement sucks. It's cold or damp and lonely. So, I write in bed, or on my couch, or at my kitchen table. One day, I plan on restoring an old camper trailer and putting that in my backyard for a writing studio. One day....

Brenda St John Brown said...

I usually plunk down on the couch and call that my "office", but if I'm editing, I go and use the desk attachment on the elliptical upstairs, and if I really want to get stuff done, I leave the house. There's a cafe a few miles from my house where I always get tons of words in and my goal this upcoming school year is to go there once/week. I need variation or, I swear, I can spend all day "writing" and only manage to get 800 words in.

Carrie Beckort said...

Oh, an old camper would be cool! I'm hoping that one day is sooner rather than later for you!

Carrie Beckort said...

I like the desk attachment for the elliptical... I might have to check into that. With my new workout schedule being 6 days a week, I'm usually too exhausted to do any further exercise, but that might get me putting in a few more minutes if I had a desk attachment. I wish I could write at a cafe, but that setting would make me too distracted!

Brenda St John Brown said...

If you keep the elliptical setting on 1 or 2 and go slowly, it works and it usually doesn't feel like you've "exercised", per se. It's especially good when you feel like you're going to scream if you sit for one more minute staring at the screen. Or is that just me? :)

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