A Space of My Own
It's been a while! I haven't had a lot to say, but the world is a crazy place right now, so I've dealt the best way I know how--by channeling my energy into creative projects, both my children's and my own. I've managed to squeeze in a few words in my new writing space, and thought maybe it might inspire you to carve a space for yourself too.
Creative writing spaces are as old as the craft of writing itself. Some of the greatest authors had some interesting places to draft their finest works.
1. British novelist Charles Dickens was so attached to his Victorian style mahogany writing desk that he sometimes had it shipped to travel with him so he could work on the road. Now that’s dedication!
2. Stephen King started out as an English teacher living in a trailer. He used a makeshift desk wedged in between his washing machine and dryer and would often lock himself in the tiny room for hours and write.
3. E.B. White wrote in his living room with his entire family running around. His quote is one of my favorites. “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work, will die without putting a word on paper.”
For years I wrote in places that lacked inspiration. This was mainly due to the fact that my full-time job and two small children didn’t allot much time to write, let alone a bougie studio to scribble down my thoughts. My creative space was limited to dull hotel rooms, my saggy leather sofa, or the kitchen counter when it wasn’t cluttered with kid junk. And, most notably, my bedroom closet.
Yes, you read that correctly—my closet.
Do we have an office in our home? Sure. But, if you think my kids have junk, you should see my husband’s. This is Western Pennsylvania, and people do hang their hunting conquests on the wall. But even though my writing trends on the darker side, I can’t get into my author groove with his latest hunting trophy lurking behind me. It’s like my anti-Feng Shui. Not to mention I have to move his technology just to set mine down.
There wasn’t much point in complaining about any of this, because in our world of investments, my scribbling didn’t rank. Then, in October (2019), after years of submitting manuscripts and working with multiple literary agents, my current amazing agent, Ella Marie Shupe, sold my domestic thriller, Sweet Water, to Liz Pearsons, Senior Editor at Thomas & Mercer. This deal came with an advance, and when I asked my husband if we could transform my walk-in closet into a walk-in/writing nook, he said—YES.
Of course he did. Because even though there wasn’t much point in complaining, I sometimes did. I’d walk around the house clutching my MacBook Air and jokingly say, “I’m an author without a desk.”
My space includes a coffee bar, complete with Keurig coffee machine, desk and chair, so I can creep into my nook early in the morning and get in some words, .
And did I mention how much I love my California closet system? Hello shoes...nice to see you now that you’re not in a disorganized heap on the floor. I’m excited for what the future brings with both my new space and my new publisher.
We may not have extra time or energy to be creative at the moment with all the terribleness in the world, but a space can be designed, an idea started—a seed planted. Like E.B. White said, if we wait for the perfect time, we’ll be waiting forever!
“You may not always write well, but you can edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”
~ Jodi Picoult
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Author of women's fiction and domestic thrillers