Monday, September 01, 2008

Creating a Work Space

We are going to be moving into a new home in a couple of weeks and I get to have my own study for the first time in six years. The plan is to have my library and writings things all together in one place. So, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how I want things set up and how I want the study to be functional and help me get the most out of my writing time. I know it’s going to be better because I can shut my door and be alone to write. No more distractions, except for the fact that the study is just off the living room. But that shouldn’t be too big of a problem since I do most of my writing after everyone has gone to bed.

I came across part of an article by Annie Dillard. The article actually came from her book The Writing Life. I’m going to buy the book because it sounds like something every writer needs to read. In this article, Dillard talks about her study (at the time) - a pine shed. She says, “The study affords ample room for one. One who is supposed to be writing books. You can read in the space of a coffin, and you can write in the space of a toolshed meant for mowers and spades.” Interesting that the study in my old house, until we turned it into a room for the kids, wasn’t much bigger than a toolshed. Then again, neither was the house. Anyway, Dillard goes on to say, “One wants a room with no view, so imagination can meet memory in the dark. When I furnished this study seven years ago, I pushed the long desk against a blank wall, so I could not see from either window.”

While my new study is much bigger than a toolshed, I can see some of the points Dillard is making. My desk will face the wall, so I have fewer distractions. I may hang some of my published works in front of me for motivation and moral supports. Still, I want to be surrounded by books, to be inspired by those who have traveled this road before me. If I need to reference something, or review how a certain author tackled a plot issue, I can just walk over and pluck the book from the shelf. If things go as planned, I will have two desks in the study - one for the computer and one for the writing. I’m excited about this new workspace that is away from the normal traffic of the house where I can have papers and notes all over as I work toward finishing my works. Hopefully, I’ll be able to complete Alter of Death over the next two months, then move into something different and fresh for the National Novel Writing Month frenzy.

So, what is your workspace like? What are some of the things you like to have around you?
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