If I could design a perfect writing space it would be a large table with my computer on it, my microwave, a little refridgerator, the coffeepot, the TV within eye range and a master volume control so that I could turn down the volume and just nod whenever anyone is talking to me or anything is talking AT me while I'm trying to think. Yummy snacks would be on a shelf within reach and my chair would be supremely comfy. Every book I needed to consult would be at my fingertips and the drafts and papers I just finished would be in order so that I could find them immediately before the thought passed.

What is your perfect writing space?

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This is an interesting question. It seems to vary for me. (Hmmm? and so does my creative output?) At one time, for a long time, it was my car. I just took the laptop, plugged it into the old lighter, drove to the nearest park, or parked outside the closest donut shop, and typed away. ... Currently, it's a small windowless room surrounded by books, maps, and pictures associated with the WIP. Hmmm? I guess it's kind of like the writer under the stairs. I think I just scared myself. ... But I'm moving, so I haven't found that new spot in the new place, and I'm not even sure it will be there. Although making the home front an office does seem to be the current trend for me. ... Cafes are hit and miss. Mostly because of screaming children, and once you go to a place long enough, you become a regular and other cafe-flies sooner or later think they can walk up, sit down, and start talking about their grandkids, or why they can't have butter any more. Yada yada yada.

Perfect is soft music in the background, coffee at hand, something in the nature of a sweet roll or a chocolate bar. This can be had at home or at a coffee shop. I can work just about anywhere I can plug in my Mac. The comfort zone for writing, having a space is extremely important. It is part of one's schedule. I often just work at home and to spell myself do chores and exercise around the writing. But this reduces the amount of pages I can do in a day, so I also often seek out the coffee shop where I can't do laundry, dishes, cleaning up after the dog and other things that need be done. I can get a great deal more accomplished in a day if I am away from the desk at home. Just as important as a comfort zone to work in is setting time aside to write, sticking to a schedule. Deciding how many pages fulfills you in a given amount of time, or how much time is enough for you. Every author has his or her own method on this. Some can be happy with three pages a day; myself, I need at least a scene or a chapter to finish before I am finished, kaput.

Rob Walker
I'd settle for an eight hour day at the local coffee shop, but that's just me.

although my husband gave me a great little office upstairs, I like to work in the kitchen. it's the heart of the house--
I'm on top of the coffee maker, can keep an eye on the dogs and know when someone's at the door.
Of course it only works if I'm alone in the house.
If not, then I do haul myself up the stairs.
Coffee shop sounds great.
but for me, it would have to be devoid of customers.
I wouldn't mind a nice waiter coming over to give me refills of coffee and perhaps some nice pie!
I can't write in public. I need a quiet place with no distractions. I have a corner in my shack with an office chair in front of a built in desk that my pc, printer and monitor sit on. It's a bit grubby, but so is my shack so it's okay. I have a chronic back problem that kicks in sometimes so I can't always sit in the chair for long periods of time so about six months ago I broke down and went to the 2nd hand store and bought a recliner. It is in the other corner of my shack. I plug in the laptop and work there sometimes. No TV, no radio, internet only when I have to look up something that I should have already looked up.

The essentials for me are coffee, and a bag of good tobacco within reach.

The only drawback to the recliner is the three cats that think recliner time is play time, so I occasionally have to compete with them for use of the keyboard.
I'd love a small, self-contained cabin (about 8 by 12 feet) out in my back yard, which has a view of a nearby lake. Just the bare essentials - a computer desk, comfy chair, etc. Annie Dillard has a good description in her book on the writing life.

Right now I have a minimally adequate office on the second floor of my little house, but my writing has to share space with other work. The major disadvantage, though, is that it also serves as the bedroom - and litter box room - for my cats, Lunesta and Beep. And as I write, the TV is booming up from the bedroom below as my husband listens to the 11pm news. The house needs some major changes to rectify these problems.

Got to sign off. Lunesta is telling me it's time for bed - and her bedtime snack - by meowing, writhing around on my desk and knocking the mouse off its pad.
I like to leave myself open to the narrative possibilities in the real world. I'll either hang out at a quaint little cigar bar in Ybor City or I'll take a ride to Tampa International airport and listen in on other people's lives and conversations. You'd be surprised what people say when they think no one cares.
Careful Mari -- it sounds like your eating may get in the way of your writing, LOL. I personally need to get up from time to time, so I leave the kitchen in the kitchen, so's I can stretch when I need to go get coffee or a roll. The dream of having everything at your fingertips can have ill effects on both your legs (blood clots at my age) and on your writing if you fingers are not on the keys. Just a word of warning. If everything you wish is within your grasp, well it will impact your work habits one way or the other.

Rob Walker
blogged on Selling an Idea at Acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com today
Excellent advice, Rob. I avoid keeping food in my office for just this reason - although I've been known to keep a little bag of luxury chocolates (the caramel-filled dark chocolate squares are my favorite, though I'm blanking on the brand.) Since each one is individually and maddeningly wrapped, it cuts down on automatic snacking.
LOL. My actual writing space isn't very far off from my optimum one. I live in a studio apartment with an ADD husband and a hyperactive Maine Coon cat. It's one room and we all pace sometimes. The kitchen is six steps away from my desk. The up side? When I'm not trying to ignore my sweet man chattering about operating systems, or the cat yowling for attention, or the TV going, or my sweet man singing at the top of his lungs along with Freddie and the Dreamers to UTube on the computer, I can read my manuscripts out loud to him and get feedback. No matter what he is doing, he always stops to listen. Never mind, I already HAVE my best writing space. :-)
It's like what Trippple A says about driving across country. You need to take frequemt breaks, stretch, and guess what, it even helps with the subconsicous and gets you back on track of the storyline when you go off and do some gardening, hosing down the dog, even a shower for oneself. When you are working on a story, often times, the moment you relax (not necessarily with food), you are subconsciously working out a problem and not even knowing you're onto it's solution. Besides, despite what some folks say, and I have been taken to task by none other than Laura Lippman on this issue, writing can take its toll on one's health. I recently read of not one but three bloggers who died of complications of blogging! That's right. They were addicted to nonstop blogging. The body will rebel. I'd posted once that writing is in the top ten or so of professions that could cause serious health issues and even death, anywhere from stress disorders to blood clots--which I myself almost died of. This is not to even mention the huge emotional toll all scribes go through when hitting their stride, due to the depth of emotion invested in scene after scene. I chase horrid killers year after year, it is going to take its toll, and on some level I chase them as surely as a real cop or detective or PI on a case--at the emotional level. You do stare long enough into the pit and the abyss, you can get too close, and you can end up like Wiliam Styron or worse Hemmingway! Not that I am either gentleman but both suffered terriblly with an illness called depression. Did their writing about the human condtion help or hinder that condition? Any shrinks out there?

www.robertwalkerbooks.com - for Dead On
Whenever I get truely "stuck" I go for a brisk walk. Then sit at the computer desk and plow through.


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