Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Creating a Writing Space: An Infestation of Earworms

by Susan

It's all about creating a space for your writing.

My husband's avocation is music. It brings him joy, but it makes him a walking noise machine. Just as a good writer writes often, a good musician practices frequently. Incessantly, to be accurate. Thought-disrupting, poem-wrecking, banging on the keyboards, so much harmonica I think I'm in a black and white prison movie practice.

He's got good reasonably good taste in music, but every set list has a clunker or two that he still needs to practice... repeatedly. Hence, the problem of earworms. Mercifully, I have three solutions:

Woman Cave #1: The cabin
This is the garden shed my husband renovated. He added windows, wired up the electric, hung drywall and damn near cut off his left index finger on a table saw building the screen door. Not only did we end up in the emergency room, but he had to play a bass gig with only three useful fingers on his fret hand.

It's hot in the summer, cold in the winter, but quiet and peaceful, filled with things that make me happy and perfect to generate ideas with pen and notebook.

Woman Cave #2: The office
Doubles as a guest room, but we're recluses so we rarely have that issue. This is the less creative, more down-to-business place to get on the laptop and to revise and finish up pieces.

Option #3 because I really like my husband: Headphones
At some point, in the interest of remaining married, I need to spend some time in his presence. Alas, he spends his downtime watching old movies. Noise machine.

The solution is headphones, available at any hardware store. He can watch film noir, and I can write in the same room with him..

We have a right to a writing space
On a writing retreat, author Linda Hasselstrom told me that we have the right to our own space for writing. It is part of our work. We need a spot to go devoted to words. Even if it's a card table in the laundry room, we want, and should have, a place dedicated to word work.

Where is your writing space? 
Send a picture to writingwyoming@gmail.com!


  1. I have an office space in my home, but it's not really set up the way I want it yet. So I prefer to sit in the living room and write. I also like going to the library or to Barnes & Noble for a change of pace.

    1. Sometimes that change of venue -- getting out to the library or a coffee shop -- is just what I need, to. I love sitting in the windows of the third floor at the library here.

  2. Ah, Susan. How in the world do you keep your shed/writing space from blowing away in the ever-present Cheyenne wind? Perhaps it’s freighted with the thoughts in your writing? Have you considered sending Mike out there with his music? ;-))

    Here's my writing space. [It seems I can’t add a picture here for some reason so you’ll have to imagine it.] It's in the basement with only a sliver of a window on the west and north sides, so almost no natural light. What you can't see is the lock on the door to the basement--can only be opened by Kathy from the outside --and the slot in the door to pass trays of food down to me.

    The desk is bare because my MacBook Air is on holiday at the Apple repair place, getting a new battery. I love the Air because my secondary writing space, in the warmer months, of course, is on our patio where I can see sky and trees and hear birds and crickets and cicadas and the damned lawn service mowers and blowers. And thrown in lately is the sound of concrete saws and their attendant dust.

    1. Art - got your photo by email. Will post it later this week. Looks wonderful. Sounds like you take pretty seriously the locking-yourself-in-your-office thing. I wouldn't pick a fight with Kathy. She might not let you out!

      The shed is sheltered in a corner of the privacy fence, so it shouldn't blow away. The roof takes a beating in hailstorms, though.

  3. Hmm... I need to work on this. I tend to write wherever I am when inspiration strikes before I forget what I wanted to write.

    1. Excellent strategy. I need to start keeping a small notebook in my purse for just such a thing. No need to wait to retreat into a writer's cave if the mood hits you!


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