Sunday, March 15, 2009

Where You Write From

I am giving some serious thought to the amount of time I get for writing (very, very little) and the place where I write (very, very crowded). It's not like I don't have the same amount of time as everyone else; I just have two part time teaching jobs that require a lot of prep, and my kids were raised NOT to watch tv, so they call me every two minutes to talk to me or show me what weird thing the cats are doing. I probably can't quit one of my jobs unless I get a super juicy contract, but I need to stop writing in a corner of my bedroom where there is no view and where the cats bite the papers that come out of the printer. I also need to stop writing run on sentences. Soon.

My favorite authors have always been the Brontes, and the picture above is of their house. Now, I mean really, talk about atmosphere. That's an amazing place.

And look at how you approach Wordsworth's place:

And the spare beauty of Emily Dickinson's writing room:

I realize, all too well, that I am not exactly in the same league as these folks, but I really need to find a better spot to work in.

Maybe it doesn't matter; but I'm starting to think it does. Where do you guys write? Do you have any rules in your house about the phone or the doorbell or questions? (Like this one I just got while typing this, "MOOOOMMMMM!!! I found a place where they pierce septums. Can we just go look at it? Later? MOOOOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!!! Why aren't you answering me?") And does your space matter to how well you write? Can you write anywhere? Or do you need to compose in that one spot? And how do you get sustained silence?


Mary Witzl said...

I've definitely got the same problem. There is something about the sight of me sitting and writing that brings out my kids' desire to communicate with me. They can sit sullen and closemouthed for hours, but the minute I sit down at the computer with a cup of coffee and the promise of some free time, they find all sorts of things they want to talk about. (Maybe we should have let our kids watch t.v. after all...?)

Anne Spollen said...

My kids don't get when they show me a feature they just discovered on the phone that I lose my train of thought. In fact, the train becomes a cloud and drifts far away. When I do tell them to watch tv, they constantly call me in to see how weird/funny/interesting what they're watching is.

I think if I had a place somewhere in the house reserved for writing, it would help.

adrienne said...

I have two kids hovering right this minute :)
Maybe it's why I write picture books? Sometimes I'm writing in my head when I walk the dog (and hope I'll remember it when I get home).

Tabitha said...

I had the same problem last year. My writing space was a corner of the living room, and my kids would hop onto the sofa and crawl right over me. They had no concept of "mommy's writing" and barged right into my brain. :)

Then we moved, and I made a point to find dedicated writing space. I also made sure my kids knew that my writing space is off limits, and that I'm busy when I'm sitting there. It has helped tremendously, and now if they really want to talk to me they will quietly ask. It's a wonderful thing. :)

Hardygirl said...

I have a great spot (a cozy little office/studio on the back of our garage) but the problem is--the children know where to find me!!!

My best work happens when my husband is out of town and I pull all-nighters. Of course, I spend the next five days walking around like the undead with toothpicks holding up my eyelids.


Anne Spollen said...

It sounds like the physical space makes a difference. I've tried spending seventeen hours with them, then just peeking at the manuscript for fifteen minutes and it's like: There's MOM! And we haven't seen her for what, five minutes now? Better hurry.