Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Writers' rooms: Does your reality match the fantasy?

Fixer-upper for a writer, originally uploaded by scrollwork.
I was never one for public blogging. It sounds too close to public flogging. Coffee shop composing? Shudder. I could never write with someone possibly looking over my shoulder. I tried bookstore blogging once—the books and mags were much more interesting than whatever I had going on inside my head. I fled my laptop without finishing a single post.

Still, the idea of a writer's enclave strikes me as romantic. I snapped the picture of the turret-shaped structure above with that in mind. For all I know it could be a guard house. Or a parking attendant's station. Who knows if it really would spark inspiration? I might be too self-reflective: "Look at me, sitting in this perfect little spot, doesn't it look like I'm a bona fide writer?" 

Apparently, the scene in which writers create their scenes holds much fascination for people. The Guardian, a U.K. publication, featured a few of them. What they said about their spaces was as revealing as the photos. I had a "me too!" moment over these ones. (You can click on the writers' names to see the full interview and pictures.)

Anyone who works at home needs a refuge from the rest of the household, as far from the house as possible, and definitely without a phone. Mine is in one corner of the garden, overlooking a vegetable patch and young orchard, and I feel great happiness in it. I am hassled only by the cat - a catflap would reduce the inconvenience.

It doesn't look very tidy, but from childhood I have loved provisionality in a room, something thrown together…

I have a fair assortment of pictures and cards, too. They help engender words.

I use Jstor and Google constantly, so that sitting here, surrounded by my knick-knacks and fetish objects, I am both at peace and fully connected to the world outside. I don't mind being on my own in this little world for hours on end.

After glimpsing their spots, I was shamed into putting a token amount of effort into my own spot.
I noticed most of these writers had books nearby. My desk faced a blank wall in the dining room. I don't like stockpiling books or CDs. I borrow them from the library and promptly usher them out. I never re-read nor re-watch anything, so owning them would be pointless. But we are not without a bookworm in the house. The hubby's secret packrat tendencies are evident in the piles of books that sit at his desk and clutter the couch. We have a presentable enough bookcase in the living room, which has the added photogenic feature of being adjacent to a window. Voila! Instant blog photo opp and YouTube opp. 

Drool away...and then tell me in the comments section what your creative space looks like, if and how you want to change it.


  1. A friend who lives near by has granted me use of his "party house" - a full glass 400 sq ft. area with a view of the 22km lake and a snow caped volcano. I actually get a ton of work done there.

  2. I have a friend like that! No, wait, mine's imaginary. : (
    Lucky you, Jesse! You've got expat living figured out.

  3. Love the photos of other writers working spaces. Makes them human.

  4. Doesn't it though? And I thought everyone got that. But I got a comment on another site along the lines of, "Why would I care what someone else thinks...Those places are for me to work, not for someone else to gawk at. It's the product that I put out that is for others to see." Must be a guy thing?

  5. I have always wanted a room of my own where I can simply get lost in my own world of words. Someday, someday.

  6. Wendy, make it someday soon, and send me a picture of it!