Writing area chat – the space around us.

The other day, a friend who’s also a writer wrote in Facebook: “Today in writing news, I rearranged my room and made a reading corner.”

For those of us who know him, this is on par with his usual witty and droll FB fare. If we’re fellow writers, we also glance at his post and immediately get it in a serious sense. The smallest change to a writing room, area, or environment has everything to do with the craft of writing, and it can make a powerful difference. A change as small as placing your coffee mug on the right side instead of the left can impact your writing. A change of scenery, however small, can engender creative energy and inspiration.

I have a home-base office for writing where I work most of the time, but sometimes I take my laptop to the living room. Sometimes out to the patio. Sometimes to use our bed as a lounge chair during the day (though rarely).

Some writers need a constantly changing environment. Some need the background bustle of a coffee shop. Even then, there are changes… even if you sit at the same table at the same coffee shop at the same time every day, the environment is different each time because the people around you are different. There’re always the variables of how many people are around, where they’re sitting, how loudly they’re talking, the sounds of traffic on the street, etc.

When I read my friend’s post, I was inspired to share the latest change to my own writing environment, since I’ve shared my space as it’s changed at least twice in the last 11 months. This time, I removed the tablecloth from my writing table.


Writing table without tablecloth

Writing table without tablecloth


I don’t have a “before” pic, but imagine the same table draped in beige-gold fabric. The clutter effect changes dramatically.

In the last year, I’ve moved my writing set-up from one room to another (three room changes), and in my current writing space, the tablecloth on the table had changed three times. Now there’s no cloth, and it’s the best yet. I no longer have to straighten the cloth from where it’d bunched up beneath my keyboard, or readjust the laptop along with it. Tablecloths on glass tables slide. An elbow on the tablecloth will move it. The straightening-out is constant and distracting. The cloth becomes as much a focus as the writing.

Finally, you realize that you can just remove it.

End of month writing updates!

Whoa. This week went fast. That’s what happens when you spend half of it anticipating the next episode of American Horror Story: Roanoke.

That aside, I’ve got another writing progress post for you today, in brief. Things are going well!

The current picture is, I now have:

–27% of the project done, if its length is going to end up in the neighborhood I’m thinking. Take that for what it’s worth, like I am; honestly, I don’t think I’ll know what the book’s length will be until I write the last word. I didn’t get ahead much this week in terms of word count, but I got a lot done in terms of the non-writing writing work.

–Scrivener in my toolbox, once again. Since my last update here, I’ve figured out how Scrivener can serve me, and it’s doing a bang-up job.

–Tobacco Cedar candle scent in my writing area, because it’s fall (single double-digit temps!), and a masculine fragrance redolent of cooler weather gets me into the right mood for this project.

–Russian music I gleaned from Soundcloud and collected onto a playlist. This is a continuing process that I’m enjoying quite a bit. Again, it’s strategic.

–New décor in my writing area, also to the end of setting me in the right head-space: a). a small painting of Jesus (Orthodox), which I dug out of a box in the back of a closet – an ex-girlfriend of Callaghan’s brought it back to him from Romania years ago, and b) my The Americans poster that Callaghan ordered for me a while back, which I’ve finally framed.

–Speaking of writing area, I’m still using the dining room. (Dining room? What dining room?)


Desk detail.

Desk detail.


The table at which we used to eat continues to hold my laptop and its paraphernalia, along with odds and ends that get me through the day, such as eye drops, lip balm, nail clippers, and toothpicks. Two glasses of water, one for me, and one for Nenette… because if there is a cat, she will end up on your desk and try to drink your water no matter what, so you might as well preemptively provide her with her own. Callaghan is being wonderfully understanding about all of this. I dare say he’s even digging it.

Thus, I’m taking creeping steps toward completion. I don’t foresee that I’ll feel the need to engage in this level of atmosphere construction when I undertake my next project. This current work happens to be a period piece, so the props are helpful.

That’s it for now. Happy Friday!