A Writing Shed! How awesome is that?

I was with my critique group on Wednesday and one of my writer friends started asking us what our writing space looks like. It was interesting, the varied responses she got, and I thought it might be fun to broaden the question. But first I went spelunking . . . put on my miners cap and explored a couple websites. I also remembered reading something about this in one of my favorite writer’s prompts books. So I dug out my copy of A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves and found where Reeves had asked the same question of famous writers.

She’d found that Amy Tan “surrounds herself with objects that carry with them a personal history—old books, bowls and boxes, chairs and benches from imperial China.”

And Kurt Vonnegut “uses his hardwood floor as a ‘desk’ where he spreads and piles and keeps things near at hand as he works from his lap while seated on a padded Danish walnut easy chair.”

And both Marcel Proust and James Joyce use their bed as a desk.

And that Annie Dillard “recommended a room with no view ‘so imagination can meet memory in the dark.’”

When I posed the same question to the internet look at the gem I found:

Roald Dahl's writing shed

At Re-nest are pictures of the writing spaces of Woolf, Thoreau, Thomas and Twain to name a few. Wouldn’t it be totally cool to have your own writing shed!

But alas, we all can’t have one of those can we? Me, I have what my husband has deemed “my wing” and by this he means that I’ve taken over the formal living and dining rooms. The living room has my soft, cozy chair that I can sprawl into for reading. It has my bookcase filled with the past, present, and future books I’ll read.

But the dining room is where my “space” is. It’s where my laptop sits waiting for me to plop my butt into the chair, dangle my digits over its keyboard and open the floodgates. Beside my laptop and watching over my creative process is Ganesh, Patron of letters during writing lessons, remover of obstacles, Lord of beginnings. Behind me are my binders of notes and handouts from the various writing conferences I’ve attended.

My space shares room with my scrapbooking hobby, whose paraphernalia is scattered here, there and everywhere. I see scrapbooking as an extension to the creative process. Sort of story telling in pictures!

Between my two passions, my “space” is somewhat of a mess. In the past I’ve tried to tidy up a bit but it seems to always revert back to this cluttered collection of chaos. I suppose that says something about me – maybe that my stories need to be surrounded by external noise in order to claw their way to the surface. Or that I need my surroundings to match the tremendous volume of “stuff” going on in my head. Or maybe it just means I’m a slob. What’s curious is that, as messy as I like my area, I like absolute stillness when I write. No music playing, no background noise from the T.V. Just quiet solitude to accompany my chaotic mess.

So what’s your space like? Is it neat and orderly? Everything in its place where you can find it at a moments notice? Do you have music playing somewhere in the background, a cat purring in your lap? Or … oh! Do you have a shed?!

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8 Responses to A Writing Shed! How awesome is that?

  1. The dining room table is my writing spot right now, but I sometimes sit on my bed or on the ottomans in the living room to give myself some variety. All I need is my laptop, so I’m pretty content anywhere there is quiet. And I have to move the laptop every time we eat, so it’s not a permanent spot by any means. I’d love to have a Roald Dahl shed. That has to be the most beautiful thing in the world! I love Annie Dillard’s plan of sitting in front of a blank wall (she’s one of my favorite writers and I trust her). I’d like to stare at a blank wall in a quaint shed, though….
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    • Linda says:

      Yep.. quiet is the most important ingredient for me too. And thanks for your link! I’ve been remiss on reading blogs these past few days and missed your re-post. I love your baby analogy. You have such a wonderful way of looking at life.

  2. Anastasia says:

    My shed … and my studio are one and the same. I work, when such I do, in my kitchen. The dinette area with desk and computer is ample for all writing. The center island is often where other art stuff gets born or licked into shape as baby bears were once thought to be. Of course I sometimes use an art professors lab room for painting as that takes up a lot of space…and I spread to fill any area available. And a poem will sometimes busy itself in my head while I walk the dogs or drive somewhere. But they are never put in print until the computer is turned on. And last night after too much brandy a poem insisted on its precipitate birth as I was trying to go to sleep… that doesn’t happen often… usually the genesis is lengthy and evolutionary with slow modifications in the kitchen… which is minimally used for food prep. But I do have to keep things reasonably neat of crumbs get in the computer and salad gets in my other art.

    • Linda says:

      And yet, lettuce art might be pretty tasty–albeit short lived. I can’t wait to read your new poem! I trust you hauled your cookies out of bed and fired up the computer before the words slipped away.

  3. My space is rather chaotic – and I do want to tame some of that chaos, lawd!

    BUt I have my ‘talismans’ around me, and special things, and lots and lots of books – lots and lots. And pens, and cups – one is a pottery cup that reads: “What Deadline?” :-D and the other has a bad word so I’ll just abbrv – “Write like a M . . .F. . .” (teehee). I have a ceremic coaster that reads: Words are the voice of the heart. There is music in here, too – lots of GMR’s cds and record albums – lots. ANd photos. And rocks. And things readers have sent to me.


    • Linda says:

      I love the idea of being surrounded by talismans! Sounds sort of like my Ganesha who stands over my keyboard!

      I have no rocks though. You lucky thang, you.

  4. Tina Wissner says:

    My space is my study.
    My study is my mess.
    My mess is my mind. But, somehow
    amazing ideas
    and they find their way
    to the mess
    on my desk
    in my study!

    What a fine mess I’m in.

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