I recently read a blog post that talked about writing space. I’d never really put much thought into where I did my writing until that post. I guess I just choose what feels most comfortable to me at the time that I choose to write, and tonight it seems I’ve chosen to sit next to a 44′ picture window while it thunderstorms out. If any of you have ever seen a thunderstorm from the mid-west part of America, you’ll know what vibes are around right now. For those who don’t know about the thunderstorms in the mid-west, you need to know that it’s constant lightning. I don’t mind thunder, I actually enjoy it. So what did I do when I heart the first roll of thunder? I opened up my document program and began typing, almost as if that was the only time that I could write. I suppose, I’ve found the best writing space for me.
Of course, I can’t have my thunderstorms all the time (though, according to family, there have been more thunderstorms here than there usually are on average). Where do I choose to write then, when the thunder just isn’t on my side? Well, the couch is usually the first spot, nestled next to one or two of the cats with a latte or a cup of tea. I like it to be quiet when I write, but sometimes I actually put on Mozart or dubstep, depending on my mood. And I always listen to it with headphones, for some reason the noise that comes from my speakers just irritates me when I’m writing. And I don’t always use my laptop for writing, sometimes I need to put pen to paper, and boy do I have quite the collection of pens. Two for each mood I suppose. Got the fine tips, the medium tips, free ink, gel pens, and felt tip pens, all with different grippies and weights, each one is a pleasant color and shape. My notebooks are thick, non spiral, college ruled. Some of them don’t even have lined paper, which I usually use when writing with my fountain pens. I have a lap desk, one of those little cushion things that you rest on your lap and it allows you to have a hard surface to write on.
When do I write the best though? Believe it or not, it’s not when I’m next to a violent thunderstorm or while I’m sipping the Earl Grey, it’s actually when I’m out and about. Back in NY I used to have to wait at the local grocery store before my shift at work. I had to wait because my boyfriend worked a few hours before me and my job was too far away to be able to walk to. I had invested in a Thinkpad, which I swore would be used to further my writing (and so far it has) and I purchased a nice laptop bag for it. I began to settle into a routine. My boyfriend drops me off at the grocery store, I wander around looking for something to quench my thirst (usually a pomegranate drink), I buy a slice of pizza or pack of sushi then I proceed to sit at an empty booth in the cafe and set up my laptop. This was during the busiest part of the day, when people are transitioning between their lunch breaks and the rest of their shift, or just getting off of their shift and stopping in for lunch. Sometimes I would even see people conduct small meetings at one of the round tables. I guess it’s convenient, there’s plenty of food and drinks, and you can sit there for as long as you like and just keep refilling your soda cup. For some reason, this is where I did my best writing.
At the time that I began doing this, I was just finishing up a round of NaNoWriMo and was jumping into the editing portion of it. I was always in the zone during this time and I would over shoot my word count, or re write a portion of the NaNo and create so much flow that I then had to either edit, delete or create new chapters to make it all fit. It wasn’t the food or the pomegranate drinks that kept me in the game, it was the hustle and bustle. Something about the environment, about being around people who were focused, kept me focused that much more. And maybe a little was my anxiety too, I didn’t want to be bothered by anybody that might want to talk, so I would put on the headphones and create my own space at that booth. The vague smell of smoked chicken and ribs, coffee and pizza dough helped to comfort me as well. I happen to like food, especially pizza, smoked meat and coffee. Being surrounded by my comfort foods helped quite a bit, and I bet if there was a candle to make my house smell like those three, I might buy just one to see if it was worth it. I can’t keep my house smelling like that all the time, it’s expensive to smoke meat all the time. So the post I saw today got me thinking. What do other people do to create their own writing space? Do you have a special place you like to go, or sit? Or a special snack to fuel your brain as it hatches ideas? Perhaps a certain candle you light? I’d love to hear about your writing ‘ritual’.