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Where I Write
TLDR: The better question is, where don't I write?
Most of my writing is done in my home office. It’s where most of my books live, so I’m surrounded by the words of others as I craft my own. My desk is tucked by the window so I can gaze outside, dramatically and pensively, when necessary. I moved my favorite reading chair and a small ottoman that fits perfectly under the desk into the office when I was doing both jobs at home during the height of the pandemic, and they’ve been there ever since. There are notepads and pens and sticky tabs galore, and at least one blanket and/or hoodie is typically draped over the back of the chair. There is ample room on the desk for a cup of coffee or tea or whatever inspirational drink I’m having. It’s usually messy and always cozy.
If I measure my writing only in the hours set aside to do it, this is where I am for most of that time. Most of the drafting and editing and clicking of “publish” or “schedule” happens at my desk at home.
But writing involves so much more, and it can happen anywhere.
The first time I lived alone, I took great delight in having a designated writing space, and I was very intentional about doing all my writing there. It worked beautifully because it was also the first time I had set aside specific time to write. It was helpful to have a physical space that marked a clear boundary between writing time and not-writing time. I suspect that this little nook played a large role in my learning to prioritize my writing life, and I’m so grateful to have had the privilege of doing so. It helped me see myself as a writer.
Nowadays, I don’t often question my commitment to the writing life. I struggle less with identifying and introducing myself as a writer. Writing bleeds into almost every aspect of my life now, so I don’t really need a clear distinction between Writing Me and Regular Me anymore.
Nowadays, I write in a lot of places.
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I keep a traditional journal that I use a few times a week, but I also keep several journals that are set aside specifically for creative projects. I carry one in my purse in case I need to jot down notes on new ideas or scenes to flush out later. If I don’t have it with me (or if I’m in a meeting where it would be awkward to pull it out of my bag), I use whatever scrap of paper is closest so that I don’t forget how I want to work out the kinks of the awkward phrasing in a conversation two of my characters are having. Fishbowl, one of my novels in progress, has its own journal that is part story plotting, part choose-your-own-adventure dialogue diagrams (what would happen if Bob said this? Would Jenny then say this, or would it make her mad? What if she started the conversation instead? What if they were both distracted because a funny dog walked by?), and part scraps of paper with ingredient lists on the back taped inside because I toppled down one of those rabbit holes while I was buying groceries.
When I’m drafting blog posts or pieces for my copywriting job, I usually do so on Google Drive. It’s convenient because I can use it anywhere I have my phone, which is most places. One might argue that it would also be a great substitute for all those little scraps of paper I end up jamming into pockets and bags and using as bookmarks. But those scraps might make their way into an art project someday. Also, I just like them. It makes me happy to see them pile up in their spot on my desk. Leave me a bit of my romance.
In the early stages of my writing life, it made sense to have one place that was just for writing, but now I don’t mind if the edges blur a little. Having more places to write ultimately means having more moments to do so, and I like the way that’s working.
Where do you write?