Write on, Wednesday: Setting up Shop

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By Leslie Lindsay

My critique partner and I were talking recently about where we  write the best.  She says, “I think I write best at home, at my dining room table…at night.”  And I think, “Ew.  That’s the last place I would want to write.”  If you are lucky enough to have your own office–then great!  If you aren’t then read ahead.  This post is all about setting up your ideal workspace.  (for the record–I’m a coffee shop writer from 10am-4pm–at least those are my peak hours, I’m known to write later in the night, too…but not because I like to). 

Do you like the idea of working from home?  Think you can just plop right down at your designated space at crank out a masterpiece?  Well, you may be right.  As for me–not a chance.  As a busy mom of two school-aged daughters I find that there is just too much to be done around the house.  “Oh, I’ll just drop a load of wash into the machine….” and then I see something else that needs to get done.  The dishwasher needs to be unloaded, for example–what the hey! And now suddenly, 20 minutes is gone.  And that’s without the kids home.  Now imagine they are there, asking 108 questions.  See where I am going (crazy).  I do my best to reserve home for househould stuff only and relaxing with my family.  Misc Feb-March 2013 013(another rendition of my office by soon-t0-be 8yo)

But I am writing this from home.  Go figure.

Most successful, in-the-zone writing happens for me while I am at my favorite coffee shop.  I go for the duration–we’re talking 7-8 hour days in which I set up shop and literally camp out at Caribou Coffee.  I love the people there–the friendliness–the overall atmosphere (no, this is not an advertisement for Caribou).  The folks there have grown to be like family for me.  They know me, and I know them.  When I roll into the parking lot, I think, “Ahh…I am home.”  Plus, I’ve heard that there is something about ambient noise that helps folks be more creative…for me, it’s true.  Silence is stifling. 

Perhaps you fall somewhere between the two camps–write at home, write away.  If that’s the case, then writing is very portable.  You just have to find your groove.  In fact, I do have home office.  I’m rarely in it.  Here’s a my daughter -see above) the-designer created for me, “Mommy at work.”  (that’s our fat, senior basset hound, Sally Mae at my feet)Misc Feb-March 2013 012

Okay–so what do you need to be a writer?

  • A brain is helpful, but not always mandatory
  • A notebook and pen which you keep with you at all times (I have several–one in the car, one in my purse, and one in my laptop bag).  You never know when you’ll be inspired (watching your kids at play, listening to the morning talk show, a song on the radio–of course, if you are taking notes in your car, wait till you are in a parking lot, or at least a stoplight). 
  • A laptop.  Now a days you can find them pretty cheaply.  Get one.  Use it.  Keep your files clean and up-to-date.
  • When you first start writing, you’ll want every book under the sun about the craft.  Don’t give into your Amazon temptation…those books are great after you’ve made some serious progress in just getting your ideas down. 
  • The drive and desire to write daily.  I’m not kidding.  You have to do it every day whether you want to, or not.  Keeping a daily blog helped me way back in 2009 when I decided to seriously start writing.  My word count then: at least 500 daily.  Now–heck if I know–I’m betting 2,000!! 
  • Those are the basics.  Next week, we’ll cover things like tough skin, little to no money, and the like.  (sounds like so much fun, doesn’t it?!) 

So, what are you waiting for…write on, Wedneday!!

For more information on setting up your space, see Writer Mama Christina Katz’s page http://christinakatz.com/create-a-joyful-workspace-where-your-writing-can-blossom/

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