There are so many different aspects to writing. The first one that comes to my mind is deciding what tense to use. There’s another important aspect, especially for me – the writing space. Sadly, I don’t have a writing lair, even though it’s something I crave. Come on, what writer doesn’t want a hole-in-the-wall space to call his or her own?
I’ve done 90% of my writing at my grandmother’s house. She has dementia, so when I looked after her, I would spend my time writing, in between cooking and reading poetry to her. Here are the essentials for my writing “space”:
A white desk. That’s old. And falling apart. By falling apart, I mean that the cabinet won’t shut anymore, and it’s not because the contents are spilling forth. The drawer has completely fallen out. I know, because it landed on my foot. Now one side of the drawer is cracked. It’s still lying on the floor so I can use it to hold pens.
A broken printer. It sits atop the desk in the corner. I can’t remember the last time it worked. The roller-thing won’t grab the paper and when you try to jam the sheets in, they get stuck, or miss paragraphs. How awesome!
A postage scale. I use it to know how full to stuff my pen pal letters.
A clock. It hangs by a piece of yellow yarn from the top of the desk. Sometimes the clock is right; other times, it jumps ahead five minutes.
Tissues. I have horrible allergies and typing will usually stir dust. I type a few sentences. Achoo! I type a few more. Achoo!
Papers. These consist of pen pals letters, notebooks, and photographs. I love to look at the people I love when I’m writing. It comes from how my dog, Amy, would lay at my feet whenever I typed. All of my early stories will be dedicated to her, because she got to hear me read them aloud. She offered moral support. Not once did she tell me I couldn’t succeed.
Pictures. If I find a picture that inspires me, or makes me think of one of the manuscripts, I’ll print it out and keep it handy. You never know when you need an extra boost of inspiration.
Jewelry. Lots and lots of jewelry. When I come home from work, I go right to the desk, and as I start writing, I get more and more comfortable, which means more and more comes off. Bracelets, earrings, necklaces, headbands…they make a nice little pile by the keyboard. Some clothes come off too, but those go on the floor, and don’t worry, I’m alone when I type.
Computer. I do my best writing on a computer. If I try to hand write my stories, I can’t get the words out fast enough. Plus, if I’m rushing, my handwriting is worse than atrocious. The computer here, at my grandmother’s, is at least 10 years old and still has dialup because anything high speed is either unavailable or super expensive.
To help paint the picture in your mind, I should add some descriptions of the room I’m in. I love private spaces where no one can interrupt me. Instead, this computer is in the living room. To the left, I have the front door. People walking on the sidewalk catch my attention through the glass. To the right, I have the back door (within touching distance if I reach for it). That, luckily, isn’t so see-through. That’s because I have a cardboard cutout of a skeleton and one of a life-size pirate hanging over the window.
The attic is above. Sometimes, I can hear mice scurrying by, or the harder sounds of squirrel feet. I love animals, so it’s not a freak-out sort of sound.