A Note From Tina: I just spent part of my weekend organizing my office space – again. You see, I used to have a nice office, but over the years it turned into part office/part catch all for the entire family. Eventually, I took to moving my laptop around the house, not only because I liked the mobility and freedom of my laptop, but also because I couldn’t focus in my cluttered office anymore. I am happy to say that it’s organized again, but the experience reminded me of an article of mine that appeared over at CBD a few years ago. I thought I would post it here, just in case any of you need a little inspiration and to remind you writers not to wait until you get the perfect writing space. Just write anyway.
Finding The Perfect Writing Space
by Tina Ann Forkner
On most mornings after the sun has come up, I undock my laptop from its station and move into my living room where the sun pours through an East facing window. In Spring I can hear birds chattering from an evergreen tree off the back deck and with the growing warmth of the season I somehow feel more energized to write than when I’m cooped up in my office.
I always wanted to have a work space dedicated to my writing and in 2006, the year I received my first book contract from Waterbrook Press, my husband gave me an office. I still love it. Complete with a small desk, a cushy chair, and a new coat of paint it is the perfect office, so then why do I end up writing in the living room almost every day?
After years of dreaming about having solitude and a private space for writing, I now find myself looking for more sound, light, and open space to write in. I may love having my own office, but sometimes I need to get out of it in order to really free my writer’s mind. This greatly amuses my husband when he finds me lounging in the sunny living room with my laptop, but it really shouldn’t surprise anyone.
I never had a real office in the past, so I always just did what I needed to do in order to find time and space for the act of writing. Most other writers do the same if they really want badly enough to write. The skill of being able to write anywhere is really important; especially for writers who don’t have offices, which is a pretty standard situation in the beginning.
I’ve heard many stories from aspiring writers saying they have no time or space for writing. Don’t let that be your excuse. Real writers will write wherever they can and whenever they can. Sure, when we juggle families, jobs and other priorities it can be difficult to find that time, but find it. Get up early or stay up late, make coffee and start writing. No space? A quiet living room while the rest of the world is sleeping makes one of the best offices I know of.
Coffee shops are good offices too. When I was a college student, back when quaint coffee shops were more prolific than the Starbucks chains we have now, I wrote amidst the clinks of ceramic coffee cups (before the rise of the to-go cup). I even wrote in a notebook because those were the days before most average people could afford laptops – another thing you do not need to have in order to write.
I have heard of more than one writer who borrows the church library to write in and I know of another who swears by her kitchen as an office. With her kids crawling around her feet she writes for several short spurts throughout the day. Maybe she would prefer to have an office, but with toddlers constantly needing her attention, such a luxury would be pointless. She finds a place and time because she wants to write.
So stop focusing on all those pesky little details and start writing your book. Sure, it’s nice to have an office, free time and a thousand other tools of the trade, but you don’t need them.
Next time you find ten, twenty or thirty free minutes go out on your deck, drive over to the coffee shop, put on your iPod and crank up the music, or whatever you need to do to find that space inside of you that is your writing office.
And even if you already have a real writing office, try getting out of it from time to time. Inspiration might be waiting as close as your own living room.
Where is your “office?” Where do you feel the most inspired? What is your writing space like?