Head Space   5 comments

Before I get started, I suggest you go over and check out what PJ Fiala has posted on her website. This is also a good way to follow the hop until I get home and can post the actual link.


When I first started writing, it was in a spiral-bound steno notebook, then computers came in and I started writing at a rolltop desk that for many years lived in the livingroom, but then we moved it to the family room when the kids became less distracting. I gave up my writing desk a couple of years ago. The rolltop desk became a multi-use space for (mostly) sewing. My husband studies technical manuals on it and our son occasionally does homework there. The desktop computer now lives in our son’s room and I write on the laptop these days, which gives me a great deal of flexible function.

I can join the family in the living room to write while watching television. Yes, I can do both, sometimes better than when I try to write as a singular focus. I can go out to the deck and write in the sun or to the kitchen table where I can jot things down between cooking procedures. I can take it to Barnes & Noble which has a great reading pit around a gas fireplace or to the bleachers at the pool where my son swims for the highschool team. I can write in the bedroom where it’s quiet and the dog can curl up by my feet.

Sometimes I go back to the desk because it’s the right mood. At some point, I print out my latest WIP (work in progress, for non–writers), put it in a binder and sit down to edit/proof-read. That’s when the desk feels right. The photo on the left is what it looks like when it’s cleaned up. The typewriter belonged to my mother and I used it all through college. It still works when I can find ribbons for it. Right now it is sitting on the floor beside the desk because my husband is studying continuing education for his electrical license. The desk itself is in a construction zone because that’s what we do with our winters in our house, we find new and unique ways to rearrange walls rather than furniture.

My most common writing space nowadays is the bedroom where I can up put my feet, play music, and keep a huge mug of tea or coffee or jug of water on the night stand. Sometimes when I’m writing Transformation Project, I like to listen to talk radio because it’s a great source of ideas for how the United States might end. My dad’s ancient Telefunken sits on top of my husband’s highboy for that purpose. It’s where I listen to Patriot’s Lament on KFAR on Saturday mornings. That’s what is lovingly known as “Anarchy Radio” here in Fairbanks.

I usually put the laptop on a pillow on my lap and I lean back against the headboard. The yellow lab puts her back against my feet and I swear she provides me inspiration for writing … or at least warm feet. The mismatched night stands hold matching ceramic lamps that look like old oil lanterns. Mine has books stacked under it and his has the humidifier and a trash can. There’s a me-made quilt in shades of blue, peach and green (or blue, green and red — I’ve made two) on the bed and white lace curtains on the window, but the bed is a really masculine rubber-tree headboard and footboard and there are a set of old-fashioned wooden snow shoes on the wall above it. There’s also two red barn lanterns hanging on black iron hooks to either side because you never know when the power is going to go out or you might just want a more relaxed lighting scheme.

The room (walls and ceiling) are painted tarn blue (Google that term “tarn” if you’re unfamiliar … everyone should know that word; it’s one of my favorite English language words). There are red carnation silk flowers in a dented brass vase on one of the wooden dressers. A fanciful wind chime hangs over the foot of the bed winter and summer, so that it can catch the breeze on a summer’s evening and it’s glittery finish can catch the light in the winter. The closet has striped blue and floral curtains instead of a door (because doors make banging noises and we hate banging noises). These days the floor is bare wood painted white because our elderly dog ruined the carpet with old-lady leakage and we can’t agree on what to replace it with. I like cork; he likes carpet. Besides the lamp and whatever not-mine novel I’m reading currently, my nightstand holds a chipped ceramic cup with some pens in it alongside a spiral bound notebook (yes, the steno notebook is still around) for taking notes.

(Call this an ADD moment: No, I don’t own a Kindle or Nook, though I do read ebooks on my laptop. I much prefer print books and own a huge collection of mostly paperbacks that will eventually be reshelved in that room we’re remodeling.)

When I’m rewriting the Daermad Cycle books, there’s a digital recorder on the nightstand so that I can read portions aloud to get the lilt right. My continuity notebook now lives with that book stack under the night table, which is where the laptop goes when I’m done using it. Usually, the curtains are pulled back so I can stare out the window when I need to. It’s a second story room overlooking birch trees so it’s like being in a tree house.

As a writer, most of my process occurs in my head, so I have never felt an overwhelming need of a special writing place. The laptop is comfortable and portable. It reminds me of the freedom writing had before I was bound to a desk by the computer. That works for me and a writer should use whatever process works for her.

PJ Fiala has written some great romance novels centered on the motorbike culture. Check them out.

Posted September 29, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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5 responses to “Head Space

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  1. Your bedroom sounds a perfect writing space to me, although personally I can’t get on with laptops. More power to your elbow!


  2. It sounds so comfortable and cozy. I agree with you in regards to the banging noises. Thank you for sharing.


  3. I’ve never thought of recording my manuscript. That’s a fantastic idea. Thank you for sharing. I’d love to rearrange walls instead of furniture. My husband doesn’t like construction and even less when it’s in our house.


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