The Writer’s Workspace blog posts here at the Pink Heart Society fascinate me because some people have the most awesome spaces to work in. Specially customized rooms and worktables, treadmill desks, rooms with views...I’m jealous at the beautiful décor and comfy nooks other authors build themselves.
While I have my own office, with a computer, lots of bookshelves and just enough wall space from which to hang all the most important things (yes, Star Wars movie posters are important), I actually do most of my writing in two places: on the bus during my daily commute and in my reclining chair in the living room.
My commute to work is an hour by bus one way. Assuming I get a seat and it’s a good day, I’ve been known to pound out about 750 words in one trip on my ASUS Aspire One netbook. The name of this game is beating the clock. I write as much as I can without worrying too much about editing. It’s like an enforced #1k1hr (that’s 1000 words in 1 hour, for the Twitter-hashtag-impaired.) The best seats for me on the newer Toronto Transit Commission buses are the ones in the back above the wheel well. They allow me to plant my feet on the ground so that my netbook balances easily on my lap.
While I’ve never missed a stop, some days I’m tempted to keep going and call in sick. One question I frequently get is how I manage not to get motion sickness. Being deeply immersed in my work staves off most of my nausea. I suffer from exhaustion far more frequently, and have been known to slump over for a minute or two while typing mid-word. The major drawback to writing in public like this is I always end up sitting next to a little old lady while editing sex scenes. I’m starting to wonder if it’s the same two or three little old ladies who try to get that seat next to me, though....
When I’m at home, my hard core writing nook is the reclining wingback chair in my living room, flanked on either side by low tables for my research materials, hot drinks and snacks. Eight-hour days in front of a computer aren’t great on my back, which is why the recliner is ideal. When I’m in writing mode, it’s not just about where I’m writing, it’s about comfort. For me, that means cotton jogging pants, sweatshirts, fun socks, and oftentimes a hat and gloves. (You can read more about my “writing uniform” here.)
The name of the game at home: quality. I start by reading what I’ve written on the bus, editing it, and then continuing on from there.
With a cat frequently lying on my ankles and a husband usually sharing the living room with me watching TV, you might wonder how I avoid distractions. The answer is I can’t. Truth is, I don’t want all my after-work time spent alone, holed up in my office, isolated from the people and things that matter to me. My husband has been very understanding, though, and often wears headphones while he watches TV so I can work in silence.
Of course, when I need complete concentration, my office is my isolation tank.
I go to the desktop computer when I’m on deadline, when I’m doing a final revision or I need to format my manuscript to send to my editor. The day I sold my first book, I installed a latch on my door to keep the cat from pushing into my room and demanding my attention. No cat = SUPER-SERIOUS WRITING TIME.
Apart from all my books, I have a list of writing reminders posted on my wall. (You can read more about them here.) When I come across one that is vital to building a better book, I write it down. I also post lists of questions to ask myself, as well as anything I frequently refer to.
Other things I keep on hand: lip balm, tissues, hand lotion, a bottle of water, gloves, hat, a sweater, and, for that moment I need to close my eyes, a blanket I can snuggle under in my other writing chair. Because all work and no sleep makes Vicki a tired writer.
Vicki’s giving away a copy of her latest book, Back to the Good Fortune Diner. Leave a comment below and she’ll randomly draw a winner of a hard copy or ebook version of her book.
Vicki Essex is an author for Harlequin Superromance. Back to the Good Fortune Diner is her second book. For more information, visit www.vickiessex.com. You can also find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/vickiessexauthor and on Twitter @vickiessex.