Jeanne: The Room Where It Happens

Michaeline’s post on Saturday about writers’ fantasy getaways to magical places that enable them to whip through their WIPs made me realize, once again, that my version of that fantasy is like the theme from Wizard of Oz: There’s no place like home.

20200829_135905I write best in my writing cave, a 9.5′ x 11′ room that was added onto the back of my 97- year-old house in the 1950’s or 60’s (along with an extra bathroom/laundry room and a ridiculously useless hallway that I’ve converted into a mudroom/cloakroom/ ironing room).

Before Covid-19 entered our lives, I went on occasional junkets to beaches or faraway cities to write, but I seldom (almost never) returned home with any additional words written. Sadly, the one time I actually got a substantial number of words on the page, I wound up throwing said pages away after I decided the book was headed in the wrong direction. 😦

I’ve come to the conclusion that I write best in familiar surroundings. That’s partly 20200829_135916because my kids are grown, I currently have no pets, and my husband is a very low-maintenance kind of guy. But it’s partly because the room is really well-suited to writing. It has space for my ancient desktop computer (if all you use is Word, Excel and Chrome, you don’t really need a state-of-the-art computer), a couple of printers (one black-and-white laser printer and a color multi-function device that scans and makes copies, and a couple of fairly up-to-date laptops that I use when I travel.

The room has counters along both sides, with an assortment of junk drawers and cabinets underneath, and bookshelves along the top of the room, where I keep dictionaries, craft books and approximately 1000 tablets and notebooks because I’m forever finding myself out in the world with time on my hands and nothing to write on.

It also has a couple of windows that look out on my working-class neighborhood. Some of my writing buddies have amazing views from their writing rooms–Puget Sound and San Francisco Bay. I suppose after a while I’d become so accustomed to the beauty that I’d stop gawking, but my view is okay. The windows are enough to keep me from being claustrophobic without creating a distraction.

20200829_140123

There are a couple of closets at one end of the room. On the closet doors I tape up things like maps and floor plans that I need to keep track of the “where” of my stories. Right now the left-hand door has floor plans of the United Nations Conference Center in New York City, where much of my work-in-progress, The Demon Wore Stilettos, takes place. The right-hand door has a tourist map of Sedona, AZ, where I plan to set my next project, a rom-com series about a family of five siblings who are suddenly left in charge of their parents’ tour business and each sibling has a different idea about where they’d like to take the business (and a chance at love along the way, of course).

It’s not a particularly pretty room, but it’s homey and very practical. What kind of space do you use when you’re being creative?

4 thoughts on “Jeanne: The Room Where It Happens

  1. I work in my former bedroom, which is 10×10? 10×12? Big enough for a double bed and a dresser and nothing else. When I started working from home with my day job decades ago, I needed to get my working arrangements out of the dining room, so I remodeled the attic and I sleep up there now, and the bedroom became the office. When I eventually become too unathletic to climb the ladder to the attic, I’ll move the bedroom back down and figure out the working arrangements then. In the meantime, I work in the office/bedroom. I sit in a chair and I get up every hour for a few minutes to stretch. It works well for me—besides keeping the body parts more or less aligned, when I go in there, I know that I’m going in to work. I use the storage for things not related to working, but that room means I’m not doing anything else. It’s a good psychological trigger to my psyche that I mean business. 🙂

  2. I love this, Jeanne! I think having the perfect home writing space is Author Fantasy #2!!

    My daughter went back to her apartment after four months with us. So, I’ve taken over the other bedroom again — and it’s very nice now! She cleaned the desk off completely, and I have a fan on one side, a ukulele on the other, and a curtain in front. Since she was zooming, I also have a clothes rack behind me, where I can put a chevron afghan my mom made as a backdrop. I suppose I could tie cardboard boxes to the clothes rack, and have a four-sided bulletin board for putting up pictures and things!

    But that’s verging into the fantasy part of the discussion. All I really need now is an excellent writing chair. This one sucks. It isn’t very comfortable, and it SINKS.

  3. Aargh! I hate a sinking chair. I picked up a couple of office chairs at a yard sale once and neither wound up having vertical integrity. I put them on the curb and splurged on a brand new one. (Which is now probably 15 years old.)

    Those counters you see are pretty high, so a chair that goes up is essential. I have a plastic footstool so my legs don’t dangle.

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