Getting what you
want in this world
an act of will over nature. If the natural untethered state of things
move toward chaos, then humanity is here to inject order.
And to create
we must make decisions about what makes our lives better, more
more effective, if possible without causing too much strife and
nature, to what's already good, or to those around us.
It's all very well
having a Zen-like
respect for the universe, and a belief in karma, but we humans are
be creative. And as we know from physics, nothing is created from
nothing - it
is all disassembled and reorganized energy.
In this sense, all
disruptive. And often the most disruptive thing a writer can do is to
having a writing space somewhere in their living quarters!
I fought for years
to get my own writing
space. It was hard when I had no writing career to speak of. Trying to
partners that I should be allowed to take over an entire room to have
as my own
was an uphill struggle. Often too, when I did take over a room and
to my satisfaction, my partner would then decide I'd made the space
some other purpose: a guest bedroom, a child's play area or even once,
studio apartment for paying tenants. Gah!
It was easy enough
when I was single.
Simply putting a cheap desk in my bedroom usually did the trick. If the
wasn't big enough, the kitchen table had to suffice. In one shared
converted the cupboard under the stairs, a space that which wasn't big
to stand in and had no windows - or much air for that matter!
Stephen King used
to write in the
of his house, close to a hot water pipe that acted as a radiator in the
months. He wrote in there during the evenings to, you guessed it, get
the sound of the TV: the writer's perennial distracter.
Philip K Dick
rented a tumbledown
shack a couple of miles away from his apartment, so that he felt like
he was going to work to write, rather than stay at home and do
nothing or get
distracted by his (usually nagging) partner.
Meeting Robyn, my
darling wife, also a
writer since 1998, was a godsend. Not only did she already have a
of her own, she understood implicitly that writers need their own
we moved in together, two rooms were automatically set aside as writing
one for each of us. These days, Robyn doesn't use hers. It doubles as
for employees when we need assistance for a major project. Robyn writes
front room during the day. Sometimes I do too. But mostly I write from
dream space, surrounded by thousands of reference books and files, all
and more technology than I could have ever dreamed of owning!
thing I don't have in the room is
a phone. Hate the things. Over the years I've noticed the only people
you during the day are telemarketers and bill collectors. And who needs
it's not the
physical writing space that's as important as the writing space in your
The room is really a trigger. You need it so that as soon as you walk
sit down, your mind goes into writing mode, automatically.
Having your own
desk and workspace is
for granted in the corporate world. You wouldn't dream of employing
then not give them a PC, a phone, a desk, a chair and space in a
fundamental to productivity. So why would you think you don't need
in a home office?
My advice is,
wherever you live, no
what your circumstance, you aim to get your own writing space and, even
just the corner of a bed, an outhouse, or a cold step somewhere, you
begin to regard that space as sacred.
Because it is
sacred. Once you've written for any length of time in your
sacred writing space, then being blocked is an impossibility.
The mind loves
routine. The more you do
something in the same environment, the better able your mind is able to
to the requirements of that setting. It's like training an animal to
sleep in the same place. We're creatures of habit. Once you understand
you'll see the benefit of manufacturing the writing habit through
and subconscious triggers like your desk, chair, computer and personal
You need everything
that motivates you
within reach. Your dictionaries, writers’ market guides,
your favorite writing resources should be only a step or preferably an
length away. Fill your space with personal trinkets that inspire you. I
statue of Thoth, the Egyptian god of writing, on my desk; a bust of
a banker's lamp; a rock crystal; a remote control toy helicopter and
burning paraphernalia: all things that make me feel at home. I have
the walls of past projects: book covers; play, film and writing-talk
have a whiteboard that I fill with inspiring quotes by other writers or
I admire. It all helps make my personal writing space feel special. And
believe it works wonders for my creativity.
But what you
mustn't do is to fill your
writing space with distractions.
Once you have
something in your room
persistently takes you away from writing: remove it. Banish it.
In one writing
space I had back in the
wrote on a computer that had games on it. I was forever flipping over
screen to complete just one more level. It was disastrous for my long
concentration level and productivity.
These days, I don't
have any computer
preloaded onto my writing computers. And when I'm writing, I switch off
internet connection. You can't concentrate properly if emails or
constantly pinging when you should be focused on your next sentence!
is all about habit and
you need only good habits in your writing space. The sacred is closely
to ritual. And rituals require strict adherence if they're going to be
meaningful and helpful to you.