Do you feel the need to have a certain, special place to write? Maybe you have little items you feel inspire you sitting around your desk, computer, in the same room, maybe there is a stone of carnelian or citrine to spark creativity, or even big dark shades to hide you from the world.
My writing space is usually the dining room table, two windows, a bird feeder on one so my cat, usually sitting beside me can be entertained. But I also write on the couch in the living room with a lap desk, and sometimes in my bed.
Dan Brown (author of the Da Vinci code and many others) believes writing space isn’t important. It’s the ritual and the commitment, not the space. He relates a story in which he was visiting his parents and he wrote in the laundry room, lap top on the ironing board while sitting on milk crates with the washer running – because he needed an undisturbed space.
I’d say that space would disturb me – and talk about holes in a story. My apologies, Mr. Brown. However, if he gets up at 4 a.m. to write (as he states), who is doing laundry at that time? And, if the laundry was put in later, then obviously someone came in to disturb you. And, by that time, he couldn’t move to another room? Okay, sorry, sorry. Back to the point.
We do need a space to write. Ideally, we want to have certain creature comforts around us; for me, it’s a cup of tea. However, I have written on concrete benches, lying across the hotel bed, in a tiny corner that had a table and chair, in coffee shops with noise, and alone in my house at 4 a.m.
The point is our desire for the ideal space should not limit our writing time or commitment (and I think this was Mr. Brown’s point as well). If we limit our writing to the ideal, we’ll have an excuse to not write when any little thing is out of place.
Brown states he writes 365 days a year. That’s what this blog is about, right? 365. It’s about commitment. It is my challenge and my commitment to write 365. I’m doing okay, regardless of the space I’m writing in.
Love Toni Morrison!
Take a very common thing from your kitchen and write a poem about it.
It will most likely become a poem about something else.
I think I’m going to try a spoon. (There’s actually a pretty famous poem about a spoon – by Billy Collins)
If someone says they read your work, it does not matter whether you believe them or not or whether they did or not – Don’t test them!
I work with an American Pen Award winner – he is the epitome of modest and professional. I ran into him and said, “loved the book.” He said thank you. And that is all we should say!
I had one writer begin asking me questions about their work. I felt they didn’t believe I’d read their work, so they wanted to test me.
Maybe it was they just wanted to ask my opinion or probe my analysis of certain aspects of their work. But, see, I read for pleasure.I’m unprepared to answer questions other than what I enjoyed about the novel.
There are times I’ve read to analyze someone’s work because I wanted to learn something from or when they’ve asked me too because they want my opinion on one or more aspects of their work.
So – when a writer asks some in depth question about some random detail on page 145 – I’m really sort of stopped short.
I read nightly. If I read their book or story last week, I’ve probably read another book and 50 student essays since. If I read it last month, we’re talking at least two books, possibly three, and over 124 student essays and 300 short literature responses from students.
Last, but not least, it’s just plain rude. When someone has told me they’ve read my story, I say thank you. If they want to ask me questions or say more, I’m willing to listen. But I leave it to the reader.
To some people it is.
I have a friend who picks and chooses where he wants to be published so carefully that he submits maybe once or twice a year at most. He hasn’t been published in maybe 6 or 8 years.
He’s an extremely good writer. Better than I.
He says, he wants to only be published where his name will be seen, where it will matter.
I took this to mean he didn’t approve of my many publications with small presses, some of which no one has ever heard.
What do you value and why? Ask yourself.
Billy Collins, btw, began publishing in what he refers to as fly by night or small presses of which no one ever heard.