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Category Archives: Writing Room

The Life of a Creative Person

When you’re creative, especially if you’re like me when you’re creative, you’re bound to find less time to do other things. Things like the dishes, or cleaning off the counter, which seems to be a magnet for “stuff.” Or you end up with piles of things you’re working on in different places. For me it’s piles on my desk, piles on the floor in my writing/craft room. A bunch of my “stuff” on the dining room table…

I’m here to tell you…YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I thought I’d chronicle little bits and pieces of my life while I work on the creative projects over the next few months. There are days when I feel good and I get a lot accomplished. There are days when I get distracted by something or another, or maybe more than one something’s, and I don’t get as much done as I wanted to, or even much done at all–except the one or three things I was distracted by.

“Doubt kills more dreams than fear,” is a true statement, and if I let doubt eat at me then I’d run far and fast from taking on so many projects. I’d let that little spark of doubt turn into a flame, and fear would overwhelm me. But I’m not going to do that. WHY? HOW?

I blossom like a field full of wildflowers when I am creative. The more creative I am, the better I feel, the more I get accomplished, the more energetic I feel. Yes, there will be days when I don’t feel good, a bad day, and I might not get everything done that day. Hell, I might not get much done at all that day. But I won’t let that stop me from doing at least one thing. Maybe that day I’ll read. Or I’ll paint. I’ll do something that is more relaxing. On the good days I’ll do more of the physical things, like organizing my closet, sorting through the basket full of clothes…

Here lately I’ve tried to be more aware of “self-care,” to take better care of myself, to be present in the moment, and to take time for the things I love, the people I love, and the simple things in life, which means there are times when the dishes get rinsed off but not washed until the next day, when the clothes may or may not get folded, when the kitchen got swept but I forgot to mop, or when I stay in PJ’s with no makeup on and read and/or draw all day, or when I go to bed early. I think our body’s tell us what we need, just as much as our mind’s do. I’m trying to pay more attention to what I need creatively for my mind and soul, and what I need physically for my body. Finding balance, especially when you’re busy is important. The upcoming blog posts and videos will help me stay accountable, as well as perhaps help one or a few others know that they are not alone in the creative life. To me, creativity does all of me a bit of good. 😀

 

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A Writer’s Life

Most days I write. I get up in the morning, usually after 4-6 hours of sleep, still groggy and make coffee. While the coffee is brewing, which doesn’t take long since I have a Bunn coffeemaker, I start my morning pages–my ego is still asleep. I’m usually wishing I were still sleeping.

Once I take the first sip of coffee, I immediately feel better. Yes, I know it’s a mind thing at that point, but it’s a win for me because not only do I like the smell and taste of coffee, but various studies have proven that coffee is good for us…helps prevent cancer, etc.–I will take it as a win.

I head for my writing room. Here is a quick peak of my writing room:

I wish I could say that the first thing I do, after I’ve written my morning pages, is start writing, but most days I check my email, FB, and YT first. I respond to various messages, posts, comments…(I’m now on my second cup of coffee) and if someone posts a video that I can listen to while I work on my journal pages I’ll do that, unless I’ve already prepared my pages the night before.

Lately though, thanks to changing things up because of Project Me and Jenny Penton’s Planner Perfect method I’ve started on my top 3 things for the day. Mine are usually stretches, which I can do while I watch a video (or two, depending on how long the videos are, because I have to do 15 minutes worth of stretching–it helps keep my shoulders mobile, otherwise I’ll lose mobility again); start laundry; dishes and/or shower and get ready for the day.

Once I’m dressed for the day, I sit back down at my desk, open Scrivener, and read the last 2 paragraphs I wrote. Once my head is back in my novel I start writing. Big deal, right? So I’m writing. I’m a writer, that’s what writer’s do. Not as easy as it seems though. I get distracted by the sun shining through my window, by the beeps and buzzes of notifications from my tablet or phone, by the lack of coffee in my cup (I’m usually on my 3rd cup or about to get my 3rd cup, though somewhere in the middle of those cups of coffee I try to drink a bottle of water).

Butt in chair and write! I try to get back to the work at hand. Writing. For a few years now, I’ve been trying to establish a routine. A ritual. The thing about writing a novel is consistency, determination, passion…AND getting your butt in the chair and doing the work. Since I started planning my day differently, less “to do’s” and more “scripting my life,” I’ve realized that scripting my life is helpful for me personally, but not so much for my writing, which is what I consider to be my job. So, I’ve gone back to my writer bullet journal.

However, I’m not doing things the same way anymore. No more monthly calendar, and no more dailies. Not for my writing. I have a monthly log for my wordcount set up for August, and the weekly spread set up. I’ve got the wordcount goals set up so that I know about where I am, and I’ve pushed up my daily wordcount for August. During July I’ve been aiming for 1000 words a day every day, but for August I’m pushing for 2K a day during the week, and 1K on the weekends. That might change, but I am pretty sure if I devote 4-6 hours per day during the week, with breaks in between, and 2-4 hours on the weekends, I should be able to at least write 1500-2500 words a day during the week. I might end up lowering the wordcount on the weekends to 500 per day. We’ll see.

And so I can stay on top of things and and finish my novel… I’ve changed things in my writer’s bible and August is going to rock. I’m hoping to keep the blogs rolling with the videos, and my video schedule is set up for a Coffee Chat on Monday’s, Writer Wednesday, Journaling on Friday’s, and then something or other on Sunday’s… Not sure about that yet.

Here’s the video for that:

 

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Messy Desk or Creative Clutter

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” ~Einstein

Einstein wasn’t alone, Mark Twain and Steve Jobs also had a “cluttered” desk, and I’m sure that there are many others, those are just the one’s that I know off the top of my head.

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It looks semi clean, but it’s not…

I prefer to think of my desk as “creative clutter.” Though, if I’m honest, there are places all over my house that could be termed creative clutter. Don’t get me wrong, there are also places that are organized, but my desk (and the damn kitchen counter) are almost always in a state of mess/clutter/creative chaos. Well, the kitchen counter just ends up cluttered, there’s really nothing creative about it.

According to studies from the world’s foremost creatives show that just the right amount of mess on your desk can help you achieve greater creativity, defy convention, and even be more productive. ~5 Reasons Creative Geniuses Like Einstein, Twain and Zuckerberg Had Messy Desks-And Why You Should Too

I’m no Einstein, Twain, Jobs, or Zuckerberg, but I am a creative person, and I do tend to have a “messy desk.”

My Desk

My Desk in use…

I’ve tried the minimalistic approach to my desk, I’ve tried organized and clean, I’ve tried rearranging a number of times, but no matter how clean and organized my desk starts out, or how I arrange it, it ends up messy.

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This is a working desk. I art journal, write, plan, journal, read, etc at this desk.

There are other places in my “Creative/Writing Room” that are organized and clean, just not usually my desk.

My books are usually arranged by author, and sometimes by genre.

My books are usually arranged by author, and sometimes by genre.

If someone were to ask me where something was, nine out of ten times I could tell you exactly where that item was, especially if it’s a book, journal, or art supply (though I do not know where all my stickers and ephemera are exactly–I really do need to organize that stuff).

Mr King's bookcase, along with a few other authors, though eventually it will just house all of my SK books.

Mr King’s bookcase, along with a few other authors, though eventually it will just house all of my SK books.

For example,  my red bookcase holds Mr. King’s, Mr. Koontz’s, and a few others’ books.  But the smaller bookcase houses poetry, classics, literature, dictionaries, along with Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, and Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles.

One shelf is my "Writerly" books, the other has my Harry Potter and Anne Rice collection.

One shelf is my “Writerly” books, the other has my Harry Potter and Anne Rice collection.

Then there are the vertical shelves (the room also passes as our guest room since there is a click-clack couch that pulls out so space is limited).

My art section... Sorry there's a mirror on the dresser so I'm in the picture...

My art section… Sorry there’s a mirror on the dresser so I’m in the picture…

And if you haven’t gathered, I like color. My art section is organized, at least the top of it is, if you look in the drawers, which I suggest you don’t, then that’s where you’ll find the creative clutter. (I really need to work on that, but the room is a work in progress.)  I’ve been organizing the room, tackling one or two things each week.

My storyboard is on the wall above the click-clack couch, which I often times sit on to read, write, etc....

My storyboard is on the wall above the click-clack couch, which I often times sit on to read, write, etc….

I surround myself with books, art, color, and other things that spark my creative side, that inspire and motivate me to be creative. There are books in pretty much every corner of my room, as well as some type of inspiration, either a quote, or picture.

Patricia Cornwell bookshelf.

Patricia Cornwell bookshelf.

For example, when I sit at my desk, like I am right now as I type this, I can see the rain falling outside my window, it’s a rather gray day but I love writing to the sound of rain. I look to my right and there is my corner bookshelf with Patricia Cornwell (and a few Nora Roberts books thrown in because I didn’t have anymore room on the other shelf), and to my left is my red bookcase filled with mostly Mr. King’s books (yes I’m a fan, one of his Constant Reader’s).

Stack of books against wall... it's time for a new bookshelf.

Stack of books against wall… it’s time for a new bookshelf.

Not to mention the books that I have stacked against the wall because I’m out of shelf room–I really need another bookcase, and in the process of figuring out exactly what I want so a friend of mine can build them for me for my birthday. There’s nothing like handmade bookshelves. 😀

So, yes… I’d say that a messy desk, or creative clutter, works for me, though there are definitely some things I have to have organized and clean.

 

 

 

 

 

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Where Do I Write?

I’ve seen several posts on WP and Blogger, and Twitter #writingspace about the writing process, where writer’s write, and what their favorite things are or what inspires them. When I was in college I wrote in between classes, at the coffee shop, at the cafe, outside at a picnic table on campus, in my bedroom on my bed, at my desk…You name it. But that was homework, research papers, etc. Things have changed over the past 15 years.

Once I started taking my writing seriously instead of just thinking of it as a dream deferred, a hobby, or a creative past-time I began dreaming about having a writing shed, or at least a room of my own. And for a short while that happened, but alas I am now back in a main part of the house, which is fine when I’m home alone, but not so great when it’s not just me at home.

My red and wood desk, and my husband's desk. with bookcases...

My red and wood desk, and my husband’s desk. with bookcases…

My red bookcase, and the curtain I wrote the lyrics to "our song" on for my husband.

My red bookcase, and the curtain I wrote the lyrics to “our song” on for my husband.

Above you’ll see a few pictures of the writing room I had for a brief period of time. Once my son finishes college (since the military thing didn’t work out for health reasons) and gets a full-time job I’ll get my writing room back, or by then we’ll be able to afford a wooden shed so I can convert into a writing cottage.  But for now, where I write is in the living room.

The pillows on our couch match my writing space...

The pillows on our couch match my writing space…

Red bookcases and desk go well with our updated look.

Red bookcases and desk go well with our updated look.

This is actually clean considering it's Camp NaNo

This is actually clean considering it’s Camp NaNo

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2014 in Home, Life, Writing, Writing Room, Writing Space

 

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Scrambling to Get Things Together

The Writing Prompt for today for the 365 Days of Writing Prompts, which I am just now starting, was titled Writing Room. I am finally getting the rest of my writing room together. My desk is now in place, I am about to put the other computer on my husband’s desk, which won’t be used often because he’s not home much, yet I still have all this MESS from emptying and then moving my desk into my writing room. I won’t take a picture today–frankly, the room is a mess now. On second thought; frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn!

So here are the pics of my writing room. It’s a work in progress. My son’s stuff is still in the closet, and I’ve organized it best I can with an injured rotator cuff. I’ll eventually get to the rest of it (especially since I’m seeing the specialist next week) and then the closet will contain my stuff and I’ll be able to shut the doors. Since we first moved into the house I’ve dreamed of having a writing room, of what I’d do with it. I’ve written several posts about it…And I imagined a room with lots of purple or red. I didn’t want to paint the walls red because I’m doing the dining room in red, and using red accents in the kitchen. And my (step) daughter’s room is now purple, Grape Ape purple. So I had to find a color that would go with red (or purple) and Aqua Chiffon was it. It’s bright, cheerful, and one of those colors that is supposed to help with focus.

I really should have taken before pics. But if you check out some of the my other posts you’ll see some of the room before I put the red desk in there…This isn’t exactly what I imagined, but it’s definitely me, and since it’s my writing room it can look however I want it. I’m sure I’ll end up changing it later on, especially once my son gets his stuff. I’m just happy to have my own writing space. My daughter and husband helped me a lot with the room. If it hadn’t been for them I’d never have gotten as much as I have gotten done. (Not with a messed up shoulder.) But at least now my daughter has plenty of room for the pac-n-play in the writing room and she can sleep in the twin bed when she comes to visit, and my (step) daughter has her room decorated and painted. Now we have to do our room.

Since we moved the desk out of our bedroom we went ahead and rearranged our bedroom and now we have so much more space. We can actually walk around in our room and not bump into things. YAY!!! Now we have to figure what color to paint our room since I’ve used all of my fav colors I guess we’ll probably go with a darker shade of blue for our bedroom since that is his favorite color…Midnight Blue… Hmmm… I can work with that.

My red and wood desk, and my husband's desk. with bookcases...

My red and wood desk, and my husband’s desk. with bookcases…

Top of smaller desk still needs to be painted, and we still need to get the bed frame out of storage.

Top of smaller desk still needs to be painted, and we still need to get the bed frame out of storage.

My son's FS TV that he'll be getting once he's out of bootcamp and training/school.

My son’s FS TV that he’ll be getting once he’s out of bootcamp and training/school.

My red bookcase, and the curtain I wrote the lyrics to "our song" on for my husband.

My red bookcase, and the curtain I wrote the lyrics to “our song” on for my husband.

My inspiration/corkboard is now over my husband's desk but at least I won't be so distracted by it now. And i can look to the left and there it is...

My inspiration/corkboard is now over my husband’s desk but at least I won’t be so distracted by it now. And i can look to the  right and there it is…

 

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Avoiding the “Suck Dragon” while writing

start writing no matter what

I’d thought a great deal about what works for me as a writer while I was planning out my writing room. I wanted a place where my creativity could soar, where I could focus on my writing without being distracted, and that was organized in such a way that everything I needed was right at my fingertips.

I’ve written in diner’s, coffee shops, work, the living room, the dining room, in a cubby in the corner of my bedroom, in a vehicle while traveling, in my very own room meant for writing/studying/etc (for the brief period of time I lived alone and my second bedroom was my study–then my daughter moved back in with me, then she moved out again, and then I moved in with my now husband and I once again had my own space but then my son moved in with us…)…And I’ve even written while in the bathroom, or in line at the grocery store on a notepad, or on napkins at a restaurant. It’s not that I can’t write in my own space. It’s that I feel much more focused and creative when I have my own space, and that space is organized.

When I first began planning what I’d do with the room after my son moved out I thought I’d paint the walls a pretty shade of purple and paint my bookcases white, maybe paint my desk a darker shade of purple, but my (step) daughter’s favorite color is also purple and I didn’t want both bedrooms painted purple, especially since our comforter and drapes are lavender and we plan on painting the walls of our bedroom a silvery grey with a touch of lavender in it–that would have meant all three bedrooms of our home would be a purple hue. Way too much purple for my husband who prefers dark blue, taupe, eggshell, or GOD FORBID white walls.

When I asked him about painting the walls, after we first moved in, he wasn’t that enthusiastic. He dislikes painting. I love painting. I love color. My first step was the next to the smallest room in the house–the main bathroom. I have a shower curtain with ducks on it. I bought it when I left the ex of ten years and got my own place. I wanted something fun. Something playful. I added a few rubber duckies, two pictures with ducks, painted the walls yellow, added yellow rugs, (our floor in the bathroom is red), and Wa La, a fun cheerful bathroom. I even painted the brown cabinets white. He was amazed by how much better it looked, and agreed that we could redo each room, but we’d go one room at a time. Things happened, and we weren’t able to afford to start another room. Then my son moved out 2 weeks ago when he left to go to boot-camp for the Army.

Now that my writing space is almost finished, I need to seal the top of my desk with a clear coat so that it won’t get scratched, paint the top of my husband’s desk dark grey, and move my desk in here and arrange the closet so that my son’s large FS TV will fit in there and be out of the way (and safe from my 18 mth old grandson’s curious little hands), I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to avoid some of the suck dragon’s that have been plaguing my writing.

Having your creativity sucked right out of you, writer’s block, lack of focus, ADD or ADHD aside—well, it leaves you feeling like crap. Like maybe you’re not really a writer, or at least not a good one. Or maybe you don’t really have what it takes. Or maybe you just need to do this, or get this, or maybe what you need is your own writing space… LOL! Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. That little voice in your head says, it’s not where you write that matters…It’s not what you write on…It’s not what you write with…But for some of us, we need that space of our own. I squelched that little voice in my head the moment I set my computer up on my husband’s desk (to use until I could get mine in here) and began writing. I felt the creative juices overflowing. Ideas where running rampant in my head.

I am one of those people who needs inspiration, motivation, focus, calm, organization, and freedom to write. Stuck in the corner of my bedroom in that little cubby my husband had so thoughtfully arranged was great for NaNo, but it wasn’t working long-term, nor was having my writing space in the dining room where there were so many distractions. Now the little voice in my head often says, “Stop hunching over your keyboard and sit back and relax a little. Oh, and take those cups to the sing too!” I’m working on a whole new novel. I put NaNo’s novel away for now. Maybe I’ll go back to it later. I’m on chapter 3 of my new novel and it’s headed in the direction I want, at least so far. I’m working on some of the minor characters, and working on my dialogue (I have to remind myself to show and not tell). It’s all a work in progress though. I don’t expect any of my novels to be best sellers, I’ll just be happy when it’s finished, completely, and in print and publishable. Maybe I’ll self publish and no one but my husband, my family, and friends will ever read it, or maybe I’ll find an agent and a publisher. That doesn’t really matter to me. I’ve found my way and I’m happy just writing.

 

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A Story to Tell

The motto for my writing room...

The motto for my writing room…

I found this while out and had to get it for my writing room. That simple phrase, “We all have a story to tell,” is the basis for many a writer. If you’re a writer at heart then that story that is brewing inside you has to come out or you walk around with that feeling that you’ve misplaced something, or haven’t finished something, or need to do something. At least for me it does. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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