In my dream world, I sit down to write at my laptop which sits a top a beautifully crafted Tasmanian Oak desk. My desk overlooks a pair of French doors opening out onto a picturesque tended garden, hedges trimmed to perfection and flowers in bloom. My writing room is modest in size, but large enough for a two-seater couch as well as a desk. The floors are a deep burnished wood covered by a navy rug with a Fleur-de-lis pattern. And the best bit? The walls are a series of in-built bookcases from floor to ceiling, also in a rich textured wood, to house as many books as I can possibly acquire.
Writer’s paradise: it’s all in your head
Unfortunately my reality is quite different. My tiny desk is only big enough to hold my laptop and a few papers and it’s wedged in the corner of my open plan living area. There’s a matching storage cube next to it that houses a selection of my favourite books, about twenty or thirty of them, and that’s it. It’s not all bad though – my open plan living area looks out onto what I call my ‘secret walled garden.’ My fish tank is close enough to touch and my fish regularly keep an eye on my progress. I also have a kick ass stereo system in the lounge room.
Drop the illusions and just write
I think every writer has an idea of what their perfect writing space would be, however if you’re waiting for that perfect writing space to manifest so you can pen the manuscript you’ve always dreamed of completing, it’s time to drop the illusions. Writing can happen anywhere. I do most of my writing in the lounge room, although I’ve written while I’m sick in bed (that’s the great thing about laptops); I’ve edited while sitting at my dining table; I’ve completed that must write chapter while my son plays Hot Wheels and the television is going in the background. What I’ve learned is that I’ll write almost anywhere if required, because it’s the writing that is important, not the environment.
I suppose working in marketing and advertising set me up well for the writer’s life. There’s rarely such a thing as an office and you’re seated open plan. While trying to write corporate collateral or web copy you need to tune out other staff’s phone calls, banter, field questions and take calls yourself. Admittedly there were times when it drove me crazy, but it taught me how to focus.
Focus on the world inside your head, not the world around you
Once you focus on the characters you’ve been developing in your head and the world that is slowly starting to manifest in your daydreams, your writing space won’t make an ounce of difference anyway. All that matters is the words.
Oh, alright, music matters for me too, but that’s also transportable.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a designated writing area. I think that’s important. Find a writing space and make it yours. Own it. However, if you’re waiting for it to be perfect, you could be waiting a long time…
For me, my writer’s paradise is something to aspire to. It’s the ‘one day’ dream. And if you’re anything like me, it’s important to have dreams.
How about you? Do you have the perfect writing space or doesn’t it matter to you?