Lucky, lucky us. For next two months or so, Amy Finnegan will be our guest blogger. Woot woot! We’re happy about this because Amy know TONS about the writing world. And she also does lots of research for EACH blog. Here’s her little introduction: Amy Finnegan has been an event coordinator for Utah Children’s Writers and Illustrators. She was the first place winner in the children’s and young adult category of the 76th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition. She ate an entire bag of strawberry Twizzlers while writing this blog entry. Admitting that in third person POV makes her feel less guilty about it.
One Friday night a month, I stay overnight at a Hampton Inn that is less than ten minutes from where I live. I leave my husband and three kids at home, and instead take my laptop, food to last me 24 hours, a small overnight bag, and my two pillows that I can’t sleep without.
I check in at 10 AM on Friday, and get a 2 PM Saturday checkout. At some point, I sleep about 5-6 hours, but otherwise, I work, work, work.
I’m not sure why my writing muse is so comfortable in that environment, but I get more done in one day at this Hampton Inn than I do in a week or more writing elsewhere. It just works for me.
But I can’t be a truly productive writer if I only write one day a month. I need to find a way to be less distracted at home, clear my mind, and get into this same Hampton Inn zone at my own desk.
So I’m on a quest to learn what other writers do to be their most productive. Do they have a secluded office with classical/rock/reggae music playing? Inspirational books/quotes/posters around them? I’d like to find the best of the best ideas and mash them all together into an environment that helps me focus.
If you need that, too, I hope you can also learn something from the following authors who agreed to share a bit about their current workspace. I also asked what their “dream” writing environment would be like.
Jessica Day George said:
I work either sitting at the kitchen counter or at a table at the local library. If I’m at the kitchen counter, then there are probably children running about and I’m only typing with half my concentration. If I’m at the library, then there are probably children running about (although not my own) and I am only typing with half my concentration while I wonder when the public library became a daycare. I would like to have my own room, with a comfy chair, and a desk for when I’m feeling tense and must sit up in a businesslike fashion. There would be enormous bookcases full of my favorite books, and a sound system softly playing a Kennedy CD.
You can learn more about Jessica’s MG & YA novels at:
Ann Dee Ellis:
I write in bed. Always. I know this is weird and it’s even weirder when I try to write at the library or somewhere away from home and I realize I need to lay on the floor or on some couch to get into my groove. I also am terrible at writing consistently but when I do do it, it’s at night after the kids are asleep. My dream environment? I dream of waking up, having a nice breakfast. Maybe yoga or jogging. A long shower where I use a loofah or something like that. Then writing from nine to eleven. Maybe noon. I feel like I’d write beautiful things if I wrote from nine to noon. My head clear. My soul rejuvenated. The birds chirping. One day. Or not.
You can learn more about Ann Dee’s YA novels at:
Mette Ivie Harrison:
I moved recently into our “exercise room,” which includes a couch, treadmill, TV, stationary bike, lots of bookshelf space, my desk and computer, my filing cabinet, and a closet full of games and craft stuff. I also have a window, albeit a basement one. I suspect this is my ideal work space. I love that it is quiet and cool, and that I have a heater to turn on to feel “cozy.” I love that books are all around me, and that it is hard to find me, and that I can’t hear the doorbell when it rings. The kids have to walk all the way downstairs to ask me if I want to talk to the salesperson at the door. I don’t. Also, there is usually plenty of chocolate there. I write as soon as the kids are off to school, which is about 8:30. I write for as long as I can, taking little breaks in between to break it up. I play on the internet or get a snack and then back to the grindstone. I take lunch at 11:30 most days, unless I’m in the zone. Then I go back to work unless I have to do some real world stuff like shopping or appointments. Or dishes and laundry.
You can learn more about Mette’s YA novels at:
My workspace is my laptop on the dining room table in the center of my house. In other words, I don’t use an office. There are several reasons for this. a) From my vantage point in the dining room, I can monitor both the kitchen and the front door. So I’m able, for example, to stop one or more of my seven kids from drinking straight from the milk carton, or from eating an enormous bowl of cereal five minutes before dinner, or from disappearing out the front door to some remote location. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. b) The room I used to use as an office slowly morphed into a computer gaming zone, and I was competing against explosions, robots on the rampage, and bloodthirsty dinosaurs. c) When I did use that room for an office, it got a little claustrophobic. I love having a laptop because I can move around and change my scenery as I see fit. Even if I don’t move around, the idea that I can if I want to is nice. This year my youngest child started first grade, so I’m finally home during the day with time to write while all the children are gone. My dream writing environment would be sitting outside on a porch or balcony with a breathtaking view. (As long as there weren’t any bugs. If there are bugs, give me the same view from a huge window in a roomy office.)
You can learn more about Kristyn’s Picture Books at:
Carol Lynch Williams:
At this moment my office is filled with boxes because we are moving in a week or two. Before that, though, it held my desk, a bookshelf, and our grand piano. I LOVE to write when my daughter (yes, our Kyra) practices her classical pieces. I do have a dream office in mind, though. It would be huge–large enough for all my girls to settle in with me. And there would be wall-space enough in the room to hold all my books. Finally, it would stay clean. And there would be a comfy chair for me to read in–though I’m not sure I would ever read there.
You could learn more about Carol’s books if she would ever update her website and make it look professional.
So, writers, what is your own workspace like? What would be your dream writing environment?
Tips I found online (some of the best are in the reader comment sections):