Oh, man, this is embarrassing . . .
When we decided to take two weeks for the ’Rati to write about our workspaces and processes, I thought it’d be nifty. What better way to learn how my cohorts work and how their home environments reflect their personalities and literary brilliance?
That was before I looked at my own office.
As you can see, there’s a certain amount of chaos in my life. I won’t defend it. I always have several projects going on at once and my workspace reflects that . . . rather painfully. Up until July 1, I wrote my fiction in this chaos too. That’s why I still have posters and inspirational sayings on the wall behind my computer and to each side of it.
I managed to produce five manuscripts here along with several feature articles and short stories. So even if it seems horrific to the neater folks reading this post, it worked for me. But anyone who has been following Murderati for the last year knows I’ve been going through tremendous transformations in my career and self perception. The slapdash approach I had for the first decade — mas o menos — just stopped being effective for this new, improved Pari.
On July 1, when I made the vow to write fiction daily, I needed a workspace that mirrored that commitment. So I appropriated one wall in the mess of my office for free-rein creativity. No editing allowed. No self-criticism. No distractions (unless they feed my creativity). NO INTERNET. And I came up with this:
Isn’t that better?
I know it may seem cluttered to you, but to me it’s quiet — easy on the eyes and mind. I keep my little notebook computer here; it’s dedicated solely to fiction.
Every time I walk into my office, I consciously decide if I want my business or writing hat on. If it’s the former, I head to the desk with the clutter (though to be honest, it’s cleaner since I took those photos.) It’s where I’m sitting right now writing this blog. It’s where I write features, do my public relations work for clients, post anything on the internet and send emails.
It’s where I edit my fiction too.
I use Open Office to write all of my stories/manuscripts now. When they’re done, I put them on a flashdrive and bring them to the business computer. To make the distinction even more profound, I convert those docs to MS Word. The result is that my internal editor, and quite a few of my demons, now sit at the messy desk. They don’t interfere with productivity, though they’re causing a bit of a bottleneck in Heinlein’s Rule #4. (You can see that in the third picture in this post.)
While it might seem hokey, by making the division between my business space and fiction space so pronounced, I can more easily protect my creative process. Self-doubt isn’t permitted on the fiction side of my office. If it starts to creep in, I get up and move. Simple. And amazingly effective.
If I’m in need of positive inspiration while writing fiction, I look out the window. More often, I glance at the statue my friend sent me. It’s the Hindu god Ganesha — the god of success and remover of obstacles — with additional talismans that mean something to me.
For those wondering about my schedule or methods, I can’t say I have much of either — and that’s embarrassing too. I have the secret fear that ALL of my colleagues are far more together than I am in this regard. But the truth is that I’ve tried outlining, index cards, strips of paper, white boards . . . and none work well for me. Rather than tools, they seem like fetters.
So I just write my fiction every day. By doing so, I affirm the habit of creativity and put it in a place of honor in my life.
Well, that’s it.
I hope the following two weeks are interesting for all of you. I know I can’t wait to see and read what everyone else posts through Toni’s round-up entry on Sept. 19.
Bonus Pictures: I just had to share this. It’s a patty pan squash we grew that’s about the size of both of my hands. Yummmm.