I told you a little bit about how environment is important here, but I’ve never shown you my own writing environment. I often get requests about desks and where I go to write. With NaNoWriMo in full swing, I spend a lot of time at my desk and will show you that environment now.
I’ve decided that pictures are probably the best way to show you how I write:
Here is a picture of my entire desk area. Please notice that there’s not a lot on my desk. I get distracted by ‘things.’ Things that tell me about appointments, other story ideas, etc. Also notice that I have the usual trappings of my writing process, a candle and cup of Earl Grey Tea. I also have some inspirational things that add a bit of whimsy to my working corner.
First I have a picture that hangs above my desk of a wildlife scene. I picked it up at an art store in Wells BC which sold a community of arts items, which I think was much like a Co-op but I can’t remember. It stirs my imagination and thus keeps me thinking about potential, possibilities and helps me ask the question “what if?”
Second I have a block that I picked up in a gift shop in Dawson Creek that has the following on it, “The world is waiting to hear your story.” This little block is my motivation to tell my story when self-doubt settles in and makes its home in my brain.
The last item I have was given to me by my mother. She and I went into a shop in Wells BC shortly after a week-long intensive writing workshop and she picked up quite a few things that she adored and thought would make great gifts. My mother asked me while we were in this shop if there was anything I liked. I liked the picture of the gal gazing up at the moon, the moon staring straight back down. She sat on a stump, which reminded me of my childhood favourite story The Giving Tree and makes me wonder, “What is she thinking about?”
Often as a teen I imagined my alternate worlds from the top branches of a crabapple tree in the home of my childhood and youth. Instantly I connected with the image but the woman had no more prints nor the original to sell except card sized. Mom and I had already scooped up other card-sized art pieces so we didn’t fancy picking up more.
Instead, my mother bought this tile-coaster with the image on it. I have since used it regularly at my desk and it has not moved from where I write, except those times when I would take my laptop to the coffeehouse.
Now that you've seen where I write, show me where you write!
If there is one single theme that is common for all NaNoWriMo-ers, it is this: that there is a sacrifice of time throughout November.
At this time you’re probably thinking, “Well duh.” But the reason I bring it up is because there’s this culture of guilt about wiritng that if you don’t do it, you’re letting someone down, when in fact you’re letting yourself down.
NaNoWriMo acts on that guilty conscience in order to push you to create in a short period of time. For some this is the push they need to make the commitment to start or even finish their pieces. For others it can create undue stress which creates tension and stress around creating a piece that might not otherwise be there.
My own piece was sitting in my brain for the significant portion of November that has already lapsed by, however is now well on its way.
For me, NaNoWriMo is not so much a push to create but rather it is a time of the year where I know that there are resources and support for my craft that at other times are not present.
The sacrifice of time I mentioned earlier come out of my ability to be present for the process of writing. Sometimes when I write with time constraints, I am not truly present in the piece I am making. It usually lacks my own style and voice and can be dull to even the trash bin.
That being said, it is also a time of year where I can tell others: “Don’t disturb me, I am making a commitment to my writing” and then chalk it up to the effects of the NaNoWriMo phenomenon. Non writers actually tend to go, “oh, okay. I won’t bug you then.” If I alternatively, and often throughout the remainder of the year say, “Hey, that’s my writing time,” I might as well be saying, “That’s when I clip my toes” for all the understanding it gets me.
NaNoWriMo therefore is a writer’s tool and not an alternative solution to all of your writing problems.
If you have a problem with writing ideas, then you’re not trying hard enough or carrying around that notebook that I told you about… If you are not able to “find the time” to write, think about all the time you found for NaNoWriMo and translate that into every month of the year. That’s a lot of time. Now, in that I don’t mean that you should go overboard and attempt to write 50,000 words every month, but there is room to write about 20,000 words. At about 600 words a day, which equates to about 30-40 minutes of typing, you can complete 20,000 words in a month. That’s 240,000 a year! In order to find the time to do this, you need to make writing a priority. If you don’t, I do not blame you as it is a commitment. If you have other hobbies you put first such as wood turning, quilting, bead work, and so forth then it is understandable that you don’t have any room for writing. For me, writing-beyond work and children, is a major commitment in my life.
In fact, I have another blog that will open soon and you will see exactly what I have in mind for it at the end of November. This one will focus on all the tips and tricks to content creation that I have developed over the years and this blog will continue to be a part of my writing journey. For those less interested in my personal stories and more interested in the writing tools, tricks and tips, you’ll want to visit it. I will post its location here on the 30th of November to close off NaNoWriMo.
So while all of you will be unwinding from NaNoWriMo I will be winding up to a new project. Wish me luck…