Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Who Placed and Having a Writing Place and Time

Received Votes for First Place
Alyssa Liljequist
Rye Mason
Rebecca Pennefather

Received Votes for Second Place
Jordan Newhouse (Received two votes)
Monica Burke

Received Votes for Third Place
Courtney Calvert
Katie Scheidhauer
Avery Wall

Honorable Mentions
Sammie Weiss
Justin Jones
Monica Burke (also placed second)

Congratulations to everyone! Tomorrow I'll try to have some of the winning entries posted.

Before I forget, if your name is Anna and you entered to win Trish Perry's book ... you won, but I don't have an email address for you. Please email me!

Today we're talking about the importance of having a designated time and place to do your writing.

I'm a schedule girl. So in an ideal world, I would have a set writing time and place. I would write every morning from 9 to 1 or so in my office. The afternoon would be for blogging, marketing, running errands, or whatever.

But with small kids underfoot, I'm at the "take what I can get" stage of my life, and if you're in school or working, so are you, right?

As a kid, this was my "office":

In case you can't tell, it's a lap desk. Those top two compartments hold pens, and the desk part opens up too. It holds a decent amount of paper, and back when I did my writing in notebooks and on loose leaf, it was ideal. I also had one of those expandable file thingies that held all my different stories, but I must have thrown it out a while ago because it's not in my closet.

In high school, this was frequently my office:

Although my hair looks too good for this to have been taken during high school... Might have been a year or two after I graduated. Anyway. This is a picture of me on vacation. Don't I look like a blast to travel with?

We're at my Nana and Papa's house in California. I did some of my best writing at that table because the coffee was always fresh, the refrigerator was stocked with candy bars, and there were very few distractions.

But once I grew serious about writing, I definitely needed a place of my own.

In On Writing, Stephen King says:

I wrote my first two published novels, Carrie and 'Salem's Lot, in the laundry room of a doublewide trailer, pounding away on my wife's portable Olivetti typewriter and balancing a child's desk on my thighs ... The space can be humble (probably should be, as I think I've already suggested), and it really needs only one thing: a door which you are willing to shut. The closed door is your way of telling the world and yourself that you mean business; you have made a serious commitment to write and intend to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

While I can write anywhere - at my kitchen counter, on an airplane, outside while my kiddos play - ultimately I write faster and better here:

I also highly recommend designated writing hours. Some of you talk about getting up early to write, which is awesome. Some of you are night people, so do it then. It's figuring out what works best for you. And it doesn't mean that you can't or won't write at other times of the day, just that these are the hours you've specifically carved out so your writing doesn't get shuffled into the background of everyday life.

I have to quote something else from Stephen King about writing hours, because I just can't resist, and there's no way I can say it better:

Don't wait for the muse ... Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you're going to be every day from nine 'til noon or seven 'til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he'll start showing up, chomping his cigar and making his magic.

Let me know - do you have a designated writing time and place? Do you feel the need or desire for a closed door, or are you more of a write-amidst-the-chaos kind of person? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


  1. LOL, I love the image of a muse being a cigar-chomping man instead of a woman. ;-)

    I can honestly say I've never had the luxury of a shut door. Shutting the door seems to be an invitation for my kids to bang on it, LOL. I spent many, many years working at whatever table is handy, and I still do on many days. I'll take any moment I can for writing, which means banging out a few paragraphs on the kitchen counter while dinner simmers, on the table downstairs while the kids are watching TV, or, my favorite, at my desk in the school room while they're playing or sleeping.

    I treasure the quiet times, but I'll settle for any time I can get! And since I keep my muse happy with coffee and chocolate, she can be found at my house most days. =)

  2. Right now, my writing place is in my collage age brother's room. But my older sister is moving home this fall and she'll be taking over that room. I don't know what will happed. I have a desk in my room, but it's not big enough for my old, thick screen computer. Hopefully I can get my parents to buy me a flat screen or a bigger desk! :{

    As for a writing time, I'm homeschooled, so I try write every day after I finish school, and then some days before school or right before I go to bed.

    Thanks for the great post Mrs. Morrill and congrats to all the winners. Maybe my name will be up there next week.


  3. I"m a door shutter and I like to write in the afternoon.
    I don't have a designated space but I like to write on my alphasmart, it cuts down the internet distraction but you can't edit on it. and this other one is weird but I love the bag i have for my alphasmart. It's soo pretty, it is a deep pink and faux crocodile. I get exctied to see it and get it out to write!

  4. I love to write outside on my front porch (especially in the Spring). I write much better in peace and quiet. And as for when I do it, I don't really have a set time. I just do it whenever I can catch an hour of peace.

  5. Roseanna, I read an interview with Jodi Picoult where she said she doesn't believe in writer's block because she's never had the luxury. She has 3 kids, I think, and received her first contract around the time the first one was born. For a long time she wrote in whatever snatches of time she could, so obviously it can work out just fine!

    Sarah, those old computers take up a lot of room! And I find persistence definitely pays off with writing. I'm glad to hear you've found a writing time that works for you.

    Tonya, isn't it funny how just having something cute can be inspiring? Although the first week or so that my office renovations were done, I barely wrote a word because I was so excited about how great everything looked.

    Sananora, my parents have a screened in deck that's glorious to write on. Fresh air is wonderful for the creating process!

  6. I write when the mood strikes me. Usuall I can write whereever if the mood is there.