When I came across the part in Stephen King’s On Writing where he discusses how each writer should have his/her own writing space, I thought, huh—yeah, that’s what I need. A nice space conducive to writing. So I set up a little office in the spare bedroom of our house.
And I LOVE this space. I mean, it has my favorite of everything–my favorite paintings and photography on the walls, shelves full of books, postcards with images of young Elvis, a Johnny Cash bumper sticker, and weird little vases and art pieces I’ve picked up here and there…basically a bunch of little things that are very much me. Also, a nice desk, a comfortable chair, and office supplies of every kind (uh, I have a sort of strange obsession with office supplies). In short, this is the most comfortable, inspiring, perfect writing space I could create. So, where do I write?
That’s right. Everyday, instead of plopping myself down in my comfy chair, I head out to Starbucks. There, I write at a small, round, wooden table that fits little more than my laptop, sit in a somewhat uncomfortable chair, and am surrounded by strangers whose conversations I have to drown out by plugging earbuds in place and listening to different playlists. And why? Why do I go here where I raise eyebrows as I talk/laugh/grunt to myself and type away? Why do I go here to suffer the strange looks I get from people when I look up and around, searching for the right word, but perhaps have a look on my face that could be interpreted as an unfriendly glare. Why do I go here when I have the best writing space I can possibly imagine back at home? Good question.
At first, this puzzled me. I used to think it was because at Starbucks, it’s impossible for me to get sidetracked doing a load of laundry or dishes. But let’s get real, I can talk myself out of doing those things pretty easily. The truth is, I write here precisely because it’s NOT my favorite place. Because it’s not super comfy. Because I can’t look at a picture of Elvis or Johnny Cash bumper sticker and suddenly focus all my efforts into making a new kickass playlist. Because, I can’t browse through my books and decide which one to reread next. Because I can’t make a necklace (or whole collection of jewelry) out of paper clips. Because there’s nothing else for me to do at Starbucks other than…write. And when I’m stuck, I force myself to sit there and think until I get unstuck. And well, the smell of coffee in the air is kind of nice, so maybe that’s part of it, but also, I’m kind of convinced that there is something in this particular establishment that just makes it easier for me to write. Not a muse, or anything like that—just…something that helps me keep at it. Know what I mean? So even though it’s not how I imagined or planned, and even though I do use my intended writing space on occasion, this is my real writing space–this is where I do my best writing.
Where’s yours? Does it have that something that helps you write?
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