When I used to teach high school creative writing, one of the first things we talked about was your writing space: where is it, what is in it, and why should you care?


Where is your writing space?

When I was a kid, my writing space was either sitting on my bed in my room or lying on the living room floor. I had no brothers or sisters so I didn’t have to worry about anyone bothering me where ever I was, and my dad was either in the basement working in his shop or working in the yard, and my mother, who was a teacher, was either grading papers, writing lesson plans, or developing teaching materials.

In college, my writing space was on my bed or at my desk in my dorm room, or I would take my things to the common space or the roof deck if it was warm enough.

My writing space became weird when I got married. My husband didn’t understand my writing, thinking it was always reality and straight forward. (His finding and reading one of my notebooks was on of the reasons we got divorced. He had read some stuff, and instead of discussing it, took it to heart and held it against me.) Then, when I had kids, there were times I needed to write in more of a personally coded language. I knew what I actually meant, but no one else would. I would write at the kitchen table when my kids did their homework.

When my oldest son graduated from college and moved into a place of his own, I took over his room as my office and writing studio. I inherited my grandfather’s work desk and squeezed it into the room. I loaded the drawers with my papers and my notebooks and resource book. But instead of keeping it just for writing, I graded papers at the desk and paid bills and wrote letters and Christmas cards and everything else.


Now, in Tennessee, I have a writing studio that is for NOTHING other than my writing. It took me a long time to realize that I needed a place where if I sat down it was TO WRITE. I have learned that if it is a shared space, I lose my focus. If it is a shared space, I could procrastinate the inevitable by just trying to get the necessary done.

new office center

So, what about your writing space? Where will it be? Where can you write and keep your pages safe and secure? Can you use the space for multiple tasks?


*LIGHTING: You want to make sure that there is adequate lighting both day and night. When I first set up my writing studio, I had my desk facing the window. I had faced the window in my previous home and had enjoyed looking out the window. This house is different. The sun coming in the windows during the late spring, summer, and early fall is too intense to face. I turned the desk and now enjoy the sun beaming down on my back when I am writing.

*WRITER TOOLS: True, the only writer tools you need are something to write with and something to write on. I have notebooks and a wide variety of types of paper and several kinds of index cards. I have a wide variety of colored pens, pencils, markers, and the like. I also use a laptop and have several flash drives. Another writer tool that I am working on learning how to use is Scrivener.

*WRITER RESOURCES: Although there is a wealth of resource material available on line, I still like the tangible aspect of the paper in my hands. Many times I can focus better on the book in my hand than on the screen of my computer.


*WRITER TOYS: I have several writer toys at my fingertips: Chinese meditation balls, a levitation ball, kaleidoscope for the world, fly eye kaleidoscope, and brain teaser manipulative puzzles. Why? Sometimes I do better thinking when my hands are doing something.

inside writer toy box
My writer’s toy box includes a kaleidoscope of the world, dragonfly eye, a second kaleidoscope, Chinese chime balls, and a small container of Playdoh.

Now that I’m finished writing for today, I think I have written this, or some form of it, before. Hopefully, this rendition is better than the previous one.






2016 has been laid to rest and 2017 has begun.

In preparation for our move in 2015, I cleaned out the old metal desk in my basement. Old papers and magazines found their way into the trash barrel; things that were no longer needed found their way into the Salvation Army box; but some things went into the boxes to be moved. In the box to move, I placed the folder with my scores on certification tests, my teaching certificates, my diplomas, my evaluations, and my contracts. Continue reading “PERSONAL WRITING CONTRACT”