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Designing a Functional Writing Space for the Easily Distracted Writer


I know. I know. What have you been doing these past few month? Clearly, I've made no additions to my blog. Just like everyone else, life gets in the way.

Vacations, the building of a walk-in closet, and numerous other things peppered the summer we declared would be quiet, relaxing and non-eventful. We say that every summer and it has yet to happen.

However, the main reason I've been MIA is that I've been writing, writing, and writing. Quietly, the last few months, I've been working with a publisher who decided to publish a series I'm working on.


The problem turned out to be the editor wanted to see the manuscript for the second book in the series.

I panicked. I wasn't afraid of the story being terrible. It couldn't possibly be that horrible because I'd only written the first four chapters.

So I had to disappear in order to finish a 50,000 word manuscript in a few weeks. Problem is, I'm the "squirrel, oohh shiny things" person.

For a long time, I sat my laptop on the kitchen table and worked. Land of distraction. If he availability of food, and the mess that needed cleaned wasn't distracting enough, the laundry and parrot food crumbs all over the living room was quite visible from my kitchen. For the clean freaks out there, I recommend you don't get a parrot. One of their favorite games is seeing how far they can throw food.

Just wasn't working out well.

So I bought a new/old very cool desk. I cleaned out and straightened the room originally designated to be for writing and our auto racing museum.

If you check out the photo, you'll see the things that keep me in writing mode.

First, the desk itself replaced a twenty-year old computer desk with no drawers. Now I have drawers to hold the stuff that was stuffed into open shelves. Even for a mess monger like me, having somewhere to put things is amazing.

While this desk top may look like a mess to some, to me, stuff helps me through the process. The box on the right holds a lot little things I love, but not quite sure what to do with them. We have parrots, so the stuffed parrot was a gift. The jester on a stick came from an old Mardi Gras float by way of a visit to New Orleans and passed from someone to me.

The hand-heart picture is a sticker I give away to readers. I've also kind of adopted the photo as my brand. The Florida postcard, well you know, it's Florida. The receipt is a task to complete. If you visit McAlister's and accept your paper receipt, you can fill out an online survey and get a free cookie on the next visit or while waiting for a carry-out order. The cookies are fabulous, and I go to McAlister's usually once a week just for iced tea, so I have a constant source of these cookies.

I have a thing for snow globes, and this one is special. My husband knows how much I love castles. He gave this one to me for Christmas many years ago, and it always sits in plain view when I write. The music is the theme from the movie Ice Castles, which was a love story. The castle itself is starting to tilt a little, but will always be a home for my memories.

I used the metal board for inspirational notes during National Novel Writing Month. The November event's purpose is to motivate writers to write. During NaNo, I finished the novel which will be the first in the upcoming series. Now, a photo from the Writers on the River event adorns the board now and reminds me what a great group of people authors can be.

Maybe one of the most important things on this desk that helps me write is the reed basket. The basket I bought in Hawaii, but the cards and bookmarks inside are from members of Indiana Romance Writers of America. So many of the members played a huge role in me taking the plunge into fiction writing. When I get stuck, I pull out the swag in the basket, read the names, and understand dedication.

When writing a book, other books are indispensable. Grammar, synonyms, and other help books all reside on my desk offering advice and helping me catch stupid mistakes.

The notebook with the colored tabs is a new thing I'm trying...writing down goals and tasks to be completed. So far, the experiment is progressing, although I don't hold out a lot of hope I can stay with it. Joining the inability to clean gene, the planning and organizational genes were damaged at my conception.

That's why I fall into the category of a pantser...meaning I write by the seat of my pants with little or no planning or plotting of a book before I begin. I have a general outline in my head, but that's about as far as it gets, but I'm willing to try just a little planning.

The pictures on the wall are a few of the tons of items we that relate to the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar racing. For seventeen years, I wrote about the race and shot photos, and even if I don't get to continue, I have some awesome memories and inspiration to keep going with this current gig.

I have no idea what other people need. I'm pretty good friends with clutter. We're all different, but these things make me happy and relaxed and able to sit down to create my worlds.

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