Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Writer's Studio - A Tour

...Which Studio Would That Be, Exactly?

I don't actually have a writing studio, let me admit that right away. It's entirely my fault - over the years, I have taken over every available space in our home. Twenty years ago, I created a wonderful painting and metal arts studio in my basement (photo below). Several years later, I made a ceramics studio in my former dining room (also photo below). More recently, I've stashed my sewing and leather working materials in the living room. It goes without saying that I have the most understanding husband in the world. So how can I complain about not having a writing studio? I look at it another way: I'm lucky! I don't have only one place to write - I have five of them. 

#1  At Home: The Kitchen Table
It has its advantages: It's comfortable. It's close to everything. I'm aware of what's happening with family members. My snacks and tea warmer are nearby. But by the same's the kitchen table! I'm too available. Dishes need washing and dinner needs to be started and the front door needs to be answered and the cats need attention - and just look at that mess on the counter behind me. The kitchen table is right in the middle of family life and sometimes it's impossible to keep distractions at bay.
Writing At Home - The Kitchen Table

#2  At Home: In the Guest Bedroom
When things get too distracting in the kitchen, I take myself upstairs to the bedroom my daughter vacated when she moved out ten years ago. It's now the guest room, so that can be problematic at times. Also problematic is the view out the window. In the above photo, you can clearly see the neighbor's walkway to their house. A couple of weeks ago, I was writing but I kept noticing that their dog - a large, fluffy, sweet thing - was loose. Aw. Look. She's wandering around. Don't they see her? Isn't someone going to lead her back home? No? Really? There is no-one out there? She's heading down the block! Where is our neighbor? (Sigh. Harrumph. Sigh.) So I went out and retrieved her and took her home, which pretty much put an end to writing that afternoon.

Writing At Home - In My Daughter's Old Bedroom

#3  At Home: In Bed
Sometimes the story just won't stop, and I have to drag my laptop into bed with me. I have a nifty little table on legs that I set it on, and it works just fine for a couple of hours or until my back starts complaining. The mouse (I hate the touch pad on my laptop) is more problematic - the lap table is too small for it, so I have to prop it on a book on the bed itself. That works pretty well, as long as one of my five cats doesn't bat it around as if it were a real mouse. In the photo, you can barely make out Felix, our white-and-orange long-hair. He's to the right of the mouse, in perfect batting position.

Writing At Home - In Bed

#4  Out and About: Zoka
I love this place. I try to go there a couple times a week, and I like to stay for around three hours a session. I have my favorite table (the one in the photo). It's to the left of the entrance, and is perfectly situated by a convenient electrical outlet. The light from the huge window doesn't cast a glare on my laptop screen if I inch the table a bit out from the wall. It's perfect. I can people-watch. And I can put my plate of flour-less chocolate cake on the windowsill, as you can see in the picture. It's all so, so nice. 

Two days ago, when I was writing at Zoka, I asked the the very nice barista who manages the place to take this photo of me during a pause between her customers. After the photo was taken, I wrote an entire chapter of my novel - and the new material was keepers, quality stuff. I was so pleased!

At the Coffee Shop - Zoka
(Prime Intrepid Eavesdropper Location No. 1)

#5  Out and About: Starbucks in the Hospital Lobby
I find myself at this coffee shop once a week, on Tuesday mornings. The place is small enough that I get grumpy if I don't get my favorite table by the potted palm. I wasn't so lucky in this photo. A steady stream of people pass by, which can be either interesting or distracting, depending on my mood and on how my writing is going. On very special occasions, a friend of mine who works at the hospital can pry herself away from her post and join me for a quick break.

At the Starbucks in the Hospital Lobby
(Prime Intrepid Eavesdropper Location No. 2)

Other locations:
There are other places that I occasionally will take my laptop to, such as the waiting room at the dentist's office, or to my parent's house, or to the park. But the above five "studios" are the places that I have done the bulk of my writing during the past few years.

It's funny.

Certain locations, certain tables, certain chairs even, have become associated with the scenes that I wrote at them. As clear as crystal, I remember sitting at the table to the right of the one pictured above (at the Starbucks), putting together a favorite scene where my characters were having their first banquet at the inn of Inn on the Edge. I remember sitting there, sipping the froth off my mocha, and describing luscious almond croissants ... and steaming blueberry muffins ... and buttermilk biscuits with fresh butter and honey dribbled onto them... hey. I must have been hungry at the time!

That's all for now, except for the promised photos of my metalworking studio and my ceramics area. I must go make some blueberry muffins. It seems I'm hungry all the time!

Metals Studio, With Two Cats

Ceramics Area, Also With Two Cats


  1. ohhhh emmmm geeee.
    I also don't have a writing space. I do it from my bed. Sometimes I got to B&N or to Starbucks to write. My family is cray-cray though so I wouldn't be able to write in the kitchen.

    1. Sounds familiar!! I'd love to go to B&N except that they got rid of the one near me. It had a delightful little cafe. I can't write in the kitchen either, if my grown kids are home visiting. I just can't. It's like a cyclone! Thanks for reading, Karla!

  2. I used to write in coffee shops sometimes, before we moved to the middle of nowhere. Somehow it's easier to write in a busy coffee shop than it is to write at home with my husband in the room. Go figure.

  3. It's the same for me! It must have something to do with being in a place where we aren't 'on duty'.

  4. I couldn't write in coffee shops. I got all paranoid the last time I even jotted down an idea in a Starbucks. I write mostly in a chair in the corner of my room with my laptop on a laptop desk. Or sometimes, the dining table.

    1. Hi Michelle! As long as the writing flows, it's all good! What tends to bother me is the TV. Sometimes I can't tune out certain programs. Sports are fine, but if my husband is watching a sitcom or a drama...forget it.


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