Zen, or the art of distraction?

January 29th, 2008 • Kate

We’re in a little bit of flux right now at Unfeasible Enterprises, with one home space empty and zen-like, and another waiting for the arrival of dozens of boxes to become a warm and cozy home (office). Which got me thinking about offices and writing spaces. I’ve seen writer’s rooms stuffed to the gills with books and art and inspiration, chock full of lovely distraction. And I’ve seen clean palates with bare walls and simple desks holding only a computer. Many writers have barely enough room in their lives and homes for a writing nook, let alone a whole office, but if you could have a room of one’s own, a la Virginia Woolf, what would it look like? And if you do have your own Writer’s Zone, will you share a picture? Here’s mine (at least at the moment).

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6 Responses to “Zen, or the art of distraction?”

  1. DwightWannabe Says:

    You and I are kindred spirits, Ms. Unfeasable.
    I like my workspace uncluttered and Spartan.
    Or at least I think I'd like it that way. Now if I could only get the kids to pick up their junk long enough to know for sure….

  2. Brigid Says:

    I don't have a writer's room. I write sitting on the couch, with my laptop on my lap, with my feet on the coffee table. My husband is a reality tv addict, so I will usually plug my headphones into the computer and fire up iTunes if he's sitting on the couch watching television.
    I don't really mind writing in any environment, though I hate being interrupted by the phone. (I think it's because I spend so much time on the phone at my day job.) So my ideal writing space would be without a phone. And I love writing with my headphones on. I get a lot of flack for my taste in music (I have everything from the Spice Girls, to the new Timbaland Presents CD, to Fallout Boy, to Beethoven, to CCR, to Indigo Girls, to Justin Timberlake, to MC Solaar–he's the guy who did the french rap song on the last Sex & the City episode), so writing with my headphones on lets me just listen to what I want, and not have to listen to a lot of crap from anyone.
    It's gotten to the point where I have playlists for the type of scene I'm writing. One is "Writing–Hardcore," which is for battle scenes, or high tension scenes (I suppose "hardcore" could be taken another way… :-P). Or another called, "Writing–Romantic," which is for anger filled scenes. No! I'm kidding. It's for …duh…romance.
    As you can see where this tangent has gone, for me it has nothing to do with my surroundings — and it has everything to do with the music I'm hearing.
    I do have a blog question for you, if you're pulling them from comments. At what point does no response to a query (an e-query) mean NO from an agent?
    I'm NOT referring to the highly talented Ms. Schafer, of course, as I recognize that KT Literary is just getting ready to open under a new roof, and I would never presume to pressure for a quick response under such circumstances. But say you've sent out, I don't know, 25 queries to agents who are NOT setting up a new shop. You've had some rejections, you've had some requests for partials, but there are still about ten out there that are floating with no response. Two weeks? Four? Six? When do you cut the cord and say, "Ain't gonna happen. Stop praying."? 🙂
    Thanks for the great blog.

  3. Julia Says:

    I keep threatening to turn a room in my house into an office & I know how I want that office to be…light and airy! A computer & comfortable writing chair next to a window (so I can glance outside and watch birds at the feeder.) And, it needs to be warm and quiet, except for those birds. There should be some inspirational objects to ponder – like my golden snitch, a porcelain horse, pictures of my kids and the 3-ring binder that holds my first completed novel. That would be a start…
    Currently, I write either on the dining room table (which I then have to clear off for my weekly Scrabble game) or curled up on the couch with my laptop. But, the couch spot makes it much to easy for me to grab the remote – and then not a lot of writing gets done. Fie on the couch!
    I would share a photo, but one of my daughters has borrowed my camera & I am still in the techno-dark ages with my doesn't-have-a-camera phone. Besides, my couch is not much to look at, and the table is still covered with the remains of last night's Scrabble debacle. So…let's just imagine that ideal office!

  4. Caryn Says:

    No writing space of my own right now, unfortunately, although having the run of the house does let me move from spot to spot, which can get the juices flowing. I usually end up on the family room or living room couch or at the dining room table. We have a national park nearby, however, and my favorite thing to do in the winter is to drive up to a nice overlook, park facing the sun so the windshield heats up the car, and type away. People stopping at the overlook often give me weird looks, but it works for me.

  5. Fie Eoin Says:

    My favorite writing area is the couch at home, which is funny because when we first got it I hated that couch.
    But really, I can write anywhere. And I do! I'm a hand-writer (bow down to me, computer-people, for I have hand muscles the size of which you will never achieve!) so all I need is a pen and a sheet of paper, or a sticky note 🙂 I always have at least one large and one small notebook to write in (the small one goes everywhere, and where it can't go the stickies can), and when I get home at night I type everything up.
    Actually, it’s usually days before I type everything up, which can sometimes become months, or even a year.
    But yes, the world is my writing oyster, and sticky notes are my pearls 🙂

  6. Scott Says:

    We recently moved things around to put me in a little writing room. It became necessary after a layoff left me (happily) working at home.
    I love this room, and call it my Schreibwinkel. It's about 10×10, with s small wooden table/desk, my stereo (hooked up to my laptop so my MP3s sound better), one of my bookcases (this one full of writing books and other useful stuff, plus some toys and doo-dads), some pics, posters, and certificates on the paneled walls. There are also a couple guitars in here, which I barely play, but they make a good distraction for my fingers when I need my brain to do a little work on its own.
    Usually the window has a nice view of the mountains, but I barely notice because it's behind me and high on the wall. It's a basement room, with the window just above the ground level.
    I work on a laptop, and also have a wireless printer on my file cabinet.
    And, unlike a couple of you, the room is practically defined by its clutter. But it's not mere clutter. It's MY clutter, and helps my creative mood. Toys, knick-knacks, collectibles, piles of paper, magazines, and things that make me think of stuff or remember things.
    You can see a pic of about 1/4 of it, if you want to, at http://www.scottrhoades.com/imx/den.jpg. Sorry about the glare, but it snowed all morning, so the light is bright.