For the last three and a half months, life in my house has been pretty hectic. My sister has been living with us since May, and at the end of July she became a grandmother for the first time. A few days later, her daughter ended up back in the hospital for some very serious postpartum complications. I played nanny to the baby while mom and grandma were dealing with doctors and nurses, and turned my would-be study into a nursery – complete with a crib, bed for me, and all the things babies need. Here’s my new great-niece: After my niece got out of the hospital, she and her boyfriend came to stay with us for a few days, as she was too weak from her ordeal to provide 24/7 care for herself and her newborn daughter. They stayed for three months. During that time, I put my dining room table and chairs in the basement and turned the dining room into a combination sewing and writing space.
This was problematic for a few reasons, but mostly because my house has one of those god-awful “open floor plans” everybody swoons over these days. Doors are good, people. Doors are VERY good. The constant barrage of dog barking and “mom, mom, MOM” and people commenting on my song choices while getting a snack from the fridge wasn’t particularly conductive to good writerly productivity.
But for family, we endure. For the well being of my niece and her baby, and for my sister’s piece of mind that her daughter and granddaughter were being cared for, it was well worth the sacrifice.
At the beginning of the month, my niece moved back out, and I reclaimed the nursery for my study once more. I decided to give the place a new look, though, since it had always been more of a spare room than an actual study. After three months of noise and interruptions, having a space dedicated solely to writing seemed so like heaven that I couldn’t imagine just putting up with the under-water blue my husband had asked me to paint the room back when it housed our dusty home gym stuff.
Introducing my new writing space!
The walls are a soothing Toffee Cruch, sort of a buttery honey color. Warm and inviting, and I no longer feel like I’m drowing under the sea. The desk area contains all the essentials and overlooks my back yard, which is a riot of fall color at the moment. To the left you can see my “diversion station” – TV with DVR and 140 channels or so, XBox 360, and an iPod stereo housing an eclectic selection of the finest Otis Redding, Audioslave, Muse, CCR and more. That black thing in front of the printer table is my magnetic resistance peddler – the foundation of my heart rehab program. It keeps me strong for those long marathon writing sessions.
In the other corner, I have a reclining chair, for lounging around with my netbook or watching the boob tube. The white board station and book shelf help me keep track of pesky details – like which characters I’ve managed to kill off already – and on the corner you don’t see I’ve got a bulletin board for even more notes.
But the best part of this whole set up isn’t pictured here. You all know what it looks like, and you may even have one for your own writing space. It’s the biggest tool in my productivity arsenal, and the object of my obsession these last three months. A door.
I adore my family and my puppies and the crazy, hectic, and oftentimes deafening racket they produce. Just not so much when I’m trying to write that pivotal emotional scene where the MC reveals his fear of chinchillas… Um, see what I mean about distractions?