After my most recent “oh my god I totally can’t write a novel!” crisis (I’m still having them more often than I’d like, but not often enough to stop me), I looked at my desk (and my whole bedroom, where my desk lives). And I cringed at the piles of random papers, DVD’s, CD’s, and miscellaneous debris that had collected on and inside it. Of course I couldn’t write there. Of course I couldn’t think coherently about my plot, or hear my characters’ voices. My environment was thundering with chaos. Clutter, for me, is like noise; and I have been mostly living in clutter for all my life. No wonder my thoughts are muddled. Or maybe my chaos is the result of muddled thoughts? Chicken or the egg, doesn’t really matter; as within, so without, and vice versa. So I undertook an ambitious week-long organization project, beginning with my bedroom, and especially my desk.
The results were immediate and kind of miraculous. I wanted to be in my room. I wanted to be at my desk, in front of my computer, in my little haven of chaos and order and beauty. I could hear myself think. Mmmmmmm.
I don’t imagine all writers (or artists) need an orderly environment in which to create. Maybe if I wasn’t still trying to get my creative feet under me, I wouldn’t need it either. But it sure has made a difference in my process already. Let’s all take a moment to admire it, shall we?
I am endlessly fascinated by glimpses of how other writers write, and of where they write. And I don’t think I’m the only voyeuristic writer out here; consider the book Writer’s Desk by Jill Krementz, with photos of 56 writers at work.
Where do you write? I’d love to see. To inspire you, here are some other pictures of where writer’s write:
- Terri Windling has an entire series of photos of her various studios and writing spaces throughout her adult life here.
- The Guardian did a series on writer’s rooms earlier this year.
- You can see fantasy and sci fi writer’s in their natural habitat at Where I Write.
- Those witty interns over at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) did a series of “Where I Write” entries.