Erin Green Author - blog
Firstly, I have no idea how many parts there will be to this topic. I've literally written it a step at a time as I reflect upon my own journey pinpointing mistakes I made and errors which held me back.
Who knows how many parts - I made many errors!!!
A significant moment for me which I waited too long before arranging was a 'room of ones own' (Woolf). Firstly, please don't take that phrase literally that every writer must have a specific room in which to write but, in general we each need to find our 'spot', a place whether it be the kitchen table, the library, the local coffee shop or yes, like me a writing room of my own. I'm a person who likes to define things in my life (but that's another story).
I used to write in the corner of the dining room on a tiny table. It gave me a 'space' defined by my writing and I would happily sit for hours tapping away on my laptop. I wrote my first book in that corner which took six years so, I'm grateful for that. I couldn't have another spot in the house because I had four step-children visiting and so bedrooms were quite rightly allocated to them for their home comforts, toys, private space etc. You immediately realise that my living space could be quiet and empty with just two adults in the house and then suddenly busy and loud when four children visited for weekends and holidays. A mixed bag around which I would plan my writing.
Anyway, my little formica table, with it's wobble chair, did the job. But the job was made harder by its location - the world and his wife seemed to walk past me via their route to the kitchen. I have to 'pack away' when the dining room table was needed for six bodies. I could hear every TV programme watched in the lounge and, I saw my little corner 24/7 as I moved about the house. When I 'saw it' but was unable to sit at it - I felt sad. When I 'saw it' be didn't want to sit at it - I felt guilty for doing another task. It was as if my little writing table called my name every time I walked past - it wasn't a positive spot.
Roll on a few years, and anyone who has step-children will tell you things change regards visits and whatnots. Anyway things changed and we had less bodies needing our bedrooms at weekends. I claimed possession of the smallest one. I can't tell you how excited I was but I know the date in which I moved in 3rd January 2013! Seriously, it was like a little piece of heaven. Yes, its the box room, the baby room in most houses but it was mine. It had a door, a window and everything! I'm sitting in it right now. I was so thrilled, I even purchased from Ebay a sign for my room then added another sign when I was published (see photos).
My little room has made the world of difference to me. And I understand myself well enough to know it is linked to my psychology. As I said earlier I like defined spaces: writing space, reading chair, yoga space - a colleague of mine pointed out that I always sit in the same seat during our department meetings - yeah, I know, that's me. By now, I'd purchased a beautiful old desk so that took pride of place, I filled the room with bookcases, wicker baskets and writing stuff (which mainly means paper) and lots of stationery (addiction alert to any aspiring author). I thought the main success would be the silence enabling me to write. Wrong. I found that my productivity increased no end not because of the silence and less traffic walking past and bumping me chair every three minutes but the fact that my writing room became like the Narnia wardrobe. Whenever I entered the door, I picked up where I had left off from. Whether it was planning post-it notes scattered upon the floor - which I could now simply leave in position or sitting down to pick up the last sentence. The psychology of entering the room, sitting and doing was a repetitive habit and it worked for me. It still works six years on and after five published books. Nothing else happens in my writing room other than my book writing/planning/editing - oh, and sleeping by my dog, who is usually curled up on the wicker chair.
Anything pinned to the wall, standing on my desk or piled on the floor inspires me to write. I have bric-a-brac objects which I have found and collected so, I have to have a 'muck out' every now and then but the inside of my writing room kind of mimics the inside of my head. If I pause for a minute from writing, view the contents of my writing room something will catch my eye that pushes me to return to the keyboard. I have nonsense stuff around me: a china dog which sat on my nan's mantlepiece, a cotton reel produced by Sylko the colour is called 'Erin Green', a ceramic lion who I call Aslam, a rusty key, a photo of my great-grandparents and a bulbous sand glass all sit before my eyes at this precise moment.
I visit this room everyday. Sometimes I can spend all day in here tapping away on the keyboard other days I am in and out in two hours job done, free to go elsewhere. But my writing room helps me to write. And when I am done, I simply get up, leave and close the door until next time. The beauty being that I don't feel anything negative, sad or guilty about my writing room which is how I sometime felt about the dining room spot.
In recent months, I've stayed at various places and so have had to choose a new spot for a week or two. I have found that the kitchen table also works for me, the local cafe on other occasions. If it is 'your spot' you will sink into that creative zone and be way with the faries in no time. If it's not 'your spot' you can't enter Narnia because you can't tune out from the surrounding noise, bodies and life which is bumping past your chair.
I was about to photograph my writing room but it is requires a 'muck out' so, I can't frighten you with such a sight. I'll simply photograph the top section of my desk instead - chaos!