Writing Workspaces ― The Usual and the Unique

As writers, most of us have an established workspace. A space we've claimed as our own, where we can be comfortable enough to spend hours getting lost in that creative mindset we love so much. But where we write can be as individual as what we write.

When we moved into our house fifteen years ago, my husband claimed the den as his workspace (he's a computer guy and always has programming etc. on the go). As I hadn't returned to the world of writing at that point, it made sense. But later, I needed a place to call my own and we didn't have a room to repurpose with two kids and a full house. But, in the end, our spacious oak dining room table perfectly suited my needs. Located on the main floor, it's in a shared space with the kitchen and living room, allowing me to write and simultaneously cook/assist with homework/generally oversee family life. It's right in the middle of our family chaos and that makes it perfect for me. If I need privacy to work, I put on my headphones, crank up an appropriate soundtrack and off I go into my own little world. And I have the added bonus of my daughters often sharing the space with me as they crash on a living room couch with their own laptop, so writing is rarely a solitary act for me.

But what about odd spaces? We've all had moments when we've had to carve out writing time when we aren't in our usual spots. For me those spaces have been many and varied:

  • Having an idea hit hard while traveling on a family vacation and spending hours sitting in the passenger seat while my husband drove, typing madly to get the scene down before it disappeared.
  • Needing time out of the lab and finding it under a tree in the middle of the campus quad, surrounded by students lying in the grass reading or playing Ultimate Frisbee.
  • In elementary school hallways between volleyball tournament games when my youngest daughter was off-court.
  • Sitting by my mother's bedside in the ER after she broke her hip. This definitely wins the prize as the oddest spot for me. How I managed to write one of our most emotional and intimate scenes to date in the middle of that chaos and emotional turmoil is beyond me. Perhaps turning that turmoil around and pouring it into my characters really helped give it that extra emotional boost.

What about you? What space do you use for your creative pursuits and have you ever been forced to make use of the space that is handy versus the space that you've made? How successful were you in those odd spots?

Photo credit: JimboRocks