Where do you write?
People ask me this alot, perhaps because several bestselling authors live in my town, one of whom writes regularly in the Camden Deli (or at least he used to.)
Not me. I could never, ever, write in a public place in my hometown, simply because, unlike the famous guy, I wouldn't get anything written. You see, he's one of those reclusive kinds of writers, so people leave him alone. I, on the other hand, am Little Miss Friendly, and people know me and like to chat. Unless I'm out of state, I need to get my pages done in private.
When we first moved to Camden, we owned and ran a ten-room inn. I created a tiny room up in the attic with old-fashioned flowered wallpaper and a desk that just barely fit under the eave. It was perfect -- the quintessential writer's garret, a place where I could escape from my toddlers and the inn's guests, and I loved it. When we sold the inn and moved to our old farmhouse, we built a loft in the master bedroom (formerly the barn) accessed by one of those sliding library ladders, and that was my writing space. Plenty of room to spread out, to keep files, to hang bulletin boards with ideas and inspiring quotes. Camden Harbor sparkled in the distance and I felt completely cut off from the rest of the house.
Too cut off.
Although I wrote all my non-fiction stuff in that loft, including Moving to Maine and Where to Retire in Maine (Down East Books) I abandoned this space when I began writing fiction. Why? I found it hard to concentrate up there because I was too removed from the "heart" of the house. I'd hear a noise from two flights below and get distracted. The dog would start barking and I'd wonder why. A knock on the door and I was flying down the ladder. You get the picture.
By now my little kids were young adults. The boys were off at college, my daughter walked to school, and my husband left each morning for his office downtown. I got myself a little desk and set up shop in our country kitchen, as close as I could to the woodstove. The sounds of the day -- occasional cars going by, the foghorn in the harbor, someone using a lawn mower or leaf blower -- blend into a pleasant hum of background noise. I find that I don't need as much space to write fiction as I did for non-fiction, so it works out just great. One small file cabinet suits me nicely.
In the summer, I do move around a bit. More people are coming and going here -- my oldest son is home, my daughter's out of school -- so I keep myself flexible. On
beautiful summer days, like yesterday, I sit on our front porch and write. When I have a good chunk of time, I'll grab my laptop and drive 25 minutes to our camp (that is Mainerspeak for lakeside cottage) and pound out the words there.
My writing "studio" at our camp reminds me of that attic garret. It's very bare bones, and, like that attic room, all mine. The little outbuilding was once the boys' bunkhouse, and last year I removed the bunkbeds and had a new window and screen door (an old one I found at a yardsale) put in. I head out here, make myself work, work, work, and then reward myself with a walk and a swim. Obviously it's only useable for a few months here in Maine!
Where do you write? The thing I love most about fiction is that you can really do it anywhere. You can solve story problems while walking the dog. Create characters while waiting for tardy clients. And when you have to sit down and get words on the page, that can happen just about anyplace.
Unless you are Little Miss Friendly.