Writing in the Winter

Today I find myself missing my hammock. I brought it indoors and stowed it for the winter a few weeks ago when the weather turned cold. The patio with it’s fire pit is still available, but sitting out there is not ideal for writing. Typing with gloved hands doesn’t work well and the smell of wood smoke permeates handwritten pages in a way that lingers. I’m left seeking an indoor setting that invites me into a writing head space.

I began the work of setting up such a space late last winter when I acquired a faux-fireplace heater for a corner of my office. It does make the spot feel a little cozier, but the minute I photograph it, everything feels shabby, dated, cobbled together.

Even worse is what I’m looking at when I sit in that chair.

It is a jumble of clutter that needs to be cleaned up, remnants of completed projects, storage, and piles of to-do items. Considering the insights I gained while watching Stay Here on Netflix, I’m absolutely failing at creating a space where my writer self can enter and instantly feel welcomed.

So I have work to do and I have some limiting parameters for the project. My ideal writing space would be a room with a large window, flooded with natural light. It would be a room that is fully mine, no one else in my house would use it for anything. In the short term I have to work with what exists rather than wishing for what doesn’t. So, my options are: 1. The pictured basement office which is mostly mine, but has no windows and is a passage way for some family members. 2. My bedroom which has a window, but no room for a chair/desk and is shared with Howard whose work process often includes taking naps mid-day. 3. The front room which has a window, but which is in the middle of everything and people frequently wander in and start talking to me. Each of these options require compromises away from my ideal and other compromises so that I don’t cause problems for the other people living in my house. The best option to create a space for me to focus and be less interrupted is my basement office.

Having identified the work to do, and having written a blog post about intending to do it, I need to acknowledge that none of the above counts as actual writing of fiction. So for today I’m putting a pin in the project and going to my novel to try to remember what scene I was working on.