Thursday, April 9, 2009

CONFESSION TIME by Sierra Donovan

Am I the only writer who's turned her home office into an emergency-cleaning storage closet?

I have this nice little room in our five-bedroom house, set aside for my writing and scrapbooking. How often do I go into it? A couple times a day ... but it's either to huck something in if it's in the way somewhere else, or to wade in, tightrope-walker-style, to get something out.

This is not easy to do. In my hasty visits, I've managed to stack the floor with papers I keep meaning to go through, stacks of books I keep meaning to read (or at least shelve), stacks of magazines and sacks of outgrown clothes waiting to go to the thrift store. Stray Christmas decorations I haven't been able to fit into the closet. A whole box of rough drafts of chapters from my first, unfinished book (which should never see the light of day anyway!).

Whose fault is this? Mine. Shame, shame, shame.

A few years ago my husband and I spent a whole week cleaning out the room together, putting up shelves to support my burgeoning supply of books. Then Christmas came, and I started stashing things in there "temporarily" for those quick company clean-ups. Later, my husband's aunt passed away, leaving behind some family keepsakes that we don't quite know what to do with, but don't quite have the heart to throw away. Soon those boxes were joined by those other boxes and stacks mentioned above. If I didn't know better, I'd suspect the stuff was breeding when I wasn't looking.

I'm not sure if this says more about the priority I've given to my writing, or my borderline(?!) obsessive-compulsive packrat tendencies. But I do know that tons of women would give anything for a home large enough, and a husband accommodating enough, to provide her with a space of her own.

If there's a moral to this -- and I'd better have one -- it's that we need to take our work seriously if we expect anyone else to. This includes clearing out the necessary time to accomplish our writing goals, as Fran McNabb discussed on this blog Tuesday. It also means finding the necessary space to work in. For some of us, that might be a table at Starbucks ... a nice bench outside in good weather ... even a comfy chair or table in the heart of the house, if that works out with the Muse. And if we have a coveted office, we'd better maintain it, by golly, or clear the space for someone else who needs it!

Sierra Donovan is the author of LOVE ON THE AIR and MEG'S CONFESSION, both available from Avalon books. Her website is


Debby Mayne said...

You really hit home with this post, Sierra! I've noticed that as soon as I start a pile of clutter, it grows exponentially!

I agree about respecting our writing time and space. That should be every writer's priority.

Heidi Ashworth said...

Stuff multiples like rabbits. The computer at which I write, blog, email, etc. is right in the living room by the TV so the path to it is generally clear. It's a good thing!

Carol Hutchens said...

Hi Sierra!
Respect is the key word here, isn't it...respect for your talent, skill, dreams and your time. Thanks for the reminder.

LaVerne St. George said...

Thanks for the images, Sierra! I could just see you navigating the piles of papers and boxes. I agree with all the comments here. If you don't give yourself the space, the time to write, then maybe you don't take yourself seriously. Maybe you really don't want to write. It's something to consider when your life overruns a dream. I'm rethinking my time and space!

Elisabeth Rose said...

Since our kids left home my husband and I have a spare room each. What a treat! He calls his 'the cave', mine's the smaller of the two but it's cosy, has the main computer, my desk, a spare bed to put stuff on, is closer to the kitchen ( cups of tea and the fridge :)) and has a window to the front garden. I can see Russell the postie coming with contracts and cheques. LOL
Rather a nuisance when one of the beloved children wants to visit but we'd never tell them that!

CatMom said...

Oh my...when did you visit my home?! LOL!! I could so relate to this post (sadly) and I'll be the first to admit I'm a packrat (I blame it on teaching school for 21 years--you don't want to throw anything out because an art project could be created from it!). But now that we have an extra bedroom, it's a matter of me taking the time(and determination) to clear out the room (it would be a perfect writing office/craft room for me!). Anyway, thanks for sharing this post(I'm really enjoying this blog, Ladies!) Blessings, Patti Jo :)

Anonymous said...

Well, today my office moved often. 1st was Starbuck's for a MasterMind partner meeting on honing our skills and goals. 2nd was the Tire store fixing my car. 3rd was a bead shop detailing my new line of jewelry. 4th was Debbie's house from Pamba Toto Jewelry to diagram and work out more details. And couch as I catch up with business emails. In all the switching, I wrote/edited almost 3 full chapters of the companion journal for Insanity Rules: Gems of Wisdom and threw my imagination into critiquing the Gems of Wisdom jewelry. I feel accomplished today and I was never even in my home office.