Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Workspace, Part II

A while back, Lee Goldberg ran a hugely successful post on the topic of a writer's workspace. There was a huge variety of photographic responses, one of which included mine.

This time I'm coming at the workspace issue from a different angle.

Now that I have plenty of time on my hands for writing, and a laptop that's willing to travel, I find that my workspace is constantly changing. When I worked in an office, carting my laptop around for lunchtime sessions, then writing again in my study at night, it was easy to keep inspiration flowing. I never felt claustrophobic or trapped in the same place, because that place was always on the move.

But now I don't like writing in my study.

It seems more difficult to get started each day, probably because I'm spending more time at home, in the same environment, and I'm going a little stir crazy. I try to give myself missions to perform during the day, such as Go To Shop And Buy A Coke, or Walk Around The Block To Avoid Deep-Vein Thrombosis.

Today I tried, Take The Laptop To The Library.

I woke up groggy this morning and it took hours to get myself into action, but when I did, I thought, hey, I really should return those massively overdue library books. So I had a shower (remember, only when absolutely necessary), filled up the backpack, and sauntered through the streets of Newtown.

When I arrived at the library, I shoved my books into the chute that says, "Please Return ALL Books Through Chute", found a desk, pulled out my lappie and settled into work mode.

I spent the next couple of hours painfully snipping away redundant characters and subplots, bringing down the total length of my novel to around 50K, down from 65K. This will allow me to concentrate on the characters left behind, add some more relevant internal reflection, and work with an overall cleaner plot.

At some point, I felt compelled to finish my work as quickly as possible, but wasn't sure why until I let my mind wander from the story.

Libraries are supposed to be quiet places, sanctuaries for study.

So why would you bring a baby to one?

The jarring sounds of that baby's manic and endless crying reverberated through my skull, combining with the caffeine and artificial sweeteners in my Coke Zero. The final effect was too much. I packed up my gear and skedaddled.

Grumble, grumble. I'll stick to my kitchen next time.

4 comments:

Jeroen said...

Oh, no, the piercing screams of a baby, guaranteed to break the concentration and throw the line of thought into a random series of s-bends. Bleurgh!
Hope your cats aren't too talkative! ;)

Daniel Hatadi said...

I knew I could get you to comment if I mentioned laptops.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

You didn't just kill the baby? And you call yourself a crime writer.

M said...

I promise it wasn't me. I leave the baby in the cupboard when I go to the library :D