Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Where to Write

Photo credit: Luis Llerena via
More than twenty years ago, I left a full-time job as a school counselor in one district to take a part-time job as a school counselor in a neighboring district. A foreshadowing of decision that I'd make nearly twenty years later, it was the first step in pursuing my dream of writing for publication.

Actually, it was my sister who suggested that I use my newfound day off to write. Aside from her family and her own writing, it was one of the best ideas she ever had.

At first, I wrote at the dining room table in our apartment. To call it a "dining room" is generous; our scarred table and chairs took up most of the space in the eating area off the kitchen, but there was enough room for me and my word processor. I wrote articles for magazines, submitting them (unsolicited) to editors and receiving many rejection letters, but the occasional acceptances I found in the daily (snail) mail were enough to sustain my enthusiasm.

We bought a house a few years later, and I turned the downstairs bedroom into an office. The decor was a throwback to the 1970s, but I had an entire room to myself. Our first computer, complete with dial-up Internet access, soon graced the desk, rendering my word processor obsolete.

Then came motherhood. Initially, my office became a dumping ground for all things deemed off-limits to a baby, but then, a few years later, we turned the room into a playroom. The desk was relegated to the basement, my books replaced by my daughter's books, my photos put aside as her artwork graced the walls. Finding writing time was hard, and while that bothered me a little, my writing time quickly became less important than my mommy time.

Eventually, we enclosed a side porch off the living room, a decision my daughter has still not completely forgiven me for. In so doing, we created a new office, one we all shared at first. Over time, the room became my writing space, although I probably wrote just as frequently in other places -- sometimes at Starbucks, but most often in the car, while waiting for my daughter to finish an activity. Those were the years that taught me how to write in small snippets of time.

The office has continued to evolve, and it's truly my space now, but being home alone on weekdays has made me more nomadic. Some days I write in the office, but I'm also likely to work in the living room, the playroom (now a man cave) or at my trusty standby, the dining room table. Other days, I go to Starbucks where I can get away from all the distractions of home, and I can work on only what I've packed in my bag.

The places have changed. The tools have changed. Even the genres have changed.

But the writing has remained constant.

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