I now have an office! We settled into our new house and bedroom number 3 has been designated Janet’s Office. The number one reason for this is that I now work from home – the Day Job requires 5 to 6 hours on the computer so I can link into the office computers back on The Prairies. Technology is an amazing thing! And because of those hours and my need for an actual desk, telephone, good chair, the decision was easy. I even got to paint my office walls a beautiful lilac color!
The Day Job then becomes the Non-Paying Job – my writing career sandwiched in-between the paying job, the household chores, the shopping, the socializing, the reading, the running, the blogging…well, you get the picture. And sometimes sitting in my lovely office where remnants of the Day Job are visible left, right and center I have a hard time getting started on the writing or staying focused.
Even if you aren’t working from home and your office isn’t a catch-all for all things data-management related, it can be hard to focus. Perhaps you don’t have an office, but use the end of the dining room table (clearing it away every night in order to feed the masses). Or a favorite chair in the living room where, again, you must put everything away or threaten those present within an inch of their life that if they touch anything they will meet an untimely and, most likely, horrific death. Some of you are holed up in a cold, drafty basement under artificial light, toes going numb and worried about hypothermia instead of getting your characters to their "Happily-Ever-After".
So, why don’t you get out of the "Office"?
Coffee House: A fantastic place to grab a cup of Joe, fire up the laptop and type away. You’ll feel very writerly and if you avoid hooking up to the wireless connection they offer (most do these days), you’ll get a ton of work done…that is if you’re not people watching and eavesdropping (my problem with public places).
Library: Quiet, good lighting, space to spread out – what’s not to love about taking your work to the library. Of course, I still have issues with people watching, eavesdropping and the added stress of being surrounded by books.
Park: A beautiful surrounding to calm your writer-self and focus on the task at hand. Sit at the picnic table or bench, bring your own chair or blanket, work on your laptop or go ‘old-school’ and break out the pen and paper. If the bugs, crowds, or pollen make working outside impossible, just sit in your car and have the vista of green visible through your window. And write!
Beach: Very similar to the park with the exception of no tree pollen (but possibly an issue with sand everywhere). I had to share the beach because the picture posted is of Crescent Beach here in Nova Scotia where I took the dog for a good romp and then sat in my car, the rolling waves visible through the windshield whenever I looked up from my notebook. The salt air added an extra touch of ambience to the day out of my office.
Cemetery: Yep, same idea as sitting in your car at the park or the beach, but there just happens to be gravestones visible through the windshield. Talk about quiet! No one’s going to disturb you, there’s no distraction of people watching or eavesdropping – and if you think I’m crazy for suggesting it, Andre Dubus III wrote The House of Sand and Fog sitting in his car in the middle of a cemetery (during his lunch breaks).
Bus/Subway: Go for a ride! Take your laptop or go ‘old-school’. I’m not sure what the cost of a fare is – and how far you can ride – but even if it’s just an hour that gives you plenty of time to focus on your writing (and pretend you’re a best selling author as other riders give you ‘The Look’).
Trailer/Shed: Have you considered using that travel trailer/camper sitting in your backyard? The one unused with the exception of a week or so camping every summer? It has everything you need – especially peace and quiet. I know our own Anita has used her camper as an ‘office’ and she’s got plenty of work done out there. Or convert the underused shed into an office retreat. A lawn chair, an old end table, your pen and paper – even your laptop could work out there on battery power – everything you need to get those words down and move on with your career!!
Any House Other Than Your Own: There are plenty of writers out there who would love to have a ‘write-in’. A day just for writing in the company of just writers. In fact, why don’t you think of hosting one. All you need is some space for your writer friends to set up, a coffee maker or kettle to make tea, and the peace and quiet for some serious work. You could even do an organized break every hour and a half – stretch, chat with your friends, discuss plot, have some tea – 10 minutes then back to it. And I think you could consider a relative’s house or perhaps a neighbor who’s going out of town for holidays – offer to look after their place and ask if it’s ok for you to spend an hour or so there writing. As far as interruptions go, this option would be as quiet as the cemetery.
Writer’s Rooms: I did some research for this blog and found out that in some cities there are such things as Writer’s Rooms. Here’s the link! An actual office for your writing – the height of luxury.
And my last suggestion – Bed: That’s right. Curl up under the blankets with your laptop or pen and paper and declare yourself off limits (set a timer so the family knows, post a sign on the door). What better place to write romance? Boas and bon bons are optional!
Did I miss any, People of Blogland? If so, add to our list in the comment section. And let us know where you go to ‘get out of the office’.