Writing Spaces

Where a writer writes can be every bit as personal as how a writer writes.  Being a writing team we have to accommodate two different styles and preferences.

Stephen likes getting out of the house.  He wants to get up, get dressed like it’s a regular job and GO somewhere to write.  He also prefers to write standing up, which is super healthy, so he has a swanky VariDesk & an anti-fatigue mat to stand on.  He likes to have a nice big pin board behind for ideas, inspiration and plotting.  To accommodate all this, we’ve had a small office in town for years.

I prefer to lounge around the house as I write.  I think one of the most fabulous things about being a writer in the first place is the ability to do your job in your pajamas!  So I stay home. I have a nice desk in the living room where I head first thing in the morning after Stephen & the kids are out for the day.  Sometimes I fill an aromatherapy oil diffuser or build a fire in the wood stove.  I create an environment that makes me feel happy and comfortable.  While I write, I get up for lots of little mini-breaks to putter around the house doing other necessary things like laundry or dinner prep.  It’s my thinking time, my stretch my neck out from sitting at the computer time, my noodle an idea time.

Of course, there are definitely times when it helps for us to to be in the same room at the same time. Outlining, revising, copyediting, talking to our agent or editor, etc.  During those times, I generally join Stephen at the office.

Across from his desk, we’ve got a nice a couch and coffee table where I can sit with my computer in my lap and be comfortable. This is also where Stephen takes power-naps.  I commend my husband on all his healthy writing choices–from the sofa, in my pajamas.

And then there are deadlines.

During a deadline, all our lovely preferences get tossed aside in the name of necessity.  We work through the weekends.  We work late into the night.  We let the kids watch TV and work from bed first thing in the morning.  We’ve even worked in the car and on the sidelines of soccer games.

Deadlines remind us that there’s a big difference between what we want and what we need in a writing space.  They remind us that while it’s wonderful to have an office in town, and a nice standing desk, an idea board, or the time to putter around the house in your pajamas adding logs to a cozy fire, we don’t really need any of those things in order to get the job done.

All any of us really need in a writing space is something to write with and something to write on.



The Idea: Away & Back

One of the most frequently asked questions writers get is “Where do your ideas come from?”

Sometimes they come from our pasts, or from newspaper articles, sometimes they come from our dreams, or an overheard conversation in a waiting room gets us thinking.  Sometimes we have absolutely no idea where they came from.

With Away & Back it was just a little pond by our house and some winter visitors.

On Miller's Pond

Miller’s Pond is less than a mile up the road from our house in Teton Valley, Idaho.  It’s a beautiful little spot bordering an organic dairy pasture with big fat Geurnsey’s named after the characters in Scooby Doo.  We drove past Miller’s Pond on the way to town and back on a regular basis.  We immediately noticed the strange flappy, spinning rectangles dangling from the power lines that ran alongside the pond, but we had no idea what they were.

Then one cold, sunny morning in January we passed the pond to find over 30 Trumpeter Swans and cygnets.