Shrieks are coming from the floor beside me as I type this post. Both my children are home and running rampant as usual. So what is a girl to do when there are constant distractions and interruptions. Why the answer is simple...build yourself a creative writing world!
My adoration and appreciation go out to Sabrina Jeffries, one of my favorite writers. I took her advice to heart and I'm going to share it with you.
"First, learn to be selfish sometimes. You already give more to your family than the average person. Don’t let your loved ones make you feel guilty about taking something for yourself. If you don’t take what you need, you won’t write and you will go crazy. Establish boundaries and protect them fiercely. If you don’t have a room that you can dedicate to writing, then find a corner, but make it yours alone. Fill it with objects and books that inspire your writing—dictionaries, inspiring quotations, etc. If you have a family typewriter or computer, set hours during which only you are allowed to use it. I know it is hard to tell your husband (or wife) that you can’t type that letter to the insurance company until after you write your three pages, but you must treat yourself as a professional before anyone else will treat you as one."*
I took this to heart and began by creating a 'Novel' file on my desktop. Anytime I had an idea it went in there, my notes, my inspirations, pictures of people I use when I describe my characters looks, photos of scenery, buildings, maps etc. I have a whole world pieced together that I can browse. This helps me get in the mind set of my story. I've heard other authors talk about their writing space. And you know what, they all talk about having similar puzzle pieces for their muse around them in one version or another. Either up around their working space or in a portable version.
In theory, I have a library in my mostly finished basement with a beautiful built in bookshelf my husband created. It is lined floor to ceiling with books that I love. I've an amazingly comfortable chaise lounge where I while away hours reading said novels. I also have a newly installed wireless internet system. A hand-crafted framed bulletin/cork board posted on the wall doubling as the entrance cover to my crawl space. I am patiently awaiting the money tree fairy to make a generous donation to my account so that I can finish this basement project. I wish for nothing more than to happily relocate from my particle board desk in my kitchen to the cozy space my Shining Knight created for me.
What is stopping me? A desk or laptop. At this point I don't really care which comes first. Currently I'm anchored to an ancient desktop with an 18" deep monitor that flickers. I long for the moment I can print my inspirational items and hang them around my creative space. My wonderful husband has declared he will be making my built in desk to match my bookcases. Did I mention the large bookcase anchored to a piano hinge that will swing out from the wall to access the utility area? I have a very uniquely designed 300 sq ft basement that we have squeezed every spare inch out of. I am very thankful for my handyman of a hubby who may look at me like I've lost my mind but attempt to create my haven anyway. But I digress. Until the day finally comes that I have my writing oasis I am learning creative ways to have one anyway.
In my 'Novel' folder I have letters my characters have written. Pictures of locations, places and people. Anything that brings my story to life. I have a whole file simply of discards, things I needed to know creating my imaginary world but my readers don't.
At our last writer's meeting a member showed me her portable version. She had a notebook with her that was simply AMAZING! I have pondered the advisability of creating one myself. There were character synopses, outlines using sticky notes that she could rearrange, photos and much much more. Needless to say I was supremely impressed. While I'd thought of carrying around a small notebook which fits in my purse, for the express purpose of jotting ideas when and wherever they struck, I hadn't thought to package my inspiration in such a fashion as to make it portable. Thanks for the tips Erin!
When you get discouraged and struggle with immersing yourself in the world you've created. Don't forget to get out those mementos of inspiration. Just as setting is important to characters, let your setting help you.