According to Stephen King, a writer’s space requires only one thing, “a door which you are willing to shut.” But as writers we all know that this isn’t always how it works out. Ideas strike at the most inconvenient of times—driving, taking a shower, going to bed, or even hanging out with friends. Yes, we all aren’t the hermits we pretend to be. Believe it or not we aren’t always glued to the computer/tablet/laptop focused on our current, next, and next to next project. Probably why ideas erupt in the manner in which they do.
This doesn’t mean we don’t have our own personal writing space. It just may not get used all the time. Though that is more likely due to the fact that it is often an organized mess.
Yes, I said that correctly. Our office space is typically in disarray, but we know exactly where everything, in that lump you call chaos, is. I know it may seem impossible, but trust me it isn’t. I know that there is an ongoing stack of business cards for other authors I have met over the last few years on my desk. And I can tell you exactly where it is.
Okay, that isn’t always true. And that is why it our desks are chaotic. The fact is that our minds are constantly working at warp speed, so we focus more on the notes we need to jot down for that next to next to next project we want to work on. Yeah, it may be four books away, but those are notes we will absolutely need to refer back to later. So it’s more important that we get that information down now so we don’t forget it instead of fretting over where the pen should actually go.
Despite all this, when we do use our “writing space” we follow one rule.
This goes back to what Stephen King said about the door. A writer’s space should have a door. This allows the writer to shut the world out and give all their attention to writing.
Here’s the thing. Back then it was important to have that physical space, however since then authors have learned to adapt. (Another reason our “desks” are cluttered.) Because ideas strike at will, it is a strategic move for a writer to perfect the art of “spacing out.” That is what it may look like to an outside audience when in actuality the author’s mind is simply working.
We no longer need a space of our own. We can write practically anywhere. The corner of the couch. Coffee shop while absentmindedly staring at people. At the park while the dogs play. The car in the middle of traffic (yes, we are probably the idiot that caused that back-up to begin with). At the bookstore while identifying at least ten books we need to add to our endless TBR list. During football practice with perfectly timed whoops and hollers of support.
The list goes on and on. When authors like Stephen King wrote, it was necessary to shut that door. In the age of digital, we have figured out the door is more mental than it is physical.