Lifestyles · Writing

My Newest Obsession: Writing Spaces

               In a small, informal poll on Twitter, I asked the writing community where they wrote most often. The possible answers were desk, couch/bed, table/flat surface, or other. In an unsurprising majority, the desk gained most of the votes, with a few for couch/bed and other also coming in. A couple of people commented to share their preferred methods, which included drafting on the floor and revising at a desk or composing while driving to work. The reason I conducted the poll in the first place was because I’ve recently become obsessed with writing spaces.

               When I moved into The Bramford in 2018, I sacrificed the desk I’d had since around 2011, a reliable, aesthetic World Market number. My logic was I’d still have my dining table and, indeed, I did draft numerous seminar papers and other works at the table. However—as is true for much of my life—I have done most of my writing in the last four years from my couch. This summer, I drafted a novella in 20 or so days; I spent hours bolstered by pillows and reclined. Since renovating my apartment by removing the dining table (a blog in itself), I don’t really have any other option. This is what has most likely led to my thoughts on where and how people write productively.

               I was (and still am) of the belief that as long as you get the work done and feel good doing it, it doesn’t matter where or when you write. Some people write at 5am with a particular candle and their first coffee of the day. Others write at night after their kids are in bed.  A few write fulltime and can dedicate a 9-5 type schedule to their craft. Many of these writers compose at desks, working on some form of technology, drafting longhand, or brainstorming via Post-It notes. Everyone has their own quirks and ways to accomplish their creativity.

               Throughout my life, I’ve worked on various surfaces. My first stumbling steps when I was thirteen were composed on the family’s desktop, as was my first novel. I wrote my second novel longhand; most of those summer nights were spent bent over a TV tray with Sweeney Todd or New Moon on in the background. I finished the draft during math class my senior year. I wrote chunks of my fanfictions at the rarely used formal dining table at my mom’s. My stories during undergrad were written from my bed, dining tables, my desk, and couches. Hymns for Deer Folk, my novel-in-stories, was a hodgepodge of cubicle desks, couches, and more. Essentially, I’ve never had a set writing routine or space, but something in me longs for one.

               Maybe it’s because of the aesthetic TikToks, YouTube vlogs, or other social media impressions. Maybe it’s because I miss having a desk. Maybe it’s because spending hours of each day folded awkwardly on the couch probably isn’t doing me any long-term favors. Most of all, it could be the dream of having a space dedicated to my writing, where I can sit and focus on the latest work-in-progress. I’ve been searching Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Ikea (among others) for affordable, small desks. Right now, we’re still at the ‘idea’ phase of this obsession and I’m trying to mull through it before committing my space and money to making it a reality. After all, one of my well-intentioned mistakes in grad school was renting a second bedroom in a shared house so I could turn it into an office. Did I use that office often? Not really. I liked the idea of having one and designing it more than actually writing in it. I’m trying to prevent this obsession from turning into Office Mistake 2.0.

               With the limited footage The Bramford has, however, I’m pretty confident it wouldn’t be the same. I only have space for a small desk, most likely in the living room or in the-room-formally-designated-for-dining. As for those aesthetics, I’m happy to maybe upgrade my technology at some point, acquire one of those colorful keyboards, and use what I already have to make my work flow. If the last four years has proven anything, it’s that I can work almost anywhere—all I have to do is start.

               Writing routines, brainstorming sessions, and things like that are separate obsessions or thoughts, but the space itself has been on my mind. We all want to create and work somewhere we’re comfortable. Yes, sometimes, that’s on our couch under a pumpkin blanket. Maybe it requires the right background music. Whatever it takes to be creative, it doesn’t matter if we have the most aesthetic workspace and latest gadgets. If they’re not being used for the purpose you intended, they were probably an obsessive idea gone awry. We can latch onto certain things—see my previous obsessions—but whether they last or not is the true test of whether this is a phase or something longer lasting.

               Writing is my passion. A new writing space is my current obsession. Time will tell if they can work together.

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