|Cassandra Mortmain writing in the 2003 film version of I Capture the Castle.|
|Anne Frank hard at work in 1941, before the Annex.|
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining-board, which I have padded with our dog's blanket and a tea cozy... I found that sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring. I wrote my very best poem sitting on the henhouse.
Lastly: Stephen King, whose memoir on writing has been a tremendous help to me, writes about his dream desk:
Put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn't in the middle of the room. Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around.
Writers thrive under less than ideal circumstance: in the rickety chair, at the tilting kitchen table, in the barn, in a room filled with noisy people, with a cat constantly jumping up in one's lap and walking across the desk. These conditions flavor us and build up our carapace. The world is our office. Waiting for ideal conditions is simply an excuse not to write, even though - as proved by the sheer fact of our creative drive - we have the tools to make these conditions useful. Granted, we're a stubborn bunch, but how awesome is it to say, "Yes, I shall write today even if this coffee shop is noisy and the coffee bitter, even if the cat jumps all over me and the dog whines on the other side of my door, even if that awesome television show is calling to me like a Siren."
I've been pondering the phraseology of "full-time writer." What is a full-time writer, anyway? Well, you say (wondering if I've asked a trick question), it's someone who is fortunate to be able to write for a living by freelancing, writing stories, publishing novels. Yes, a typical day in the life of a full-timer looks like heaven to us office-job-or-otherwise people. But I don't "qualify" to have the "full-time" sticker next to my name simply because it isn't how I earn my bread? Silly.
If you're fortunate enough to have a job where you can write in spurts as you work, take advantage of it... albeit discreetly. Get up early in the morning because your story means something to you. Netflix and Redbox are not adverse conditions; they're choices. Having trouble connecting to your story? Try writing it by hand. Don't like your handwriting? There are ways you can improve it. How much are you feeding your artist-child? Read! Take creative outings! Go on quiet walks! And give yourself more credit for weathering the storm!
Someday we might have that dream office or the quiet house, but until then, embrace the place in which you're writing now. It's helping you more than you might think.