By Kerry Schafer
It occurred to me this week, while reading my sister whores' wise and wonderful posts on ritual, or the lack thereof, that it's time for me to dig in my heels again and create a barrier between me and the rest of the world. A fortress, you might say, because sometimes it feels like the minute I decide to sit down and write, the universe conspires to prevent me.
Much of this occurs with my permission, I confess, and some of it because I'm very good at the Martyr Complex:
~hand to forehead~ Oh, woe is me, why must everybody need me to do something when I am trying to write?
Seriously, though, it often feels like I'm fighting a failing battle against forces of entropy directed specifically, and personally, at me. My first novel took me ten years to write. Most of it was written at a desk situated squarely in the middle of the kids' play room. Those of you who have experienced small people will know exactly how that worked out. My schedule does not lend itself to routine - no two days of the week unfold the same. Writing time happens where there is time and energy. A lot of this I can't change. What I can do is organize and streamline so less time is wasted on fighting off the chaos.
At this house, there is no separate office space available to me. The first year or so we lived up here, I worked at the table in the open area - right next to the TV and the XBox and the food preparation. But I'm learning, and as I was focusing more and more time and attention on writing, we decided to put a desk in the only possible separate space, the Mud Room. This at least separated me from the rest of the family by a door. A glass door. But still a door.
However, no changes were made other than to shove a desk into a space that already had a life and a purpose all its own. Clutter and chaos continued to abound, and I found myself avoiding writing here because it felt like sitting in a coat closet, fending off the powers of chaos (my own and everybody elses') with energy that could have been put to a better and more creative use.
I chose a day this week when everybody was away - the Viking sailing the high seas of enterprise, the kids off at school - so there would be no questions, arguments, criticisms, or other discouraging comments from the peanut gallery. And I began to turn the mudroom into My Writing Space:
Yep, the shoes are still here, as are the coats. But there is considerably more space for me and it feels, as it was meant to, like a space for writing. Inadvertently, I even created a special spot for my feline assistant:
I'm still not done, of course. I need to hang the bulletin board. The filing cabinet is crammed with junk that needs to be shredded. But this is progress - an affirmation that the writing matters to me, if nothing else. I can draw a deep breath, and it feels like a place where writing should happen.
The next challenge - creating time. I'll let you know how I do with that one.