That whole writing in the cafeteria thing did not go well. I managed two hundred words, tops, before I was spotted by a co-worker. After a minute or so of pleasantries, it quickly became apparent that the conversation would continue for as long as we were both in the same room. With as much of a smile as I could muster, I closed my notebook.
As meager an output as today’s might have been, combined with the tiny bit from the other day and some background development done the other day, it’s felt like I’ve accomplished some small thing on Spirit Cat, more than I have in the last week or so. As Christmas rushes towards me with the speed of a red-nosed reindeer, I’ll take whatever progress I can make.
Today’s Question: Where Do I Write? And, Where Can I Write?
My Office: When I write, the vast majority of my time is spent in my office. I have waxed poetic about it before; walls painted a lush green, gauzy window dressing with Victorian flowers, a collection of greens growing in a pink and brown ceramic pot poised on my windowsill, a corderoy papasan chair layered with blankets, my wide and slightly curved desk with my firm-backed desk chair, all my books, fiction and non-fiction, and more besides. The room’s a little too small, with the papasan in front of the largest book shelf, and the desk not always comfortable, as it’s just a little too high.
I write on the computer, taking brief vacations into pen and paper land when I feel the need to doodle something or if I am mind-mapping. (I have a mind-mapping program but I find it slower than just doing it by hand. Plus, bonus, colored pencils.)
I do realize how absolutely lucky I am – having a room of one’s own – but sometimes it isn’t enough. Eventually I get anxious, and with all the other toys and responsibilites of the house so nearby, sometimes I can’t say no to distractions.
My Workplace: When there is a lot of downtime between calls, we’re pretty much allowed to do what we want within reason. It’s the only real perk – my hours are anything from tolerable to lousy, I talk to mostly cranky people, and I am pressure to meet a variety of metrics from call time to sales to how well they like me. I haven’t been able to write at work before this job, and Spirit Cat got its first major push from all the free time.
By its nature, writing at work necessitates writing by hand, something I thought would be a total waste of time. But at the time I wasn’t thinking that I was really writing. Tricked myself into writing. And it forced me to write in snatches of time much smaller than I would set aside for myself if I were to write at home. Still, as I recall, twenty minutes was enough to write something substantial, and something that would keep me rolling. At first I was writing scenes that were semi-independent, but then once I’d gotten rolling I could write the chapter even if at first I didn’t know exactly where I was going.
It doesn’t work when there is no availabilty between calls, or if my neighbors are chatty. And I have to input my longhand into the computer at some point. In the beginning I let a huge back-log build up and that became a block itself. And since the switch to the new campaign, time to write while on the clock has all but vanished.
The Coffee Place: So cliched, and yet when I showed up for the NaNoWriMo meetings, I was bizarrely productive. Part of it was the background noise. I found it easy to tune out yet strangely focusing. This is going to sound weird and potentially awful, but there was something about being part of a group that made me less self-conscious about being in a strange place to write and at the same time I felt comfortable ignoring them entirely to do my own thing on the computer. Was it just the general noise or was it the fact that we were all writer-types talking about our writing? I don’t know, but thousands of words followed.
I haven’t gone back since on a non-NaNoWriMo night – I always feel self-conscious going alone and it takes me a while to warm up. Another option is going to either one of the public libraries or heading over to either the Univeristy or even the College library. A thought – what about going to the French College and hanging out at that library? All the bustle of a busy place in a language I don’t understand. In theory that should be perfect but I would feel totally out of place. Either of those locations, though, comes without the benefit of food and I am an avowed grazer.
Where else is there? I haven’t tried outside, like in the back yard or out at one of the local parks. I feel guilty going there without Ginger, my dog. Like I’m cheating on her. I can’t really think of too many more public places where I could go. I haven’t tried the mall food court, I suppose, but ew. Someone suggested writing on a bus. Heh. If you had seen our local transit, you’d laugh at that. Or pack anti-nausea medicine.
The other paramater here would be when I write. Morning, afternoon, evening or the wee hours of the morning? I feel my best when I’m in my office and the winter sun is coming in my window, but how does that translate into words? I received iWork for Christmas. Now that I have a spreadsheet program, I think I’m going to start charting my word output to help me figure out when I am most productive.
But for now, the goal is the same as today’s – take advantage of the later start time to write for one hour uninterupted between 8:00am and 9:00am before going to work. That means up at 7:00, showered, dressed, bag ready to go and lunch packed before I hit the computer, tea in hand.
Wow, spammy. I was supposed to keep these things short, wasn’t I? Whoops.