Where Do You Write?

Where Do You Write?

Once again The Pen and the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World blows my mind. This week they’ve linked us to writers’ sheds — featuring a picture of Roald Dahl’s.

When my daughters were 18 months old (to continue the thread from a previous post), my office was behind the couch in our living room. I had stacked some boards on bricks to make shelves behind the couch, and put a table top on two file cabinets against the wall. That’s where my computer sat — an IBM clone with an amber display screen and a daisy wheel printer.

When would I write? A friend from graduate school (Anita Johnson) told me that she stayed up late, after her middle-school age children went to bed. She graded papers and she worked on her dissertation until 1 or 2 in the morning.

My babies exhausted me. I taught early in the morning so that my husband could leave for school at 11:00 and teach his afternoon and evening courses. By 7 or 7:30 when (if I was lucky) the babies were ready for bed, I was ready for bed, too.

If I couldn’t stay up late, maybe I could get up early. I tried getting up at 5:00, and when that didn’t work, someone suggested that I try rising on the half-hour, “when the clock hands are on the upswing.” Four-thirty worked.

And so that’s where and when I wrote my doctoral dissertation, behind the living room couch, beginning at 4:30 in the morning. By 6 a.m. I was in the shower. By 7 I was on the Community Transit bus on my way to the University of Washington. True Story. Do I appreciate the Potting Shed — my writing cabin — now? Yes.


0 replies
  1. abbiejohnsontaylor
    abbiejohnsontaylor says:

    When I was single and lived in a one-bedroom apartment, my office was in a corner of my living room. Now, I have an entire room. Having been married and widowed, I live in a three-bedroom house, and one bedroom has been turned into an office where I write and do other household chores such as paying bills.

    When I was single, I often worked a forty-hour-week as a registered music therapist in a nursing home. I wrote when I had time. I tried getting up early in the morning to write, but because my day job required a lot of energy, I felt it was better to sleep than write. When I got married, I quit my job so I could write full time. Now that I’m no longer employed, I have most of the day in which to write.

  2. awritersalchemy
    awritersalchemy says:

    I love it that you wrote about your writing space, Abbie. Do you find yourself writing more, now that you have time and space to write? I sometimes wonder if retirement will help, or possibly hinder the process.


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