By Maureen Bonatch
When I decided to really focus on my writing I didn’t have a dedicated writing space. I always dabbled in some type of writing, whether it be poetry or short stories, but now I wanted to write a novel. I didn’t have an actual ‘space’ for writing—because we all envision having that cabin in the woods, or beach house to write our master pieces undisturbed—yeah, I’m still dreaming about that.
Instead I Got a Binder
Sure, go ahead and laugh but I bet about 50% or more of you have your own little not-so-secret obsession with office products. One of my go-to products is always binders. Throw in some dividers, and if you have one with pockets all the better!
I started off by carrying this binder around with my notes and other drafts and information when I was ready to write.
When I say write, I mean type on my laptop. If any of you know me in real life, you know my handwriting is just…well, it’s practically illegible by now, even to me. I blame it on years of shorthand and taking too many notes in my college years.
Break Out the Bulletin Boards
Soon after I had to expand my writing supplies outside of binders to include another favorite of mine…bulletin boards.
I’d put a timeline, pictures of my characters and notes on index cards (yes I love me some office supplies!).
Unfortunately, as the years went by, so did the number of stories I was working on. I’d start one, and then another, or set one aside to wait until I was ready to work on edits. (Face it. I’m never ready to work on edits. It’s just a necessary evil, and why I had to have so many darn bulletin boards so I could keep things straight!)
By then I converted our guest room into an office (Sorry guests! I had to put all those bulletin boards somewhere, right?), but even that did not have enough walls for all the bulletin boards of notes.
My initial thought was that if I got these thoughts onto index cards and on the board they’d be out of my mind. Because as many writers might understand, those characters just start to drive you crazy after a while if you ignore their stories. Or, worse, you forget what it was you wanted to write about.
Scruff as a puppy trying to escape the office- most likely with a push pin that he's trying (and failing!) to sneak off with.
Back to Basics
Once I was completely surrounded by bulletin boards (and even threw in a wipe off board and giant yearly wall calendar for planning), instead of feeling like I was organizing all my stories, I started to feel overwhelmed. As if those board were closing in on me when I entered the office to write (and they might have been, I found those push pins everywhere! It was becoming a hazard to keep adding notes).
So I took it all down and put the information for each book…into binders.
Once I started using easels for bulletin boards because I ran out of wall space, that's when I knew it was time for an intervention away from bulletin boards.
Then, fast forward to me breaking down many of the binders and moving the information onto the computer into spreadsheets and organizing information in Google Docs & Scrivener.
That has become my current process and is still a work in progress. But one thing never changed, and that was that I didn’t need an actual space to write. I still add notes onto my cell phone when I get an idea, and carry little notebooks everywhere to jot down inspiration.
What should you take away from what I’ve learned in my process?
Office products are awesome! Okay, maybe that's one thing, but not the main point.
- Don’t wait for the right time or place to write—write when inspiration strikes, on whatever works best for you.
- And don’t be afraid to change your process.
Do You Have a Dedicated Space for Your Writing or other Passions?
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While she’s not busy writing or doing nurse-things, she’s a mom to her twin daughters, bicycling in the beautiful woods of PA with her hubby, doing the bidding of a feisty Shih Tzu, and dancing as much as possible. She believes music can be paired with every mood, laughter is contagious, and that caffeine and wine are essential for survival.
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