I work in my Writing Room. It’s a nice big room my husband and elder son built for me out of a third of the garage. I love every cluttered inch of it and I love writing in it. My desk is a huge old oak teacher’s desk my younger son’s friend and mentor gave me when he retired from Lyndon State College. I sit here and watch birds and deer. Sometimes I even work, but it’s so much of a pleasure it doesn’t usually feel like work. So it’s my favorite.
Years ago, I got my first set of edits and was instantly overwhelmed. They were on paper then, and I thought someone had bled on virtually every page. Why did they even buy the book? They hate everything. I remembered Anne Stuart writing an article in RWR about going to a motel alone for a weekend and writing a huge amount. I didn’t want to be alone—I was far too terrified I was going to fail at this to face it by myself—so Duane and I got a room at the Kokomo, Indiana Hampton Inn. He watched television and I went down to the dining room and worked on edits until my eyes were bleary. The next morning, I got up, went downstairs and did the same thing. I drank so much coffee I was probably jittery for a week. But I got most of the edits done and had gained confidence I could finish. I also developed a fondness for Hampton Inns that still persists today. This is my third favorite. (Yes, I know I’m counting wrong, but I’m going chronologically here.)
A few years back, when I was doing the edits for One More Summer, my first Carina release, Duane didn’t even suggest I do them all at home. “So,” he said, “where do you want to go?”
We spent two nights at the lodge in Clifty Falls State Park. Duane played golf. I worked at a table beside a window in the hallway, in the lodge dining room, and—best of all—at a table overlooking the park. I worked for hours and hours, drinking excellent coffee out of a china cup a lodge employee went into the kitchen and swiped for me. This is my second favorite.
One time, I was just stalled. The story wouldn’t move. I wasn’t even sure I loved it anymore—how could anyone else? We were already gone for the weekend, but we stopped and spent the night at Brown County State Park. I don’t remember what Duane did. I found an empty corner of the dining room and wrote and wrote and wrote, delivered from my own fears. This is my fourth favorite.
Last November, I went to a writers’ retreat with chapter mates. There were 20 or so of us in a huge house. Food was catered. It was quiet. Cheryl Brooks brought enough extension cords that none of us ever ran our batteries down. It was fun and productive and filled the well in a way that writing alone does not. This was my fifth favorite. (I’m going back again this year, by the way. I recommend it!)
Like most of the writers who’ve written about “where I write” this month, I don’t have a set-in-stone place. What I have is a good laptop, good writing friends—“listen to this paragraph, Nan. Is it really stupid?”—and a story in my heart, just waiting for me to pour the coffee and get busy. That’s what the Writing Room really is, and aren’t we the luckiest of people that we can find our particular ones in so many different places?