For the longest time I was scared that if I made a proper writing space for myself I’d fail to live up to it. I had a feeling that if I went to the effort of making a space perfect I’d then sit in it, stymied by expectation and blocked by guilt of under-performing and using an area which could be better used for…. erm… anything or anyone but me? A plant, perhaps?
Isn’t it strange, when we really start to reflect on what it is about ourselves that holds us back from doing the things we need and want to do?
I felt that making a dedicated space for myself to write in would be like kicking off a beginning and an end at the same time- like the proverbial exercise equipment in most homes at some point – in it comes with good intentions and, eventually, out it goes as a dusty clothes horse everyone bruised shins on and cursed at. Somewhere in the middle there was a choice, spoken or silent, to deviate from intention. It’s quite often that middle time that’s the difficult animal to keep looking in the eye, I find.
I guess the thing I intuitively knew I had to do before claiming a space, was to claim a habit. I had to turn my sporadic bouts of writing into a regular way of life. I had to assimilate the practice of writing alongside everything else I did regularly or, I knew, the assertion of being a writer just would not take wing. I had to do the beginning and the middle so the writing space would be a continuation and not an end because – fear of fears – if I didn’t claim the habit now another decade would pass. Another ten years would go and I’d be sitting again, just dabbling my toes in the water I knew I could go swimming in but kept choosing to avoid for fear of failure.
So I set about it. Long story short, I now have a space in which I write. It’s heaven. I let myself trust after a year of writing for a minimum of four days a week that I had established a habit. I quietly cleared an area, begged the family to not really mention it so I could slip into it without fanfare and restarted the sentence I’d got half way through in my bed the day before.
It’s nice, to feel calm enough to do things in my own time. Additionally, the space has given me gifts I didn’t know were coming;
- Greater productivity – no set up or tidy up times means more time on the page.
- Capturing thoughts as and when they happen is easier and less stuff is forgotten, so less woe, regret and general negativity occurs.
- Occupying a space you know you’ve worked to deserve is a power in itself, and from this, like magic, more creativity and power grows. Think Magic Porridge Pot but with words, coffee cups and epiphanies. I have no idea where it’s all eventually heading. I hope I get to a point of pointing at my screen and declaring I might have birthed a book but the more I enjoy the process the more the offshoots get more interesting too.
In putting together my wee space I’ve focused on a theme of imperfection which is just the ticket for double bluffing my stage-fright about living up to a setting. If the setting is fairly shit, I’ve found, any output feels positive by comparison. Better this way than the other, I reckon. I remember trying to write in a cafe a few times. I set things up beautifully, dressed up like I thought a writer might and out came nothing much at all. I was too busy people watching, ordering pancakes and rearranging my arse bones on chairs that were never quiet right. Thus, on this endeavour I have no matching stationery or furniture. There’s a spider the size of a small continent living in the skirting board directly behind me. The back of the desk looks like some cables bred with each other then lay down in dust for a fag before never getting back up again. My monitor is precariously balanced so as to prioritise my neck rather than its aesthetic. There is a new chair from CostCo that isn’t fucking up my pelvis but which smells very strongly and strangely of mothballs. And so it is for now. It’ll evolve, I’m quietly allowing it all.
Oh and finally, my inspirational quote quota flatly consists of;
Works for me.