Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Where Does a Writer Go?

by Rachael Phillips

Are you the kind of writer who can write in a parked SUV until your muddy soccer players (at least, you hope they’re yours) pile onto your seats? Can you outline a novel while sitting in a drive-through line, not bothering to look up when you shift gears to edge ahead? Can you pound out a chapter in a Starbucks invaded by an entire middle school of coffee connoisseurs armed with video games?

Then you, my writing friend, are blessed with qualities of concentration I can only dream of.

In order to write, I need a peaceful place where I can park my creaky frame in a cushy sofa or chair. Desks stifle my creativity. So do real waistbands—elastic, please, or none. I want a room with windows I can open or shut, according to my body’s hot flash weather report, with a view of something green or pretty that doesn’t need watering, trimming, or re-potting. Two cups of real coffee early in the morning are a must, then a large, steaming pot of decaf to warm me throughout a fall or winter day. When temperatures rise, a pitcher of iced tea or water is my constant writing companion.

But most of all, I need quiet—sweet silence or muted small-town noises, enhanced by the audio velvet of classical music.     

I am spoiled because I began my writing career during midlife—after my children had lost their last residue of mom admiration and either rolled eyes or ran screaming when I addressed them. As they left, one by one, for college, I grew accustomed to my everyday quiet writing kingdom, where I can plan my schedule and wear jammies all day, if I so choose.

However, small, not-too-distant rumblings have begun, barely perceptible now, but growing louder with every day … retirement.

My husband’s, not mine.

He is a considerate, supportive spouse, mindful of my need for solitude.

But if he reads, sitting near me, he just has to share passages that excite him.

Deeply spiritual, he loves to discuss what God has been teaching him. In great detail. 

He sneezes. And flushes. He crunches big bowls of mixed nuts and guzzles ice cream my diet-starved soul longs for.

Can it be that I may have to banish my laptop and me to my [gasp!] office?

How about you? What writing-space issues have you faced, and how did you solve them? 


  1. Having three boys at home makes for a loud house, Rachael. I have a hard time trying to find a moment of solitude. I usually try to write while they're at school after dinner is planned, and i do chores around the house. I have thought of going to the local library in the evenings, but it is hard when my husband runs his own radio show from home, and I need to make sure the boys get their homework done. I just squeeze out any words when God gives me the time.

    1. I remember those days well, Kelly. I have three kids, too. Life was measured in decibels and pick-up times! I did most of my early writing when mine were at school, as well--and when I wasn't attending classes myself. Blessings on you as you grab those few moments and milk them for all they're worth!

  2. I know your pain. I've been writing full-time since 2010, and my husband just retired last year. I kept bugging him to figure out what he wanted to be when he grew up so that he wouldn't spend the entire day at home. He's been doing some substitute teaching but is still around way too much. Fortunately, I have an easy chair in my office and a door I can close.

  3. LOL! I may have to move a few hundred of my books out and make room for one in my office, too! Thanks for your comment, Kathryn [grin].