I've enjoyed this week's tour of some of the Criminal Minds' writing spaces—great pictures and great glimpses too of process and priorities!
I don't remember the author—and don't even remember the context in which this story came to me—but many years ago, I read about a writer who woke up each morning, got ready for work including dressing up, and then walked to the desk in her home at a specific time to clock in (almost literally) for her writing day. At the time, I thought, "Exactly!"—because writing is indeed a job, should be treated seriously, etc. etc.
That believe still has a lot of traction with me, I'll admit—even as my own writing routines are rarely (ever) so strict. I don't write to a word quota; I don't write to a time quota; and sadly, some days—especially with both teaching responsibilities and parenting responsibilities—I don't write at all.
But I do take the idea of writing spaces fairly seriously. I usually like to have a desk where I can spread out books and notebooks or whatever. I like to be surrounded by books, by writers that I admire and often have been inspired by. And I like comfort too. These days, most of my writing is done at my office on campus, and more than once I've had other faculty members stop by and remark how nicely I've decorated my office, how comfortable it looks—with artwork and a nice rug and always some jazz playing on Pandora. These things are important to me, and while a laptop has allowed me to write in other places (I'll often go to the library to work (more books!) or more rarely to a coffeeshop, and I'll sometimes settle onto the couch), most of my writing time is sitting at a desk—showing up at work, trying to get work done.
Here's a picture of my office on campus—and two additional bookshelves are on other walls, along with a bulletin board, photographs, and a cool poster: "A Diagrammatical Dissertation on Opening Lines of Notable Novels."
And here are two photos from my office at home, both of the desk and of the bookshelves behind me, filled with some favorite mysteries.
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Beyond this week's question, a couple of quick announcements.
First: This Saturday, August 13, I'll be taking part in the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival, along with a terrific line-up of friends in the mystery writing community. My own schedule includes:
- The VIP Meet and Greet at noon (I'm a meeter and greeter, not a VIP!)
- A reading from On the Road with Del & Louise at 2:45 p.m.
- The panel "It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint: Pacing Mystery & Suspense" at 3 p.m., along with Frankie Y. Bailey, Mary Lawrence, Judith Lucci, T.J. O'Connor, Amy Reade, and LynDee Walker
- Chesapeake Crimes: This Job Is Murder, featuring my story "When Duty Calls," a finalist for the 2012 Agatha Award for Best Short Story
- Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays, featuring my story "Premonition," a finalist for last year's Agatha Award for Best Short Story
- And the brand-new anthology Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning, featuring my story "Parallel Play" (and my fellow Criminal Mind Alan Orloff's story "Stormy, With a Chance of Murder" too!)