Friday, August 12, 2016

Where I Write (Most of the Time)

By Art Taylor

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.

# # #

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
And throughout the day, I'll be sharing an author table with my good friend B.K. Stevens—and we'll be hosting giveaways throughout the afternoon!

Second: I want to encourage readers to sign-up for my author newsletter—which I'll be debuting later this month. I'm planning a giveaway as part of that newsletter, selecting a new subscriber at random to win a small batch of signed books, specifically:
Sign up here—and best of luck with the drawing ahead!


Paul D. Marks said...

Art, your offices are so neat compared to mine... And I love seeing what books people have on their shelves. I see your James Ellroy collection and McBain. The Big Book of Pulps and more. And, of course, love the Vertigo poster!

Have fun at the Mystery Authors Festival.

Art Taylor said...

Thanks, Paul! You're always the first one to chime in--and I much appreciate! (We need to get back on our email exchanges, though....) And yes, I posted the bookshelves because I know that's the first thing I look at myself when I visit people! It lets you know where you'll connect (or not). :-)

TracyK said...

I love the Vertigo poster! So cool how Hitch dubbed out all of Kim Novak footsteps, etc.. so that she would appear more ethereal - a nice counterpart to the scene when Midge walks noisily down the hospital corridor. Happy Friday!

Art Taylor said...

Thanks, Tracy! It's my favorite movie by far--for just those touches that you're mentioning!

RM Greenaway said...

Hi Art. I'm impressed by your orderly work spaces, and even more so your ENERGY - how do you write AND teach AND meet & greet AND keep your desk clean? That was a great tour of offices this week. Happy weekend to you!

Alan Orloff said...

TWO clean offices? Amazing!

Art Taylor said...

Thanks, Rae and Alan! I don't think of them as clean really, most of the time--often there are stacks and stacks and stacks of stuff. But appreciate the kinds words!

And yes, Rae, I enjoyed the tour too! (Had really wished I could extend the question two weeks.... Sorry if next week's question isn't fun too!)

Susan C Shea said...

In theory, I like the idea of an office even half as orderly as yours. In practice, I think I would get itchy....Hats off to you, though, for finding order and maintaining it!

Art Taylor said...

Thanks, Susan! (What's funny is: I often feel my desks are messy--but these pictures caught them on good days!) :-)