Saturday, October 17, 2009

The gentle sound of smack talk and crying babies

I think one of the important tools a writer needs is a place to write. This is something I unfortunately lack, completely. I chill in the living room, surrounded by children's toys with my feet propped up , and usually with the television on (sometimes, I can turn it off and listen to some music, but once my husband gets home, back on it comes.) It's usually cartoons, too.

right now, I've managed to get the TV turned off, but it'll be just a matter of a few minutes before he wants to come in and break the silence.

What I'm listening to right this moment is the crying of my 1 1/2 year old who is not interested in taking a nap, the twinkling bells and tinkling voices of a Barbie fairy movie in the 3 year old's room, and the non-stop cursing, smack-talk and endless explosions of Warhammer Online as my husband takes on the minions of chaos. Or something.

The best I can get, usually, is through my blessed MP3 player. It's a coby, not your most popular brand, but oh, how I love it. Plug in the ear buds, turn up the volume, and the cacophany that is my home fades into the distance, and I am allowed to write.

One of the things I want to do is get my dining room clear,and turned into a writing nook, a place for me to get away from the family. It's an enormous mess, though, so hard to get through. But I need to. I need to get out of this living room. It's a terrible place to try and write. I can't even retreat to my bedroom, since it's just as cluttered, and the baby's crib is in there, so if she's trying to take a nap, I can't get in there. I ache for the write-ins of NaNo... even a crowded coffeehouse is a fabulous place to write when you're surrounded by fellow writers, friends and nanoers. It's inspiring.

So tell me, what sort of writing environments do you have? Surely you're all not as nook-starved as I am?


Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree about needing a place to write - and how difficult it is when you share your home with people who think the world will stop turning if the television isn't on. I have found that when I put in headphones to listen to iTunes, everyone in the house develops something incredibly important they have to say to me - and I get even less accomplished.
As for space ... I typically camp out at the dining room table or on the couch in the living room, and try my best to write, tune out the television, answer the inevitable "mom, where is the --" and "honey, what's for dinner" chatter. Sometimes I bring the laptop to the kitchen and write sentences in between stirring the spaghetti and checking on the garlic bread.
All this is about to change. My beloved husband and father in law have conspired to build for me a writer's cottage, a tiny building in the front yard which will serve as a place for me to write minus the television and constant interruptions. (Luckily, my children are 14 and 13, so it won't be like I am abandoning the family.) And it is scheduled to be writer-ready by November!!
... I'll have a few extra seats, so if you can get a babysitter, you're welcome to come share :) Barring that, I can come help you carve out some space in your own home, if you like. Everyone needs space. I fully support your quest to get some of your own!

Heather said...

Tanya, I will definitely take you up on that. Sounds absolutely divine!

Brooke R. said...

I'm in the same boat. As we speak I'm in the living room in a big plush chair watching SNL and asking myself why I'm not outlining. My room also has the crib in it so it's hardly a place I can disappear to, especially since my daughter is 5 months old and needs to nap more often.

One day I'll have an office I can escape to for a few hours a day, and no one will disturb me because they'll know "mommy is working"! :)

Dean Sherwin said...

Great Blog here. I always need somewhere quite to write. solitude is probably my most sought after thing in life...but then when I get lonely I can write. Catch 22!

I'm also doing NaNoWriMo and I created a blog about my life during it at


Ofira Sephiroth said...

I write in my office, but it's open so everyone can come in whenever they want, and they do. I could write in my bedroom but my puppy doesn't understand that I can't have her licking all over my face while writing. She doesn't understand that my pen is not for her to chew on. In the summer I've tried to write outside, but there's too much traffic and a lot of young ones in the neighborhood I live in.

The good thing is I don't have a tv or stereo in my office right now and that things will eventually become more private once we move - I'll have an office in the basement with two I'm also thinking about installing a couple of locks.

Heather said...

I've tried writing outside, too; my problem is my neighbor's dogs. There's three, in a tiny little fenced in yard, and any time I go out... chaos. I love writing outside in the fall, but it's harder than being inside! I can deal with constant noise, but the sharp barking? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

Like many of you I have learnt to write through the noise. The constant "can I?" is something a little harder to push aside.

My "office" or creative space as I like to term it, is in a weird alcove in the lounge room - while it is MY space, there is no privacy or sound proofing.

The best thing about writing as a parent - you become far more efficient with writing. I write lots in my head now and make the most of the times I can download all onto the page. And I'm not precious about perfection - the right frame of mind, the right space, the right time.

Heather said...

I've noticed that myself. I don't do a lot of staring off into space being profound anymore... I steal what minutes of writing time I can, and write quickly. NaNoWriMo also taught me that much. ;)

It's amazing how much I've written in the last six months in five minute snatches, or on the playground at Burger King, or in a doctor's waiting room.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Draconchilde!
I'm Earwen, from NaNo.
I like your blog - too bad you don't have a followers gadget!

Heather said...

I've thought about adding one. Although I don't much truck with the following thing myself, many people do, and who am I to make it harder for people to do si?

Soni said...

I usually end up writing in my car before going into work, or even at work (I have the kind of job where I can do that). More often then not, if I try writing at my house, my parents come in a look over my shoulder.

After five years you think they'd catch on to my exasperated sighs and stop doing that? Of course not, they simply stand further back as if I won't know. Not helpful. So I write in my car with my stereo playing soundtrack music, or in a coffee shop with enough people talking for it to qualify as white noise.-Soni