Finding Metaphorical Space to Write

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Feature image from ELITE DAILY

There is a big difference between having a desk to write in, and having enough mental space to allow yourself to write.  I used to think that all I needed was an office of my own, and then the books will just flow out of me onto the office floor.

When my partner and I moved into a four bedroom house on the South Coast, I got my very first office.  I brought a secondhand desk, found a chair on the street and wrote notes to myself to stick all over the wall.  I stuck a post it to the door that read ‘Book Factory – Keep out!’ and lined the walls with bookshelves and folders.  I was certain I had everything I needed.

When I did finally get my own space to write, I was astounded at how little work I did when I sat there.  I would sit at my desk for hours wasting time and getting frustrated.

What was missing was space in my head to let ideas flow.  I was so full of worry, frustration, writing anxiety, fear of failure, fear of success, and pressure that it was impossible to get any creative words from my head.

Here is how I now manage to find a little metaphorical space in my head to let the creativity flow. Continue reading

Finding Literal Space

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The perfect writing space does not exist.  There I said it.  You can stop looking!

Take a look around you now, Where are you sitting as you read this?  Perhaps you are on the train or at the kitchen table.  This space around you now is your space to write.  That is it.  You are in it!  Now.  So get to it.

There is no excuse to not write because you don’t have the ‘room’.  I am between desks at the moment and so I spend a lot of time writing on my bed, leaning against the bed head.  This is where I am right now.  It is not ideal for my back, eyes or neck, but there is always space to write if you want to find it.

For a more permanent solution to find a space to write in, check out these alternatives to a conventional office…

The Emerging Writer, Writing in cafes, Places to writeCAFÉS  – There is always room for you to write in a cafe, if you are prepared to buy it.  You just cant sit about in a cafe not buying anything and expect to stay.  If you are like me and cant drink coffee in the afternoon anymore, you might find yourself  buying something to stay that you don’t even want. Heading to a café, sounds like a good idea, but it doesn’t always work out well.  I suggest avoiding places with table service, as the wait staff tend to never leave you alone.

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PARKS – Parks are cheaper alternative to the cafe if you dont want to be charged to rent the space.  The success of writing in parks normally depends on the weather and the time of day – but when the conditions are right it is envigorating and freshing to be outside.  the downside is that you often can’t see your computer screen and usually get a pretty sore back.  My advice would be to aim for working with pen and paper and do some sky gazing, take notes.  Parks are where I try and do most of my planning.

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LIBRARIES – You can never use a lack of space as an excuse not to write.  What about your local library?  Every town has one, and chances are if you pay tax, you probably helped to build it.  It’s a great way to get away from the house without feeling like you have to keep on buying coffees to stay.  Better than a park on a cold wet day.  I also love the fact that I am surrounded by so many incredible stories and writers as I work.  Libraries help remind me of what I am doing, what I am competing against and the standard I should be aiming for.  It is also a great place to find new authors who might just change your life.

The Emerging WriterWARDROBES – I love this inventive space saving solution.  A wardrobe office is defiantly on my wish list, especially as I am quite a messy writer and would love to close the door and make it all disappear at the end of the day.  You might need to get a bit brutal when cleaning out the wardrobe in the spare room, but what a treat if you can make it work.  A secret cave of writing mystery.

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A FOLDER OFFICE – When I am writing over seas I work from my folder office.  When I open the folder, be it on the plane, in the hotel or on the beach in Thailand – I am in my office and I am in work mode.  If you don’t have somewhere you can leave your notes, get a great folder organise it, and take it with you, opening it up and you are at your desk, where ever that is.

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AN INCENSE OFFICE – Remember your sense of smell?  If you are writing at your kitchen table, smells aromatherapy and incense are a great tool to transform space in your home into your office.  (I always use peppermint, as it is a natural stimulant)  By using the same scent every time you sit down to write, that smell will trigger the sensation of work in your brain.

10 Questions to Ask Before you House Sit

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  1. How much time do the home owners spend at home? Are they home all day?  If they are out all day, then this will effect their idea of bills, heating and cooking during the day.  It will also effect how the animals will interact with you and how much attention they will expect or require.
  2. What sort of temperament does the animal have?  How to they interact with small children and other animals.  Particularly for dogs but in case guest or strangers come to the home you need to know how to react to them.
  3. What would they like done with the mail?
  4. Where are the smoke alarms in the house?
  5. Where are the mains switches for the house – Also torches and candles in case of a black out or short circit.
  6. Would they like pictures of the animals while they are away?  Or flowering plants that will blossom while they are gone.  This one is from my mother who has been waiting 7 years for a orchid she got from her mother to bloom.  It blossomed for the first time while she was away and always regretted missing it.
  7. Ask about phone reception.  We are in a big country where sometimes you can’t get TV reception when it’s raining ( I have heard, I actually don’t own a TV) so it is not a crazy question to ask if you get phone reception in the house.  Or in what parts of the house.
  8. How would you like us to deliver phone messages to you – Record them all together, or email/text you when they come through.
  9. What would be the plan if something where to happen to the animal, Death or Injury.  Obviously this is very unlikely as you will take as much care as possible with the animal.  But things happen, ticks bit and spiders are under the house.
  10. Would they like you to leave anything in the house for when they get back.  Emergency supplies?

 

IMG_0493Meghan Brewster is a Blogger, Freelance writer and general spinner of Fiction. She is the founder and editor of The Emerging Writers Diary, as well as Itp & Me, a website dedicated to managing the rare platelet disorder, ITP. To learn more about Meghan Brewster follow this link. By making purchases through links on this website you are helping to support a young emerging writer. Thank you.

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Fighting with my First Office

The Emerging Writer, Writing, Writers, WriteToday was one of the most fantastic and confronting days of my writing life.  Today I spent my first full day in my very first office.  It was incredible and hard.  I have four walls and two doors wrapped around my writing space.  I am contained within the house, undisturbed and alone with my work.

I have been dragging a trail of words and thoughts behind me for 18 months now and today I could finally place it all together and look at the pieces of writing that made it all this way.  Some parts of my work were lost or left behind, others are back in Bali from before I decided to write full time.  Ideas where torn up in a share house in Sydney and scrap notes of paper have been left in my mothers spare room.  A thought came and went in a cafe in Milton but somethings did make it, characters & times & spaces.  Today I had to face that mess and see what I had left.

I woke early and started the day by reading a little of The English Patient by Michael Ondaatjie as I eased into a day of writing.  I was naive to think that if I built it, the writing would come.  I could barely sit in there.  I stayed within the confides of the office for periods of an hour at a time, then had to get out.  I put loads of washing on, swept the floor and made lunch, being in there was confronting.  No more excuses.  I have always had a reason why I have not been writing too much.

It is my office.  I am sitting at the desk writing this post.  I cannot believe it.   The most important messes have traveled this whole way and made it to Merimbula.  I am stunned and excited and scared by it, and a part of me keeps saying ‘Your not ready for this‘.  I better figure out how to get ready pretty soon, or I will miss it all, cause it is happening.

 

 

A Quick Guide to House Sitting

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House Sitting is a Great Idea!!  House sitting is a writers best friend.  If you know what you are doing.  Living rent free, often in an isolated or rural environment is a great way to get a lot of writing done without it costing you a fortune.  In the beginning of your career as a writer you will need to be clever with your time and money to get the head start you need.

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My house sitting experience

I think house sitting is the best idea ever and it has made our life possible.  House sitting website know how great house sitting is for writers and will often angle themselves towards writers with questions such as….  Need to finish that screen play or ever wanted to spend three months traveling and writing a novel?

The only thing you need to realise is that there will probably be pet care.  Yes there will be Pet Care!!  Most house sits also come with pet care, from chickens and dogs, to horses and fish.  Some people may see this as a negative but I actually think it is one of the perks.  As a writer working from home it’s nice to have a few animals around for company.  And they make a great excuse for a break, feeding the dog and locking the chickens up.

Emerging Writer, Writing, writers, Yes it Actually Works!!  I am writing this article from my new office in a house sit house in the National Park in NSW.  So many ideas people have for saving money sound good in theory, but don’t seem to work in real life.  This one does.  My fiancee and I will be house sitting for the next three months here, and have already had interest from people going away after that.  To read more about my personal experience house sitting Click Here

To read more go to  Ten Questions You Must Ask an Owner Before you House Sit.

IMPORTANT NOTES for you –

  1. You have to be organised.  If you are not organised when you start, you soon will be.  What I am talking about it having a diary and a good idea about the next few months of you life.  Sorting out dates and times and seeing potential houses.
  2. Allow yourself to get settled.  When you first move to a new house, don’t make any commitments for those first three days.  You are going to need to find the supermarket, the butcher and late night chocolate.  Petrol stations are a good one to find early as well as chemists and gyms.
  3. Have your own internet.  Most houses will have their own internet at home that you will be able to use when you arrive, but that might not always be the case.  We have had a few problems with the internet while staying in the National Park with no phone reception as well.  It is always a good idea to be independent with those things if you can.
  4. Ask about Phone reception.  See above.
  5. Prepare for High maintenance pets.  The type of people who don’t or can’t put their animals into long term care are normally very protective and connected to their pets.  Most owners we have met have felt their animals to be very important to them, referring to them like their animals are humans, usually with medications, health needs and a strict routine.  It is always up to you weather or not you take on the responsibilities of the pet.  Owners are also worried about leaving their animals alone for a long time but I send a few photos over the first few days and the owners soon relax.
  Here are some great Australian House Sitting Organisations.
I don’t have enough experience with Overseas House Sitting to recommend anyone I know.
  1. The Emerging Writer

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Want to find that perfect cabin in the woods?

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The Emerging Writer, writingIt is a dream for every writer I have ever met.  To have some where to go and write.  Every writer has a secret cabin in the woods – a place away from everything where they can go to focus on work.  This one is what mine would look like – But I’d probably have a boat as well.  Cabin Porn is a great website to brain storm your future DIY building projects.  Check out Cabin Porn HERE.  It delivers everything the name promises.

Finding a Cafe to Write in

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My New Writing Space

19 June 2013

In light of my recent discovery that I need a writing routine, I went out in search of a great cafe.  Somewhere that I only come to write in.  I was reading over yesterdays post when I realised that I was not taking my own advice.  There is no where really for me to sit and write in my families house, so I found a place where they will let me stay and write.  I found it!  Where there is good coffee, a friendly vibe and the perfect chair to table height ratio.

It’s a cute little place in Mermibula town with counter service attached to a book store. It feels like I’m writing in a very trendy library with great coffee.  The stools are a great height and so much better than writing on my bed every day.  Also the books around me are very inspiring.

Joining Your Local Library

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details… unknown yet.

17 June 2013 – Today I went and found the local Library in Merimbula – Which had moved since I lived here last.  I wanted to check out the local history books and collection, particularly everything they have on the whaling families.

There were a few great books but I have had to order in a few more from another library.  I also found a book all about Merimbula.  Imagine my surprise to discover my photograph from the 200 year celebrations of the school or something, I forget the details.  But check it out, I must be in year 3 or something.

Its nice to know I am already part of the towns history.

Finding a home

06 June 2013 – Before I tell you where I am right now, I need to first fill you in on where I have been for the last few days.  No I haven’t been writing.  I have been in and out of real estate offices, traveling back and forth between house inspections and walking through horrible old rental houses.  I have been in a dark place.

 

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Finding our home

So when my mother tells me this morning that a friend of hers is looking for a house sitter, I am sceptical.  But she is my mum and I promised her I would go and look at it.  I am already heading in that direction.

The house is incredible.  The owners live with a cute dog called Poppy who needs looking after for three months.  We have gone from Sydney rent – to Country rent – to No rent!  What a perfect time to write.

Tomorrow I am heading back to Sydney to pick up a few more things and of course the boyfriend.  I have barely written at all during this last week, but I am considering it a win.  Can’t wait to move in.

Stealing the Space

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Stolen desk space

30 May 2013 – For a long time I have been writing in parks, on couches, at dinner tables and in beds.  I have not had a space that was just dedicated to writing.  My Fiance works from home also and he has this great set up where he plugs his laptop into another monitor that sits a lot higher than the desk top.  Tonight I am stealing it.

It is so nice to sit at a proper space for a while, with a high bright screen and a solid big table.  Oh I can not wait any longer for my own space…  It is only a few weeks away now.