If you read my blog last week, you know I began to dissect my life, trying to learn what is crushing my muse and acting on the beasts. One of the things was my writing space.  With the pool closed and the last tomato is picked and the weather is turning frosty, my writing spaces has moved back indoors. The grandkids who live with rule 90 % of the house, which made me retreat to my and what I discovered was not good. NOT AT ALL.

Sometime over the past spring and summer my Zen space became a storage area. With a bathroom remodel the stuff had to go somewhere. Yuck. The dust and clutter. They do nothing to help my muse, so I spent the better half of one day sorting and cleaning until I felt my muse say, “Okay. It’s doable. We can start the book, but we’re not done here.”

I love writing outdoors, but when the weather doesn’t allow me to, I need a space that doesn’t remind me that I have a list housework to get done. I need a space that inspires me to dream of another world and especially the two humans living in it. (our characters are real to us, no?)

If you haven’t learned this yet, you must. Everyone single person in this world is unique, perceives things differently, and has distinctive ways of learning and when we’re writing we’re learning about are characters lives. Some of us are visual people. They might want to color-code files to differentiate topics. Indulge in colored pens, highlighters, paper and index cards. Paint the walls of their creative space with vibrant, exciting colors. Or hang vacation pictures, or pictures of your characters and your story’s settings. They might try, with a pencil in hand, brainstorming, diagraming or just doodling while visualizing the next scene.

Some of us auditory people. We need music! Crank it up.  Or open the windows and enjoy the sounds of the world. Even family activity can keep you focus, so keep that office door cracked. This type might pack up their writing and head out to a café or library. They also can meet or call a friend and talk out their story plot.

Kinesthetic people rely on touch to trigger their muse, so tactile toys are ads to tickling their muses. They should select textured desk accessories. Mixed them up. Experiment with different kinds of paper and pens. For them, motion is a cure for writer’s block, so take a walk.  

I’ve found that I’m a little bit of all three types. I can’t learn simply by watching or listening and I’m definitely not the type to sit in my chair for long periods of time. Doing so, puts a strangle hold on my muse.  To keep my muse excited, I need to change things up now and then which means I’ll write in different locations in my home, but I can’t do the café thing. Not me. I’ve tried. I’ve written while standing at my kitchen counter or sitting on the floor next to sliding doors with the sun shining down on me. I can walk for twenty minutes and then come back and knock out a couple hundred words in the next twenty. I love free writing with a pad and pencil. Not a pen. Pens restrict me. The words seem too irrevocable. Nuts, I know. But I am who I am.

In my office, my walls are painted yellow. I love plants so there a few of them.  Pictures of family and friends are everywhere. My awards are mixed in with my keeper books, and some awesome reviews and inspiring quotes are posted near my laptop. I have a bulletin board filled with character and setting pictures for my current work. Pictures of my past characters adore another area.

I burn lemon or jasmine candles because the scents inspire creativity. And sounds, my muse feeds on classical and new age music, and believe it or not, listening to the sounds of baseball or football games. (I think this stems from a time when I’d sit at my children’s practices and work on my next story.)

Touch. I come up with the best ideas in the shower. Something about the water hitting my body, releases the etorphines.

To create a space for you, first think about how you learn and then try different things to arouse your muse.     

How have you learned to stimulate your muse?

13 responses to “MY SPACE DIED”

  1. Jennifer Bray-Weber says:

    Great post, Autumn.
    Aside from writing outside and from time to time writing longhand, I burn sandalwood incense or spicy candles and listen to epic, sweeping (wordless) movie/gaming soundtracks to keep my muse stimulated.

  2. Rita Henuber says:

    Two walls of my office are glass so I don’t feel hemmed in. There are days I do shut the blinds and the world out. Now the weather is more moderate I can write outside. Away from reminders of other work needing to be done. I don’t go to a cafe/coffee shop. I get lost in people watching. I credit reading and hands on the keyboard with being my most powerful muse.

    • I’m a total people watcher too. I went to the library a few times, up to the secluded second floor where most of the non-fiction and classical fiction is shelved and still found myself checking out everyone who came through the doors and watched others as they carefully picked out new reading material. SIGH I envy those who can tune out others in public places.

      It’s great you can now get outside close that beautiful pool. Or the beach. WINK

  3. Tamara Hogan says:

    I’m all about the music. Every time I sit down to write, I consider the scene I’m working on that day, then try to choose music that helps my productivity. I put on my headset, then block out the rest of the world.

    Some days I choose a particular artist, and other days it’s more about vibe, loudness, or pace. This morning, a 1994 Steely Dan concert bootleg hit the sweet spot. 🙂

    • I have a one Cd that the music is suspenseful. Every time my villain steps on stage, it’s the one I play.

      But it does take time to find the right mood enhancers, doesn’t it?

  4. Kate Parker says:

    Autumn, now that I’m in Colorado with snow piled up to here, I know what you mean about not writing outside! So different from the south where I was.
    We have more than 3 months until the new house is done with my writing room, and in our little temporary home, I write in the dining room with a nice view of the kitchen. Yuck!
    I’ve been powering through, and so far, it’s worked. My muse has said “all right, let’s get going, this won’t last forever.”

  5. For me it’s not about the place, it’s about keeping flexible and doing what I need to do to focus. Often that means trying to get a few words done right off the bat in the morning to put myself in that mental mode, then taking my computer out to lunch to get back into writing mode after I’ve gotten sucked into answering emails – I can’t write with someone I know in the room, but the background noise of strangers tends to work for me.

    For brainstorming, I’m all about the shower, long drives, and running at the gym. So when I’m stuck those are my go-tos. And if that doesn’t work? My rule is don’t beat yourself up, just try something to change it up. Castigating myself for not getting the words never helps.

    Good luck getting into your perfect writing headspace, Autumn! 🙂

    • Don’t beat yourself up! I just offered this advice to another writer. Do what is right for you in the moment. It shows in your work.

      Thanks for sharing what works for you, Vivi! I love long showers and long walks.

  6. Lenee Anderson says:

    Well, since the flood my writing space upstairs has been taken over by all over the downstairs furniture and various stuff. The kitchen table has a 50in tv on it and a computer and all of Mike’s clutter. Max plays playstation and watches ridiculously dumb and annoying youtube videos of people playing video games. Literally, I cannot think. I’ve been invaded and it’s going on something like 80 days now. I’m a creature of habit and just can’t get the creativity going any where else in the house. Maybe routine is my muse. Who knows.

  7. I need quiet and a big chunk of time. Knowing a clock is ticking leaves me panicky. Silence and routine is my muse. Thanks, Autumn!

  8. Addison Fox says:

    This is a great post, AJ – SO SO TRUE!!!! It’s amazing how space has an impact on our writing.

    I was never a cafe writer – and still have my particulars – but realized that I *can* write at a cafe in the morning during the week. People are in and out, focused on their day, and rarely linger at tables. Which means … they don’t linger nearby wondering what you’re doing. The weekend crowd – WAY too nosy for me! 🙂

    Other than that, I’m a desk writer with very little music. I can do holiday tunes so will likely put those on now that we’re coming into the season but otherwise don’t have a real playlist when I write.

    It always amazes me how we’re so different in how we get there, yet every writer you talk to has the specifics of what works for them. More of the awesomeness that makes us creators!!



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