Every now and again, I run across something online that sticks with me. A few days back, my friend Tammy posted this article by Hugh MacLeod on Facebook. It has various suggestions on how to stay creative and not let the process get the better of you. I read through it, nodding now and again when something I hadn’t thought of made sense, until #11 smacked me upside the head:”The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props. Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece on the back of a deli menu would not surprise me. Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece with a silver Cartier fountain pen on an antique writing table in an airy SoHo loft would seriously surprise me.”
This comes on the back of a pang of jealousy about a writer friend who has a new away-from-home office, her very own space with a door and a lock. A place to go to be creative. Yes, I have an office. It has a door and a lock, and furthermore, it’s in a house that is empty on weekdays apart from me and the cats. My commute is one flight of stairs. It also has a TV and a kitchen–my two biggest distractions. When I read about my friend’s office, I thought how nice it would be to have a place to GO, a place where I could pick up a coffee on the way and settle in for hours of non-distracted writing. An airy SoHo loft, so to speak. I already have the antique desk, although the Cartier fountain pen would probably only get used for signing autographs for my adoring fans.
You see where I’m going with this. If I can’t discipline myself to write a book in my home office, it’s not going to work anywhere. It’s not about the props. It’s about the story, no matter how hard and gritty and tear-filled the process is. It doesn’t matter that I’ve come to the end of a scene without a clue as to what comes next. That’s going to happen anywhere because, apparently, that’s my process, at least until I figure out a better way. Maybe then I’ll be ready for an away-from-home office, but I doubt it. It’s a safe bet that even if I were ready and could afford it, I’d stay where I am. There are distractions everywhere. Best to just duck my head and ignore everybody.