My #WriteSpace | With Space to Create #WhereIWrite


I have always been fascinated with the spaces where creatives love to retreat to. I loved the Hachette vlog series #WhereIWrite. I absolutely love Catching Days’ How We Spend Our Days interview series where Cynthia Newberry Martin asks writers to guest-post on how they spend their days. I have also just recently found the delightful rabbit hole of  Novelicious’s My Writing Room. 

 

courtesy of the freedictionary.com

 
To me there is something sacred about being let into a creative space. For many creatives, this space is often where they feel most like themselves. It is a nest where they can retreat to succour their creativity. So I thought I would invite you into my #WriteSpace for a short while. 

*Ever curious about other creative spaces, I have also knocked on the doors of some of my friends and asked if we could have a quick peek into their creative spaces over the next few weeks. If you’re curious to see where they create too, remember to click on their names, at the end of this post, to take you to their digital spaces.*

“The writing life is defined by the succession of choices you make, primary among them whether or not you will write. You honor your writing space by entering it with this mantra: ‘I am ready to work.’ You enter, grow quiet, and vanish into your writing.” | Eric Maisel.

Welcome to my #WriteSpace.

This is where I go to run away with my characters and escape into my stories. I am fortunate enough to have a dedicated “Room of my Own” with space to create. I write full time and for me my home is the perfect place to write. I’m not one to write at cafes. I prefer to be in my own space in solitude when writing. I love this space of mine. It is on the top floor of my home overlooking a beautiful golf course in hills embraced by the Pacific Ocean. It faces north-east which means that the morning sunshine streams into this space. But being north-facing, this space is filled with light throughout the day. I’m a country-gal, born and bred, so to work well, I need lots of natural light, spaciousness and a view of the outdoors, as free of buildings as possible. A space from which I can hear bird song and enough open space to get lost in. 

I have spoken before about my vintage solid-oak rolltop desk which I waited patiently for years to find and finally make mine. There is something special about sitting down at a rolltop desk and writing. Talking of sitting, my chair is the most comfortable chair I have ever sat in. I paid more than a a pretty penny for it but every penny was worth it. It is a leather ergonomic (very important for the comfort of my lower back, where I was kicked by a horse 20 odd years ago) swivel chair that rocks back and forth, leans back like a lazy boy chair, swivels in 360′ and has both a seat that is height adjustable and arms that are height adjustable.The desk itself is an inspiration for me. Each object on this desk has a purpose and a special meaning particular to me. 

“People think that I must be a very strange person. This is not correct. I have the heart of a small boy. It is in a glass jar on my desk.” – Stephen King

One of the many reasons I love my rolltop desk is all the little storage compartments and many, many drawers, even a few secret drawers, it has. Here are a few of my own “hearts in a jar” that I keep on my desk.

Top of the Desk

  • Jessica Fletcher ~ My sexy Vintage Imperial Good Companion 5 Portable TypeWriter circa 1957.
  • Angel Sculpture (left) ~ I bought this beautiful Angel of Inspiration in Greece. She is holding a font of water that is said to be from a sacred waterfall of inspiration. 
  • Bronze sculpture of Hermes (right) ~ a nod to the Ancient Greek patron of Writers.
  • Photographs ~ photographs of me in places I have travelled and my beautiful Arabian gelding I left behind in South Africa when I immigrated to New Zealand.
  • Special memento objects from my favourite places that I have travelled ~ a sea-shell and glass bowl of semi-precious stones from South Africa + Exquisite handcrafted perfume bottles +traditional copper coffee pot from Dubai + Urn from Greece – my flower vase when I feel like fresh flowers + glass paperweight with a dragon kanji from Singapore + glass paperweight of a Cathedral in Melbourne, Australia.
  • A wooden paper weight carved for me from my brother when he was a child + stuffed tiger also from my brother.
  • A perpetual desk calendar with daily quotes from Shakespeare.
  • A collection of scented candles ~ I love to burn these when I’m finding the blank page/screen overwhelming.
  • The top of my desk also works excellently as a standing desk-space when I get tired of sitting.

On the Desk

  • Left: A shelf of fountain pen inks ~ Currently: Iroshizuku Yama Budo, Diamine Ancient Copper, Diamine Bilberry, Diamine Red Dragon and Diamine Eclipse + along with my rubber stamp and book darts collection
  • Right: Some more memento objects from my travels + a pink-haired troll (circa early 90s) with a sign – “Nobody’s Perfect” – important reminder for a recovering perfectionist.
  • Desk Area: A few of my collection of leather Traveller’s notebooks. (Leather covers that can hold multiple notebooks.)
  • Centre Desk Area: My A5 Custom Trifold leather Traveller’s notebook that houses my drafting notebook, my research notebook and my plot notebook + my favourite fountain pen ~ The Visconti Van Gogh Starry Night with Medium nib.
  • Desk Area: Rear Centre Left ~ A leather and wooden carved book-box, carved by my late maternal grandfather, where I store my fountain pens. On top of this box are my Hobonichi planners. 
  • Desk Area: Rear Centre Right ~ My Rain Design M Stand (aluminium laptop stand) and MacGyver aka my MacBook Pro 13″ aluminium laptop
  • Desk Area: Right~ Apple Time Machine (very important backup storage) + modem
  • Desk Drawers: If you opened my desk’s many drawers you would find a stationer’s supply of writing + sketch notebooks, pens, pencils, watercolour + oil paints and coloured pencils. These are essential to be kept close to me for my own sanity. I don’t believe a writer can ever have enough notebooks and pens/pencils. I also love to relax by sketching or painting. My love of sketching and painting is almost as strong as my love of writing. Just recently though I have started sketching with fountain pens as well which I am really enjoying. 

“Do me a favor – right now, today, start a list of all your crazy obsessions, the things that get your heart pumping, that wake you up in the middle of the night. Put it above your desk and use it to guide you, to jumpstart your writing each and every day.” | Jennifer McMahon

I do face the wall when seated at my desk but I could not bare a blank wall. So I have a print of one of my favourite paintings by Jackson Pollock ~ Silver on Black. I love the controlled chaos and sheer creative freedom of this piece. It is absolutely mesmerising to stare at. On the surface it looks chaotic but actually as you look deeper at it it reveals exquisite layers of colours and shapes. Ever single time I look at this painting, I see something new. Between this Jackson Pollock masterpiece in front of me and magnificent views to the left of me, I am never without visual stimulus sitting at my desk. I also love this painting because it reminds me that every creative masterpiece contains many initially imperfect, chaotic layers that eventually combine to form a masterpiece. 

“Routines and rituals, discipline and structure: it is within this order that the wild, free creative mind is set loose to roam.” | Judy Reeves

I do more than just writing in my space. I do a lot of reading and I love sketching here too. Every nest needs a comfortable corner. My comfortable corner is my large blue leather couch. There is nothing I love more than to lie back on my couch, pull my purple mohair blanket over me and tuck in with a new book to read. Of course as any self-respecting writer I am a caffeine-addict and coffee is my chosen vice. So I have my coffee corner all set up with my DeLonghi Automatic Espresso (the working drink) / Cappucino (the relaxing drink) machine and my assortment of favourite mugs and cups.

My two prints above my couch are copies of my two favourite Dali (Salvador Dali) paintings. Dali is one of my favourite artists and his works all inspire me to continue to dream and imagine. I am obsessed with surrealism but Dali is definitely my favourite surrealist. 

I always wanted a large whiteboard/blackboard to work out ideas and fill plot holes but never found anything quite right. Luckily enough I have a huge built in double wardrobe in my atelier and it has very useful, convenient full length mirrors. These work perfectly as my “whiteboard” area. So if I’m stuck in a plot-hole, I’ll usually write my way out of the hole by working things out on my mirrored plot-wall.

You’ll also have noticed the can’t-miss-it bold red carpet that fills most of the floor in my atelier. I absolutely love bold, bright colours and red is my power colour. So even when I look down at the floor, I am visually stimulated by the bold geometric patterns and bright colours of my carpet.

“A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” | John le Carre

Although I truly love my creative room of my own, I love to get outside. I do some of my best thinking outdoors. I have a cozy sitting area on my verandah (Jazz, my ever-constant writing companion, my beautiful papillon believes this space is as much his as mine) that is situated in a very leafy, small enclosed garden and being north-facing is bathed in sunlight most of the day. 

Walking is one of my – and Jazz’s – favourite daily rituals. Often I will take my Traveller’s notebook and pen and settle down in one of my favourite outside spots. I live on a gulf so am lucky to be within walking distance of the ocean, a river bordered by beautiful willow trees and a peaceful marina. I love being near water, somewhere where I can watch and hear the water flow or the tide come in. If I’m feeling in a funk, then I know it is time for Jazz and I to take a walk which usually takes me to these serene spaces.

“Most people dream a dream when they are asleep. But to be a writer, you have to dream while you are awake, intentionally. So I get up early in the morning, 4 o’clock, and I sit at my desk and what I do is just dream. After three or four hours, that’s enough. In the afternoon, I run. The next day, the dream will continue.” | Haruki Murakami


So tell me where do you create, think, dream? 

Do you have a creative room or place of your own?

Care to show me your write space? 


*Knocking on some Creative Doors #ShowMeYourWriteSpace*

Darcy Conroy | Narrative Disorder

Julie Christine Johnson

Rebecca J Bradley

C.J. Carver

Michael Jecks

Cynthia Newberry Martin

My favourite Websites of Creative Spaces

Hachette | #WhereIWrite

Catching Days | How We Spend Our Days

Novelicious | My Writing Room

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8 Comments

  1. Kim, I loved seeing the photos of your writing space, especially the way you use your mirrors as a white board–genius! And thanks so much for the mention–I’m happy to know how much you enjoy the series.

  2. I prefer a more ascetic space, myself, but my desks (I am using a room with a built-in desk at the moment) keep getting cluttered! Actually, at the moment I’m using the dining table, because the study’s one window faces east onto a hill, so there’s not much sun in there 😦
    Incidentally, how do you manage typing with your laptop so high? Do you have another keyboard which I failed to spot?

    • Mmh interesting.
      Ascetic? So you prefer a minimalist, monochromatic space? In my bedroom I prefer a more minimalist look and my bedroom is all in shades of soft green, ranging from mint to pine, and whites.

      This is why I am obsessed with looking into other creative spaces. I love the variety.

      As for the height of the my MacBook stand: I specifically wanted a stand with height. This is the most comfortable typing position for me personally when sitting at a desk. I don’t like a flat typing area as I find it strains my wrists more. So no separate keyboard.

      • Not so much monochromatic as not visually cluttered. I need lots of ‘background’ to stare blankly at while thinking 🙂
        I think I would lose all sensation in my hands if I had to type that high, but hey, each to their own, right?

  3. Kim, Thank you for taking us to your writer’s room and your creative spaces. Fun to see. Right now, my writers space is a spare bedroom in the front of the house. It’s still rather bare, with a six foot utilitarian table as my desk. A file cabinet sits in one corner. A set of shelves in the closet behind me hold my books. I’m out of room for the books, so will need to get more shelves. There are boxes all along one wall that hold my spices for my spice business, so I’m sharing space. I want to build some shelves for books.

    The best part of this room is the light. I have two sets of windows, one looking out on the lovely Coastal pine trees, a whole forest of them, and the other facing east, gives me great light and the views of the Pacific Coastal Range mountains a mile away.

    A block to my west is the enormous Pacific Ocean with its ceaseless waves and constant roar. This is where I go when I need to think, We have miles and miles of hard-packed beach and I walk there every chance I get. We also have mountain trails to hike if we get bored with the beach.

    If I just want to relax in the sun with a good book, we have two wide porches on the house, one front, one back. We sit in the front in the morning and drink our coffee, and the back in the afternoon as the sun travels. There are aspects of our life that often feels like perpetual holiday.

    Music: depends on what I’m writing. My current novel seems to need baroque music for inspiration. I love Jazz, and Hawaiian (I really miss the Hawaiian islands). I’m slowly making this space my own . It needs some pictures and some more books, and I’ll have it made.

    Deb Turner

    • Oh your atelier sounds lovely Deb! I can picture it and wish I could visit with you there. I’ve grown quite fond of the might Pacific Ocean. I miss the warm currents of the Indian Sea but the Pacific Ocean (and Tasman Sea – lucky enough up north where I am, I have easy access to both) has its own beauty.
      Forests! I adore forests. If I’m really feeling in the slumps, there is nothing like a roadtrip up north through magical rain forests to my favourite beach.

    • Ooh and music: Depends on what I’m working on. But my go-to writing music is the classics – I have a few favourite modern composers – and Jazz. But I also like having no music at times, and just listening to the Tui(s) (native NZ bird) call/sing/chatter outside.
      I have a great distraction free software – OmmWriter – that has its own built in atmospheric + white noise sounds that I often use too.
      If I’m feeling “lonely” – not very often, I’m perfectly content in my own company – I use the app, Coffitivity – it has white noise/crowd sounds.

      • If you ever come to the States, come to the Oregon Coast and look me up. I’m a block off the beach so we’d be there a lot, if you come during my summer (your winter). Would love to share my space with you.

        Deb

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