Friday, June 10, 2011

Barbie's Bunkhouse: The Perfect Writing Environment

Yes, we've heard all the glam about writer's in their PJ's, or sitting with their glass (or bottle) of wine to get them in story mode. But is that reality? We all know Barbie LOVES her wine, and while it's good to loosen things up and brainstorm, it's not overly productive when I'm actually writing. Well, unless it's in the middle of the day, and I suppose if it's just one or two glasses vs. half a bottle. But wine at night relaxes me too might and makes me sleepy, which equals not many pages. And while I have stayed in my PJ's before and gotten pages done, life eventually calls and I have to get out of the house (and also look presentable, because I'm just that way.) PJ's arent' really working for me either since most of the time except for weekends I'm getting ready for the dreaded 'day job'.

I've had 2 glorious vacation days this week. One of which was a decent writing day. The other? while I intended for it to be a writing day, it turned out to be anything but. Grrrr..... But I'll get over it and move on. But during my time off, with my computer, i found myself changing locations where I write. Mornings at the kitchen table with the morning light and my picturesque backyard, evenings back at my desk in the livingroom enjoying my garden fountain and westerly breeze (when it's not so humid). Changing location helps. My desk keeps me more secluded, away from the hub of the house so I tend to get more done. In the quiet of the morning, I just love my kitchen and the rest of the house is still sleeping.

Which got me thinking...Does the perfect writing environment exist? I know it's subjective to each writer. But if you could CREATE the PERFECT writing place what would it be like? Does your muse require nature? a bustling coffee shop? A City skyline? Or anywhere as long as you have ear-buds and mozart?

I know writers who retreat to cabins in the woods where there are no internet, no tv's. it's just a room with electricity a bed and a kitchen. They go there when they are in deadline mode and basically crank out an entire book in one week. WOW. I'm thinking a need a shed in my backyard, with a cot and desk (forget the lawnmower).

Kari and I recently did a mini-retreat. We started at her house in the morning, then checked into a local hotel and wrote I think until midnight'ish. Then we were up and writing again until checkout. It was awesome!!!! Maybe not my ideal environment (hotel room) but the idea of getting away, even locally, from the duties of the family and actually being productive was THE BEST!!!

so for me, if I had to create that perfect writing space. I think it would be a cabin/cottage out in the woods. I love the sounds of nature - especially in the morning. A fireplace to add atmosphere, maybe some candles or better yet old oil lanterns because I think they are cool (American Pickers fan, remember?) Heck, I wouldn't even mind if there were animal heads on the wall! A hot-tub would be nice out on a deck for a relaxing break, an the fridge would be stocked with great foods to BBQ, and of course....WINE!!! Which is fine because I'd be writing ALLLL day, and relaxing with Mr. Pinot in the evening!

So how would you create your space? Inside or outside your home? Out of the country? Let those imaginations soar! Money is no object! What is YOUR perfect writing environment?


Kari Lee Townsend said...

Oh man, great post. I think mine would be something like right out of the movie Nights in Rodanthe.

A big house with lots of windows, great views, and big porch that sits right on a secluded beach by the ocean. I think it was somewhere in North Carolina. I am dying to rent a place like that for a long weekend sometime. And I want it to be like when she was there in the movie. Off season like maybe March or April. when it's still a bit cool.

For me it's not about swimming and baking in the sun. It's about walking the beach in my light sweater, hearing the waves crash and soar, sitting with my wine in the evening outside by a fire, etc. And a hottub would be nice too. A few clouds, the wind blowing, the sound of the water. There's just something so inspiring about the ocean. So big and magnificent and yet calming and peaceful.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Oh and yeah....our retreat was awesome! MUST do that again. so productive. I need another one cuz finishing this damn book two is killing me. I'm loving it, just no time to write. Life keeps getting in the way. ugh.

Cassy Pickard said...

Fun post, Barbie! I too move around my house to write. I have a large island in my kitchen that offers a perch over our lake. My home office sometimes too distracting with all the other details calling to me. But, I confess, my favorite spot is in Italy when I go all by myself.

Liz Lipperman said...

You are so right about things "interfering" in our writing. I am such a people watcher, places like Starbucks wouldn't work for me. I'd be so busy trying to figure out why the woman in the front of the line has the frown on her face or why the man behind her keeps looking at his watch that I'd never get any writing done.

I have to have total silence when I'm writing new stuff. Editing is a whole other ballgame. So, sometimes even my own computer is a distraction with FaceBook, emails, games, etc. I have discovered the best place for me to work is in the living room in my Lazy Boy in my pjs.

I've been known not to answer the door or the phone when I'm clicking. Sometimes, I even take the phone of the hook....oh wait, I do that for my daily nap!!

Which, BTW, is my way of plotting another scene. Yeah, right!

Anita Clenney said...

I think my perfect writer's retreat would be a castle sitting up above a beach, with rolling hills behind it leading to enchanting woods. Yeah! Maybe in Scotland. That way I could move around and get a different vibe from the different settings. Great post. I think it can help to change writing locations. I get tired of sitting in the same place all the time.

Lindsay said...

I never really gave it much thought as to what would be the perfect writing environment. I do know there wouldn't be any Mozart coming out of my earbuds though. Give me country music any day.
I guess really the best place would be where I can get the most done, be it an island in the South Pacific, a castle in England or my little mobile home. Just as long as there's a starbucks near by.

Barbie Jo Mahoney said...

You guys are GREAT! As life got in MY way and I never made it back to my computer until now. Can you say "Ugh". Yeah, Kari, another retreat sound perfect right about now.

And I'd go for the beach too. And yeah, I don't have to have it tropical hot. Cool is good and walking the beach, listening to the surf sounds heavenly!!!

Cassy...once again, I volunteer my services as your personal assistant when you travel to Italy. Although I'd be afraid if I escaped to Italy all by myself I would never come back. No, seriously, I mean it. Well from Italy I'd actually hop over to Ireland and THEN never come back.

Which brings me to Anita..A castle?? OMG, a girl after my own heart! LOVE them!! The character, the history. MmmHmm...I'd be too busy conjuring up some romantic notion and spirits (don't go there Kari) to even attempt writing!

Liz, you crack me up. Phone off the hook during nap time!?! Kari and I have already decided we are coming to your house and living by the pool. Who needs RWA when we have Liz Lipperman?! I haven't actually tried the recliner. I gravitate toward the middle of our sectional, but eventually put my feet on the ottoman. No jammies though, darn it!

Lindsey, I would ONLY choose Mozart because I love my country music! I've done it before where I think I've turned it down low enough for background noise, but the lyrics filter in and I find myself vegging out and singing along. sometimes plotting, but there's no typing going on.