What a nice work space! Two monitors! I'd say I'm high-tech, but pretty much everyone else in the family has three. And look at that snazzy ergonomic keyboard. Planner, reading glasses, research notes, transcripts of interviews, filing cabinet with a pleasing number of refrigerator magnets. This has been my home office for almost 20 years, and it's cozy and quite functional.
Except that as I spread out while working--yes, I'm that creative type who is messy at her desk, but knows where everything is and everything is exactly where I need it to be--I'm never not working when I'm here. By that, I mean that the work I do to earn a living takes precedent here. How could it not? I'm not going to clean off the desk every day when I want to work on my novel. I mean, everything is where it belongs.
But it's hugely distracting. And I've also developed a very firm mindset that this is where I do my work for paying customers. Yes, I have written fiction and poetry here. But it's a struggle.
Which is why, as part of my grant, I requested funds to use a writer's studio at the Loft. My husband was perplexed: "But you have a workspace," he said. Yup. See the above text.
I have come to the part of my grant year where I'm starting to use the writer's studios, and, oh.
Each door is painted and has the name of a Minnesota-based writer. In the case of this studio, it's Felix Nolan, who was a nationally known writer in the 1930s-1950s and who spent most of her life here in the Twin Cities. Alas, her work has fallen out of view, and a quick Google search did not turn up anything. However, a nearby plaque noted that a short story she wrote is included in the Best American Short Stories of the Century, which I own, so I will definitely check her out.
But look at this quiet, meditative space, and compare it to the hectic workspace above:
A wide, clean desktop where I could spread out the research for this project. Or not. Above the desk, an enormous bulletin board with push pins. A glider for reading and research.
No clutter. And I'm not apologizing for my clutter; like I said, I've worked like this for almost 20 years, and I know it's the way that works for me, in terms of my nonfiction/corporate work.
But this Loft studio--this is something else again. I've just begun using the studios, and already I can see that this could make a marked difference in my creative work. My other work is out of sight, out of mind, and it seems like my mind just settles down and shuts out the other stuff when I sit at this desk.
I foresee a productive writing year for me.