A writer’s room is a space where a writer feels safe enough–in mind, body and spirit–for her senses to bleed…without bleeding out. It’s where she can fully be her writing-self, and where her writing process is created and is developed. At least, that’s how I see it.
Visualize the writing room as this infinitely adaptable space protected by a boundary of expansive energy, like dark energy counteracting the forces of distraction…and chocolate.
Level 1 – The Writing-Self
At the center of your writer’s room is your writing-self. Though she is a self naturally integrated with the rest of you, she is also a distinctive collection of all the natural and unwittingly cultivated things inside you that, if didn’t exist, you would not be a writer…which would suck hard.
Your writing-self is where your natural writing talents live and play; where your feelings about being a writer are born when you were born and continues to grow as you continue to grow; where your feelings for the art and ecstasy of writing and your writing skills grow and deepen; and where your experiences with writing so far, are etched and indexed like memories into your mind-body-spirit.
Level 2 – The Writing Process
Directly surrounding this nucleus, is a firm but malleable protective layer that prevents your writing-self from being crushed by the mundane and the harsh realities of being a writer. This layer is the writing process.
The strength and flexibility of this layer determines whether you will become a prolific writer, a casual one, or an impotent one.
“There will be a prosaic, everyday, practical person to bear the brunt of the day’s encounters,” writes Dorothea Brande in her classic book on the writing process and the psychology of being a writer, Becoming a Writer. “[It] must learn to be intelligently critical, detached, tolerant, while at the same time remembering that its first function is to provide suitable conditions for the artist-self.” The artist-self is the writing-self and this prosaic, everyday, practical person is the ward of your writing process.
The writing process, for the purposes of this post, is more than the long established 5-step system of prewriting, writing, revision, editing and publishing. Underneath is a solid foundation of self-discipline: a thoughtfully developed, unique routine–getting your ass in your seat when shit needs to be done–that greases the wheels of the writing process from prewriting through to publishing…to the lesser known step of crying like a bitch-baby in the corner because though your work is done, you’re absolutely terrified of how it will be received. Damn, I love being a writer!
An idea will remain an idea or be stillborn if you don’t have a set of writing habits that are practical, effective, and consider some of your relevant personality traits. If you don’t allow your writing ward to “bear the brunt of the day’s encounters”, distractions will easily sway your writing-self away from the task at hand.
See what I mean!
Because your writer’s room is the space where your writing-self lives and your writing process is created and developed and strengthened by self-discipline, it is where you will live or die as a writer everyday you are in it. It’s where you either create work that is fully realized and can be proud of, or you create work you’d sooner set ablaze than let continue to “exist” a minute longer.
Mmmm roasted marshmallows….