Spring might finally be here after all. Today, on this fine Thursday, the temperature is supposed to get up into the fifties! Which means the remnants of this week’s snowstorms will probably all melt. Fine by me. I don’t know about all of you but I am DYING for warm weather. I’ve also had this indescribable craving to put my hands into some soil and start gardening. I’m not a green thumb by any means…so this is strange for me.
The beginning of winter is usually when I get excited about spending time cloistered indoors with a hot cup of coffee and that orange dusky light next to my writing space. I like to imagine that I’m going to have all kinds of time to work on various writing projects (including the blog) and in the end, it rarely turns out that way. In fact, there is a point in about mid-February where I become sick and tired of the Maine winter and long for sun and warmer temperatures. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
As a writer, I’m still searching to find my optimal writing conditions or let’s just shorten it to the OWC. Most writers will tell you that they need to carve out any writing time they can, anywhere they can because trying to write while working a full time job, spending time with family and friends, and taking care of a house doesn’t leave much time in between for scheduled writing blocks. The thing is, I believe you do your best writing when you have a space you feel comfortable in, where you can’t be interrupted or side-tracked. Scraps of paper here and there can only get you so far. You still need a block of time to knit it all together, even if those moments are few and far between.
I’ve lost touch with this part of me in since moving into my house. In my apartment, it was small and cozy and predictable. I could sit down at my desk or on the couch and pound out things with few problems. I had a view of the town and the beautiful sunsets and occasionally the ocean. I could hear it and smell it and I miss that. But I also had a noisy neighbor in the apartment next door, and occasionally, the stench of the infamous Rockland dump, and the sounds of the drunken and disorderly walking home from the local bars.
Here, in this house in the woods, it’s so utterly quiet. The couch where I have tried to sit and be productive is, I’m sure, actually made of quick sand and is simultaneously the most comfortable piece of furniture I own. As a result, I often fall asleep on it instead of doing much-needed work. I set up a temporary office space in the corner of the living room so that I wouldn’t have this problem anymore. Still, I’m drawn to the heated blanket and marshmallowy cushions of this irresistible sofa.
I’m craving warmth. That’s a part of my OWC. A comfortable chair is another. Currently the Windsor chair at the make-shift desk is less than cozy. The silence is also rough. Everybody is different. Turns out I need ambient noises to be able to work. The cat zooming back and forth and scratching the furniture isn’t what I’m looking for. I’ve set up my Spotify and Noisli to give a combination of inspiring sounds. Now, I just need a better chair and Spring.
My latest work has revolved around #projectsyzygy. It’s a science fiction short story that was inspired by the game Elegy For A Dead World. I’m hoping to have it be part of a short story collection that I’m working on. I’m hoping to finish it before the end of the month (big challenge!) so that I can pursue other writing projects.
I’m on hold with the follow up for The Collection, Hiraeth. I have a good third of the book written, but I’m beginning to consider that I need to shave a lot of that down before I continue. The object behind this novel is to really grasp the Downton Abbey feel that the first book lacked: the life of hired staff vs. privileged families. That…in a house with a mind of its own. I’m still stoked about finishing this, but I need to take a step back and refocus where I want this to go. Usually I have the ending already figured out when I start a project but this one has been eluding me. I don’t necessarily want to have another follow up book after this so everything needs to come to some kind of conclusion. Yay for plot resolution!
Which leaves these projects on the table: The Wild Dark, The Night We Met, and Beast of Burden. The Wild Dark is similar to Hiraeth in that I have the majority of the book written, but I’m unsatisfied with my protagonist’s origin story. I’d really like to spend some time altering her but I know that I really need to just finish writing the book and then spend the time editing. The Night We Met was a short story that I was hoping to submit to a particular contest but ran out of time. It may end up in the short story collection with #projectsyzygy. The Night We Met is inspired by The X-Files and Dan Simmon’s Summer of Night. And finally, Beast of Burden, which has been THE most difficult book to get started on. I’ve rewritten the beginning four or five times now. It’s meant to be a comedy horror series with influences from Psych, Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines, and Dexter.
Do any of you have a particular vote? If so, feel free to drop me a line. And while you’re at it, let me know what you’re currently working on. Tell me what you’re ideal OWC is. Tell me what you’ve done to try and make your writing time and space better. I’d love to hear.
Until next time,