When I started working on my second major revision of my novel last week, I found I had a ridiculously hard time concentrating. I could barely look at a chapter before wandering off to Hulu to watch videos on improving my house. Which, for the record, I don’t need to do. We bought it new about a year ago. I couldn’t concentrate on the words and I felt like I was hitting a block every time I opened Scrivener.
I had one other minor problem, too. My belly was growing, and the way I’ve always worked via laptop (i.e., putting it on top of my lap) wasn’t going to work much longer. After reading an awesome post by Susan Dennard, I started to get serious about something I knew would be necessary if I wanted to keep working as my second trimester progressed and turned into my third trimester: I decided it was time to use the Home Office part of my home office/guest bedroom.
Just so you can see my old office setup, have some pictures:
Unfortunately, even though my move is a work in progress, I took these pictures about 15 minutes ago. So you can see my open to-do list notebook, my regular journal, my pregnancy journal, and a slew of books. It was a very zen place, as you can see.
See the way it’s all indented? That may or may not tell you something about how much time I spend there. Since it was about 20 degrees F when I got home from work today, that’s a heated blanket you see crumpled up on the floor. (I took a nap before making dinner.)
This is my reference bookshelf. Most of my writing books are still down here because I’m waiting to find some great bookends for the new office. Then this shelf will be much emptier, and crying out to be used for fiction. 😉
So, like I said, I was in a rut with my story. Pinterest fascinated me. Looking up the meals cooked by old friends from high school was suddenly an important evening task. After reading Sooz’s post, I realized two things:
- I needed to stop trying to write just after work. That’s when I’m exhausted and mostly just want to nap.
- It was time to put my office to use.
So I got to work backing up my old iMac and iPhone and getting ready to sell them (still need to do that), and packed up the important stuff. Monday was moving day, and upstairs I went. Here’s some pics of my office now, which is a work in progress.
I haven’t spent much time at this desk since getting a laptop, but I’m back now! The laptop’s closed in this picture, but I’m writing on it now. Next to it, you can see my new writing journal, where I can track my goals and frustrations and figure out what isn’t working. (see this other fabulous post by Sooz. Really not sure if I would’ve made it this far in novel writing without her advice.)
I’ll move the printer soon and make way for the bookends and reference books I was talking about. But all in all, a happy place.
I’ll move my printer here once I sell the iPhone, and move the end table closer to the desk. Underneath, on the far left, you can see the hint of the comb-bound version of my novel I made when I reached 25,000 words and was so proud for getting that far. Next to it is the purple binder, which hosts the first “complete” version of my novel and all the scribbles I used to make it to the second draft. The patterned binder will hold my next complete version, to be printed hopefully by the end of February. The single sheet of paper is a calendar for the year I set the book, and the fallen-over pink notebook holds all my original ideas, outlines, character sketches, etc. (and some fan fiction I wrote when I wasn’t near a computer.)
Ignoring the mess of CDs in the middle, this is my temptation. It’s obviously also the Guest Bed part of my home office/guest bedroom, but that’s irrelevant. It’s a comfy place to nap, it has my mindless coloring that I currently use as my break from editing, and a book I’m currently reading. It’s also where I plan to do much of my hand-editing once I’m reading out of the patterned binder.
And so far? Moving upstairs has done wonders. I’m stuck in a real chair, which makes it much more unlikely that I’ll start to nap in the middle of my work. I’m staring at
my reflection in the iMac a wall, my husband’s desk is now two stories away from me, and I feel like this is a “real job” again.
I only made it through 5 chapters in about 10 days when I was trying to work in my living room. I’ve now made it through 5 chapters in 2 days, with plans to tackle no less than 2 more tonight.
Sometimes changing location (and time of work, and journaling) is all it takes.