Friday, July 31, 2015

A Space of My Own

By Sarah Reichert

I’m constantly making deals with myself. "Two extra miles and hot coffee is waiting for you at home" or "Clean the bathroom and then you can read". I live in the balance of give and take. It inspires me to do the things I may not necessarily want to in the moment. Very basic psychology/reward system but I've had a change in my thinking.

For a long time now, I’ve had a deal that when one of my novels got published, an actual contract with actual pay, I would let myself revamp the upstairs loft for an office of my own.  It’s been one of the driving forces that has gotten me through almost three full length novels. But I’ve started to stall.  See, I write at the kitchen table, and it works…sort of. I love being in the midst of the chaos and the blaring pony voices from morning cartoons, shifting from scene building and emotional confessions to getting more cereal or wiping up spilled milk. Its how I’ve done it for a long time. 

My youngest will be going to kindergarten this year for half day (because I’m one of those moms who isn't quite ready to let go yet) and I’ll be thrown into a strange position of having three hours of uninterrupted time every morning to do whatever I want. I could stay at that kitchen table and plug away, probably for years, at that publishing deal and it would be fine. 

But given that I’ve already proven I can stick with a book to the very end, it is not my drive that’s in question. The question becomes instead: What have I given to myself in return for those long hours at the kitchen table? 

It’s easy for parents, moms in particular, to become martyrs. We don’t need much and tell ourselves we don’t deserve to overtake a room with our notes, books, pens, journals, and inspirational click-clack. 
Enjoy, because in a few months, this office will NOT look this organized.

But we do deserve to put ourselves in the best possible place to succeed.  

I want a space, a grown up one, without cheerios stuck to the table next to me and the evidence of all the cleaning I should be doing nagging me from all sides. 

Also, once those merry little voices are off in someone else’s classroom, away from the safety of my arms, that table will seem a lonely place.  Having a space of my own, one not tied to my other obligations, might just help me switch from a missing-my-sticky-fingered-fairies-to-the-point-of-tears-mom to a writer who’s investing in herself and the art she loves.

With the help of my wonderful husband I carved out a space.  I’ve filled it with pretty things and functional furniture. I’ve filed my notes in places I can easily reach and stocked up on supplies like any good Office Depot junkie would.

Its still part of the chaos, but not in the center of it. A perfect balance.

Do you have a special space you like to work in?


Patricia Stoltey said...

I have a special place to work in, and it's always a mess. I think a gremlin follows me around and if I pick up one thing, it throws down two more. I'm sure it's a gremlin...

Abbie Taylor said...

I have an office in my house where I like to write, but I occasionally work with a lap top in my back yard or recliner.

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