Creative Spaces — Post by Victoria M. Johnson

Creative Spaces

I love my writing space. I have a large Mac computer where I do most of my writing. It sits in a corner of my office surrounded by bookshelves, writerly magazines, and notepads. I wish I could say I keep the desk clean, but paper clutter is a constant struggle for me. I’m always working on something, taking notes for something else, and keeping track of things to do. I’m sure I’m not the only writer who fights the paper demon. I also have a weakness that often overtakes my office–I love books. I have too many but there is always another one I want. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, short stories and anthologies all beckon me. If I lived in a larger home that wouldn’t be much of a problem, but we live in an 800 square foot mobile home!  I’m happy here; it’s the perfect size home for us, set in the perfect location. I know I just need to read faster so I can pass the books on.

My office inspires me. When I first enter the room I see a few writing awards I’ve received hanging on the wall. I have encouraging quotes and affirmations around my desk area that I can easily see as I’m writing. And some interesting images and fun pieces of art make me smile when I glance at them. All of these things spark my creativity. But what about sparking my productivity?

I’ve had to resort to using an egg timer. That’s right. I have an egg timer on my desk. I use it to limit my time doing things that I find irresistible that aren’t writing. The major temptation that takes me away from writing is Twitter. Followed by Pinterest. Both of these distractions are so enjoyable that if I don’t watch myself, I can spend hours every day there. The egg timer is my only defense to ensure I stay productive and create new material everyday. I also use the egg timer to trick myself into doing tasks that I don’t feel like doing. I’ll say to myself, “You only have to spend 25 minutes editing this piece” or “Just take 15 minutes to read email.”  If I don’t do a little bit at a time, then the task piles up into a really unpleasant chore. So the egg timer serves a dual purpose, and I found a cool looking one.

Creative Spaces post by Victoria M. Johnson

Victoria finds inspiration in her small corner desk space.

My husband and I have lived in this home for nearly three years. I created a short story collection titled, The Substitute Bride, while living here. I’ve also written my first poem and several more poems since moving here. I’ve worked on film projects in this home. I’m editing two major pieces that were partially written in our previous house: one is a mainstream thriller and the other is a nonfiction book. And I’m working on a new short story collection. I’m eager to return to a romance novel that I entirely mapped out last year, but I got distracted by my publishing house (Avalon Books) selling to a new publisher (Montlake Romance) and I decided to wait until all that dust settled before writing it.

I don’t listen to music while I write, but I do like music when I’m on social media, tidying up my office, or handling the business aspects of writing. I don’t look out the window of my office because that distracts me. But I sometimes sit by the window of our dining room when I write poetry.

My office is my creative sanctuary. My writing style is reflected in this space.  One glimpse at my office and you’ll know this about my writing: 1. I have an optimistic outlook. 2. I believe in clearing away clutter and leaving only what’s absolutely needed 3. Timing is everything, and 4. I adore intriguing images.

No matter the size of your space, make it an inviting atmosphere. Then, once there, write. Fight off the distractions. Protect your writing time. Only you can control your productivity. You also need to fight off insecurities about yourself as a writer. Many writers experience doubts at one time or another. Write down affirmations and post them near your computer. One of mine says, “I have interesting stories to tell.” Another says, “I have a unique voice.” I see them everyday and these help boost my confidence. Write four or five and post them where you’ll see them.

Bio: Victoria M. Johnson is published in fiction and nonfiction. She also writes and directs short films. Read her full bio here. You’d make her happy if you followed her on Twitter and Facebook, or even Pinterest.


  1. Great post and space, Victoria! And what a superb idea—keeping an egg timer on the desk. I will definitely have to try that, since I lose track of time so easily. Love it!

  2. Hi Barbara–
    Oh, It’s good to know I’m not the only writer who loses track of time at the computer! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I enjoyed seeing your own creative space and learning more about you, Victoria!

  4. Hi Christy–
    Our offices do say a lot about us don’t they? I’m pleased you enjoyed seeing mine. Thank you for your comment.

  5. Oh, my I sure hope no one figures out what my office space says about me! I love your space Victoria. It’s so clean and inviting. My space is cluttered because I’m always working on 10 different things at one time. Hubby is making me a new office and I can’t wait to move into that because I’ll have space to organize!!

    Love the egg timer thing. I think I’ll use that idea!


  6. Hi Lisa–
    I know exactly what you mean about working on several things at once. Actually, before you congratulation me on the clutter free zone, I should tell you that behind my chair I have a stack of papers to be dealt with. Great that you’ll soon be getting a new office!

  7. Your writing space is a delight, Victoria – colorful and creative without a lot of clutter. Love the idea of the egg timer. Don’t be too sure that if your home were larger, there would be enough space for all the books you crave. It doesn’t work that way. Books are a demanding mistress.

  8. What a great working space, Victoria! Not much bigger than mine – we seem to work in similar ways, though I can’t work with a timer – it would make me all jumpy. 🙂 But then, I hate ticking clocks! Enjoy your next writing projects!

  9. Great post Victoria. I’m now off to buy an egg timer:-)

  10. Sandra–
    You are absolutely right. When we lived in a larger home I had hundreds of books. I had to donate most of them when we moved. Love your phrase “Books are a demanding mistress.” Very true!

  11. Beate–
    Our spaces are quite similar. Though you have the lovely red sofa. I don’t use the clock for “new” writing, only editing or other tasks. I don’t even hear the ticking anymore 🙂

  12. Hi Sheila–
    I hope the egg timer works for you, too. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Very interesting post, Victoria! We have such different workspaces and it’s always so intriguing to discover the sacred spaces or dedicated spaces of others. I find this theme so appealing. Kudos to you for creating it!

  14. Hi Harrison–
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am pleased to know you have enjoyed this guest series. I, too, am intrigued by the creative spaces of others and especially the spaces of writers.

  15. We are peas in a pod on this one! I absolutely love my kitchen timer. It keeps me focused. It helps me relaxed. Most of all, it keeps me writing!

    One caveat, though, try to find timers with pleasant buzzers. I bought a really cute one that looks like a ladybug, but when it goes off, it’s so obnoxious that it jolts me out of my reverie in a very unpleasant manner!

    ~Tui, swinging by from #Mondayblogs to say hi!

  16. Victoria M. Johnson says:

    Hi Tui–

    Oh, you are so right! A pleasant buzzer is crucial 🙂 No one wants to be jolted by an annoying buzzer.


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