I Am Writing

I’ve been busy typing away on my newest nonfiction book.  So happy to be in the zone.  How about you?  Are you making progress on your latest creative project?  How does your space look when you’re in the throes of creativity?  My space tends to get a bit messy, but I don’t mind.  Tap, tap, tap, my fingers race to keep up with my thoughts.  Today I am thankful to be a writer.

  As Lawrence Kasdan says, “Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.”

Creative Spaces — Guest Post by Kathleen Pooler

Creative Spaces

Clear out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.” Dee Hock

We all have creative energies within but the challenge is learning how to tap into them. My writing space is just one of the areas that help me connect with my creativity.

An upstairs office, overlooking the woods that surround our home provides me with a window to the outside world, keeping me connected with nature and its changing seasons. The fact that it is upstairs helps me to block out interruptions as I close the door to the downstairs’ commotion and enter into solitude. I am surrounded by book shelves, files, posters of mandalas and writing exercises I have done, including a trifold cardboard storyboard with bright yellow stars that map out my memoir-in-progress. Pictures of family and friends along with my blog schedule and list of to-dos for the week adorn the window and walls.

Creative Spaces -- Guest Post by Kathleen Pooler

Kathleen Pooler is challenged by clutter in her creative workspace.

In this space, I am inspired by the solitude and dedication to my writing that each artifact represents- my computer, printer, notebooks of vignettes, a bookcase filled with writing resources. I keep my iPad handy in case I want to tune into Pandora radio as background music. A gold crucifix, an angel statue, a lighthouse knick knack, a teacup candle with inspiration emblazoned across the cup all serve to remind me of my purpose in writing- to share my hope and faith with others.

As you can see from my picture, there is some clutter. That was after I cleaned it up. So clutter is my biggest challenge. Even though we live in a digital world, I still feel the need to make hard copies of my work. This necessitates files, file cabinets and space-occupying clutter. Before I can really focus on my work at hand, I have to spend some time, clearing the space. The way I see it, my work space is an extension of me and my mind so if it is messy, I feel out of sorts. Sifting and sorting through the piles of papers and organizing them helps me to clear my mind and feel in better control. Another challenge is staying off the internet to minimize distractions and stay focused on the writing. I use Rescue Time, a time management accountability system that provides me with weekly reports via email on my productivity and how much time I spend writing vs. internet activities.

I have written three-plus years of weekly blog posts, crafted my memoir-in-progress, now in its first revision review with my manuscript editor and launched my career as a writer in this space.

But sometimes, the writing space is not enough to stimulate creativity. Sometimes I need to walk away and let my work “marinate”; sometimes I need to leave my sacred space and take a walk in the woods, or play my piano or listen to music.

I’ve learned to listen to what my body tells me about when I need to burrow myself in my office or when I need to walk away. My creative space can be found in many different places. Some of my best ideas have been spawned during a walk in the woods or as I’m lying in bed trying to go to sleep. When the muse comes, I’ve learned to listen and keep a notebook handy to jot it all down.

Creative Spaces -- Guest Post by Kathleen Pooler Bio: 

Kathleen Pooler is a writer and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner who is working on a memoir about how the power of hope through her faith in God has helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments: divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.

She blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: http://krpooler.com and can be found on Twitter and on LinkedIn, Google+, Goodreads and Facebook.

 One of her stories “The Stone on the Shore” is published in the anthology: “The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment” by Pat LaPointe, 2012.

 Another story: “Choices and Chances” is published in the mini-anthology: “My Gutsy Story” by Sonia Marsh, 2012.

Creative Spaces — Guest Post by Theresa Braun

Creative Spaces

What do I need before I can write?  Ideally, I need not to be drained from my day job.  Often I really have to push myself to write, even if I don’t feel like it.  Sometimes a glass of wine will get me in the zone, but other times I just end up in a gloriously deep nap. 

My creativity is triggered by color, scent, and the overall vibe of my writing space.  This vibe has to do with making an imaginative connection with eras gone by.  I have a few time periods that I’m drawn to, which include Renaissance and Victorian England.  1920s America is fascinating to me as well.  I tend to like artists like Waterhouse, who capture this feel.  It is easy for me to be transported back in time or just to be inspired by the energy of my favorite second hand antique furniture and fabrics. 

I love to surround myself with velvet drapery and artwork with rich colors such as reds and golds.  My favorite place to sit is on my down feather stuffed mint green velvet couch.  I also enjoy having old prints of angels, Madonnas, and Greek mythology strategically hung on the walls with gilded frames and dramatic matting. 

Creative Spaces Guest Post by Theresa Braun

Theresa Braun finds inspiration from the vibe of her writing space.

Then, there are always the scented candles (preferably vanilla, sage, or sandalwood aromas), incense, and gentle lighting coming from dainty ornate lamps.  Of course it also helps to keep the clutter at bay, so I find myself having to keep on top of junk mail, dishes piling in the sink, and laundry that needs to be folded, as well as any minor disasters that have been created by the cats.  I find that it is impossible to ignore these things, as it disturbs the creative energy.   

An added bonus is when one of the cats decides to cuddle up while I’m typing away at my laptop.  It’s like he’s there for moral and creative support, and a bit of warmth.  The last touch is that there is always something on like the television or some uplifting music.  It’s probably a throw back to my days of studying in high school and college.  My brain is used to some background noise. 

I also need to get out into a different atmosphere every once in awhile.  That entails going to a local pub or to a coffee shop with my laptop.  The only downside is sometimes I get distracted by conversation.  It helps to go somewhere no one knows me. 

If I’m really lucky, I manage to write on vacation while in Europe.  Right now I’m working on a novel set in Renaissance England and I’ll be spending a couple of days in London over my spring break.  I would love to make it back during the summer so I could write on location, if you will.  When unable to travel, I’ll look at my Shakespeare bust and ask him to send me some writing mojo. 

In between finding time to work on the next novel, I’ve been whipping up some blog posts to keep myself writing.  My latest mantra:  “I will write a blog post this week.”  I figure if I can’t manage to write in large chunks right now, a blog post is still keeping the creativity flowing.  I also hope that it amuses readers to boot. 

Creative Spaces Guest Post by Theresa BraunBio: Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides.  An English teacher and adjunct college professor for over thirteen years, she continues to share her enthusiasm for literary arts and writing with her students.  In her spare time, she enjoys delving into her own creative writing, painting, photography and even bouts of ghost hunting.  Perhaps growing up in a haunted house in Winona, Minnesota is to blame.  Traveling as often as possible is one of her passions.  In fact, her world meanderings are often backdrops for her work.  She has started to blog about her online dating experience and some of her everyday adventures.  Visit Theresa’s website at: http://www.theresabraun.com