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.

Creative Spaces — Guest Post by Rosanna Silverlight

Creative Spaces

When I write, I enter my own mental space where nothing exists except the page and the will to write – or the struggle to break into the writing state of mind. I fight hard for that precious concentration; once I have it I’m reluctant to give it up when a distraction comes. In one sense, my writing space is wherever I am when that tug of war between mind and page begins. 

It probably evolved that way because I never had one dedicated place for writing until almost two years ago – but since moving in with my boyfriend, first to a flat and then, last April, to our first house, I’ve discovered what it really means to create a physical space where I let myself loose not just on the page, but on the surroundings themselves. 

I’ve had a lot of fun putting my office together. I feel relaxed and happy when I spend time here, and the people we’ve shown around our new house have all pointed out how it reflects my personality. I never know how to respond to this. It’s a toss-up between “Yay, mission accomplished!” and “Oh, but it’s so messy in here right now!”

My office occupies the smallest bedroom – small enough to be cosy but still big enough for everything I need to fit inside. I painted it two different shades of green – a warm, inspiring colour – and put up shelves to house my books. It’s one of the most cluttered rooms in the house and never stays immaculate for long. At the moment my desk is covered in stuff – my laptop, myriad Post-Its, a hole punch, Roget’s Thesaurus, several Lego mini-figures, a copy of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, a framed photo of my sister, a pot full of pens, index cards … you get the idea!

I set up my desk so I could look out of the window while mulling over ideas. I love to watch the cat that sometimes appears in the window of the house opposite, and the changing weather patterns – we recently had snow in the UK, and this morning the room was full of glorious sunlight, which turned the green walls golden. It was amazing.

I write as often as I can, fitting it in around my part-time job and dabbling in web design. When I’m at home alone, writing is never very far from my mind – I’ve learned to listen when my muse calls, and to try and wake it up when it’s silent. 

Creative Spaces -- Guest Post by Rosanna Silverlight

Rosanna Silverlight immersing herself in her dream of writing

I always need a good drink before I begin – I never feel entirely happy sitting down without a cup of tea (a writer cliché, I know, but it’s true!) or coffee. And while I can sometimes just open up the laptop and start from a blank page, I often fall prey to the charms of the internet before productivity gets under way. A certain amount of determination can cure this, but so can total immersion in a project – which is what I’m going through right now with my novel-in-progress, an epic fantasy I’m calling Swordslave

It’s about people – the Swordslaves of the title – who are half human, half other. They’re powerful, but most of them don’t get to use that power – they’re enslaved and forced to take a drug, which suppresses the ‘taint’ of otherness in their blood. A young Swordslave gets caught up in a power struggle between two kings with different ideas on how to handle her kind, and she has to decide what freedom means to her and how far she’s willing to go to fight for it. 

Ultimately, Swordslave is about liberty, and the many guises oppression can take. I’ve finished the first draft and have begun revisions, but I’d also like to write more short stories in 2013, submit them to competitions, anthologies and literary journals, and maybe even e-publish an anthology.

I believe in looking for opportunities to write whenever and wherever I can – especially as I’m a long way off writing full time – but it’s a powerful thing to know that there is a place where I can immerse myself in my dream and allow it room to breathe. 

My number one tip for creating your own writing space? Train yourself so you can write anywhere. Then, when you get the opportunity to make a space your own, treat it as another tool to hone your craft.

Create an environment that sharpens you. And don’t stop writing.


Bio: Rosanna Silverlight spent her childhood daydreaming, reading stories about magic and ponies and later on, writing stories about magic and ponies. 

She still adores reading and still writes – though not so much about ponies these days. She graduated from Lancaster University in 2007 with a joint honours degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, and set about learning the hard way that being a daydreamer is fine, as long as you don’t expect too much. If you do, you’d best pay attention and do something about making those dreams come true. No one else will do it for you!

After a year spent in Spain and Portugal teaching English, she moved back to the UK and settled with her wonderful, imaginative boyfriend in Somerset, a beautiful part of the UK well known for its cider and Glastonbury Tor. 

Rosanna currently divides her time between working a part-time job and writing at home. She writes short stories – some of which you can read on her website [] – and is working on her first novel, Swordslave