Monday, June 23, 2008

Writer Sanctuary by Malena Lott

You know the saying - location, location, location. I used to be the same way about my writing. Same seat, same time of day, muse enters. Voila. I fondly remember the days in my mid-twenties where I could write until way past midnight and still feel the creative juices flowing as I put my computer to sleep. Yet the more kids I had (now up to, and stopping at, three) I've learned I have to be able to write anywhere, any time, or well, it just ain't happenin'. My muse, it seems, is now a morning owl. And she requires coffee. Not just Folgers, either. If she doesn't get Starbucks, she just doesn't put out, the wench. 

When my youngest was two, I hammered away in the early morning hours writing Dating da Vinci (Nov. '08) up in the playroom/office on a big Mac. Then my toddler Owen's demands usurped that of my muse's. I was upstairs, he was down, and that doesn't bode well for the whole supervision thing. Big Mac couldn't be lugged around, so I invested in a laptop. Now when people ask m
e "how I do it?", I tell them, have laptop, will travel.  I write on my lanai on a large double chair while my toddler scooters on the driveway. I write on my back patio when he's playing trucks in the backyard. And I write where I am right now, at my kitchen desk throughout the day with the flurry of TV and children's voices all about. This week I'm even writing on a train. We'll see how that one goes. Seems my muse has learned to be flexible because that's the only way we're going to stay in this writing business together. I am a mommy. I am a writer. I am a writer/mommy. I really can't separate the two, at least for the next fifteen years. 

Yet I do have my favorite writing spaces, places that bring me great peace and comfort as I channel 
the story. When I want complete isolation, I go to the closest thing I have to paradise, my friend Cynthia's back yard. She calls it an outdoor room. I call it heaven. See why in this pic.

Where is your favorite place to write? To read? Thanks for reading and sharing! 


  1. I mostly write in "the cave" which is what my bedroom is like most of the time. I rarely put the shades up, so time of day means nothing. My writing is done the evenings on my days off, but I've been known to plug in my trusty Kingston thumb drive into the hospital computers and write there when things get quiet--which is usually somewhere between 11pm and 3am. If you have a life beyond writing, you have to be flexible!

  2. Great post Malena! There are days where I cannot even write an email that makes sense while I'm at the office, let alone press materials!--so I go home to the gazebo in my backyard. It's best when it's raining outside and I'm out there listening to the rain hit the trees and the rooftops. I can write just about anything there--press releases, drop letters, bad know. :)

  3. Great post, Malena. I love your friend's backyard. I have a whole vision of what my someday backyard will look like. It definitely includes a pool! I write at night after the day job is done, once the kids are settled doing something. My favorite spot to write is on my sofa with my feet up and the laptop on lap. The chaos is happening all around me, but after 10 years of working full time from home, I don't hear it anymore. Oh, I usually have the Red Sox on, too. The best nights are when the pages are flowing and the Sox are winning. Ahhh, bliss!

  4. Good topic, Malena. Yes, I would call that heaven. What a beautiful backyard, with all those trees! Personally I do well with music playing as I hunker down in the basement with my laptop, where it's cool and I'm surrounded by my hobby tables but within earshot if an upstairs emergency arises. Sometimes I am magnanamous about interruptions, other times the results aren't pretty.

  5. I love the way you've become so flexible with your location. I write mostly in my basement office, but have a lap-top for trips and when I'm watching the bachelorette --like now.
    Or when I am away.

    When I am drafting and the weather is nice I like to take my alphasmart out on the deck either at home or at the lake.

    I think you are right. You can write anywhere and it sounds as though you have picked some amazing places to goose your muse.


  6. Oh Malena! How familiar this all sounds (except that I didn't start writing seriously until said kiddies were grown). Still, they never go away. Lol I too got a lap top and LOVE its portability. Not as portable as some these days since the keyboard quit on me one week. Then I invested in an alphasmart. For those demanding days when I don't have time and the muse is chomping at the bit to get something- anything- accomplished.
    My fave place to write or read? Anywhere the kids aren't these days because it's such a rare experience. Otherwise, in the nearest room to a tv so granddaughters can feed their brain on cartoons.

  7. My favorite place to write is on the deck of a cabin in Colorado, but that only happens once a year. The rest of the year, I carry my thumb drive and work on the computer at work during lunch hour, on my laptop at home in the kitchen or at the desk in the livingroom. I've also been known to work on my Alphasmart at Starbucks, in Dr. waiting rooms, in ER waiting rooms and wherever. In the past two years I've finished to novels and a novella that way. Also, my laptop loves it when we go out on the patio to work and listen to the birds.

  8. Hmm, I'm like Cheryl. I write at my computer often, but if I really want to write new stuff, I do it in my bedroom, away from the Internet, away from any other distractions, no laptop, just handwriting page after page and hope I can decipher it later. And that's when I can really fall into the world I'm creating. :)