Thursday 5 November 2020

Preparing for Lockdown

Last lockdown I was pretty productive. I finished the edits and polishing of one manuscript and finished the first draft of another. Both projects were however crucially already started – the momentum already built up and concepts formed and plots planned. 

However the impending lockdown has me worried, about my writing productivity. I’m struggling to settle into which of half a dozen projects to work on. All of which are first draft stage. I must confess, new projects are always tricky to start. The indecision of which of a draw full of concepts to pick, and getting into the voice and building the creative excitement and momentum takes time. Once I’ve actually picked a project and started the words flow easily and quickly, but getting to that point is tricky especially in lockdown. 

Junk & laundry & spare room - usually it was messier than depicted
Usually at the beginning of a first draft I write a lot in coffee shops, where the ambiance and lack of distractions (think ironing pile) help me to focus. I also go out a lot to museums, or libraries or other towns to get a change of scenery to be surrounded by exterior stimulation and feed my brain and give my imagination a boost, none of which are possible in lockdown. in short I’m struggling to work from home without getting distracted or losing my focus.  

Writing in coffee shops.

So, my husband came up with a plan. You see he’s been working successfully from home since March, his key was making an area that was easy to work in. He arrange the shed into his office, making it suit his purpose, a clam environment with everything he need to work, without getting distracted or disturbed. He pointed out, he has a work space – and so do the children, as we reconfigured their rooms to have desks, noticeboards and even dusted off our old family PC and found an old laptop so the kids each had everything they needed to work from home. However I don’t.

Displaying my writery badge Collection.

I’ve been working on the family pc, in the spare room which was …

Part Spare room complete with bed. 

Part gym (health necessity but barely used - me bad). 

Part laundry room. 

Part Junk room 

Part office with filing cabinet and printer and the aforementioned family computer. 

The room was busy, but not in a good way – in a disorganised and chaotic way. So my husband suggested I make it into my writing place. That if I did then he believed I would find it easier to write there. 

Framing my writery pictures at last

So I set about reclaiming the room. First to go was the bed, (currently no one can stay anyway and it only get used a few time a year), then some of the gym equipment (that was only ever used for drying clothes.) Then I set about buying some second hand furniture which allowed me to bring all my writing stuff into one place, rather than it being spread across bookshelves and cupboard and boxes, in different rooms, the shed and attic. As so I’ve created what is definitely a calmer space and I hope will be a creative place too. 

Putting all my writery stuff in one place

Of course it doesn’t solve the issues of not being able to meet up in person with my critique group, or writer friends or attend socials, which also really helps reignite my imagination and enthusiasm. But I also tea-leafed a speaker from one of the kids room, so I can play coffee shop sounds, and will be meeting up with my critique group virtually.

So preparing for this coming lockdown has taught me something; that I always tend to compromise when it comes to my needs and my writing. And that sometimes, you just need to carve out a bit space for both.

Fingers crossed I manage to actually get a first draft of my new project done during NaNoWriMo!

A writery room of one's own

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