I normally write in our spare room, which we’ve deemed “The Office,” because it is where the desk and computer live. There’s a bookshelf, some crafty stuff for Stephanie, and interchangeable art that lines the walls, depending on my mood or the season. It is always changing, but I like that. I live for change.
It’s a small room. In fact, it’s the smallest room in the house. It’s also my favourite room in the house. When I was first looking at houses to buy for the first time ever, I stood in the room and felt something. I still don’t know what it was. Maybe it was inspiration. Maybe it was a feeling of home. I’m not sure, but I liked it. I said out loud, “This is the best room.” The view is nothing incredible – just the backyard; but, the backyard features a heaping old maple and a wise old willow. The ceiling slopes down, because it’s an old house. Some people might feel cramped in here; I feel like the room is hugging me.
So this is where I write. This is where my ideas come to life. This is where my first book was edited, where my second book was written/edited/revised and illustrated. This is where I have “AH HA!” moments every day, where my jaw drops when something amazing (to me?) comes out of my fingertips and lands onto the manuscript page. This is where “the magic happens.”
We had a snowday earlier this week. It was the second one in a row. I had completed my reports, my planning and marking. I really was out of stuff to do. I decided to write. I pulled up the files I needed (what did people do before Dropbox?!) and got to work. But there was a big problem: the room was too big.
Sitting by the window of my classroom, I felt unfocused. The room was too big. There was too much to see. I wasn’t being hugged. It was the first time I realized that I work better in closed spaces. I was able to solve the problem, though, by turning off the lights, putting up my hood, and closing the blinds. Then, I was able to write. I was being hugged by the darkness, in the same way my little office hugs me.
When I got home and wrote some more, I realized that writing in the dark is a part of my process. I started to write when I realized something was wrong. I couldn’t quite focus until I turned off the main light, and switched on the two lamps: the one that is behind the computer screen (it gives off a nice glow that I like) and the one behind me. Only in this soft-lit, closed room could I properly write.
I used to be scared of the dark. Now, I need it. How do you write?