Posts tagged “manuscripts

My Space

Posted on October 22, 2015


Miriam wrote about how work spaces can impact the quantity and quality of your creative work. This is a picture of my office, taken about a year ago when, I’ll confess, it was tidier than it is now. Right now, it is full of stacks of things, from folders of first draft, to notecards full of stuff I’ve pulled from primary documents, to printouts and piles of books that are tucked behind this comfy office chair.  Not pictured: the mint julep cup that holds my pens and pencils, the picture of my daughter in Paris eating a piece of cotton candy that’s the size of her arm, the knitting projects I pick up when I’m waiting, frustrated or simply trying to sort out something that bedevils me on the page.

Here are some fun mice I made for bad cats:


What I like about my office: the pale yellow walls (my choice), the soft sunlight that streams in through the window, the relative quiet I have for the better part of the day. There’s a vintage agricultural map of the Loire River valley hanging behind my desk, a picture of my sister and me when we were kids, a sand dollar I plucked from the beach in California on a girls trip I took five years ago, a Napoleon-shaped brandy snifter (empty) that another friend gave me in jest, a Deborah Harry Barbie doll, beautiful art from my child, and various other mementos that inspire me or put a smile on my face.

Which is not to say that there aren’t distractions.

For example (and this one is minor), if I don’t close my door, chances are this guy will stare at me and whine to be let in…until he whines to be let back out:


When my office door is closed, sometimes I can hear him on the other side of it, panting and/or whining to be let in. When I open the door, he spreads out on the Turkish carpet underneath my desk, groans and snores for about twenty minutes, until he makes for the door (pictured above) and whines to be let back out…until he whines to be let back in.

Such is the life of a dog mom.

But I’m also a kid mom, and a wife, among other things, and I’ve tried to find ways to have the time I need in this office so that I’m still present for the people in my orbit. Admittedly, some days are better than others. My cell phone these days is turned off more than it is on. I’m grateful for the people in my life who understand why and know that it’s only temporary. I’m grateful for the people in my life who are outside of my office door when I open it at the end of the day. For all of the things that need to be done in this office between now and my manuscript deadline of June 1, 2016, it’s the people outside of it that are helping me reach this next milestone, little by little and in various ways. Much gratitude to them.

What is your office like? What makes it work for you and your productivity? How do prevent distractions? How you balance your time when you’re immersed in a large project? Let me know in comments.


Posted on October 8, 2015



That stack of papers on the top of this file? Half of a first draft. Yes, I need to double the size of this stack in the next month or so. But the most important thing right now is to get it down. When it’s down, you can go back in and cut and paste and rearrange and tighten and that sort of thing.

Anyway, this is my current situation in paper form. Pretty exciting! But there’s still a lot to do.

Coffee Talk

Posted on August 31, 2015



A friend of mine forwarded me this picture over the weekend.

I thought it was funny.

But then I realized I had a deep, dark secret.

Would you like to hear it?

Here goes: I can’t drink coffee like I did when I was younger.

You are full of shock and awe, aren’t you? Because what self-respecting writer can’t guzzle cup after cup of Joe?

(Raises hand sheepishly. Waits for your disapproval and jeers.)

I had a good run, folks. Really, I did. And it was a run fueled by 4-5 cups of coffee a day.

But these days all I can manage is a cup of dark roast (black) in the morning. Anything more than that and you’ll have to peel me off the ceiling. Lionel Richie may be able to dance there, but as a writing space, ceilings just don’t work for me.

Go ahead. Call me Ole One Cup. I won’t mind, especially since i just got “Dancing in the Ceiling” stuck in your head.

You’re welcome, by the way.

The good news is that despite this inability to get my coffee on in the mornings (or even the afternoons), I’ve churned out 20,950 words so far. That’s almost one-quarter of the manuscript that’s due on June 1, 2016. Not all of those words are perfect. But they are down and that’s the most important thing. You cannot revise, refine and rearrange anything unless it is down on paper.

Although I may not know as many baristas as I used to, I’ll take little victories like these when and where I can.

Your turn: Do you have a deep dark secret you’d like to share? If so, what is it? Otherwise, tell me about a little victory you’ve had recently.