Running a writing space like theOffice, I’m instrinsically curious about the components that make up an inspiring and productive environment for writing. What I’ve learned over the years is that, of course, we all have different needs. We’ve had members with us since we opened 9 years ago. They depend on theOffice every day as their place to get words on the page. Others come in off the street for an hour and find the place too quiet, too loud, too hard to make phone calls, too easy to make phone calls.
I think it’s safe to say that as writers, if there is an excuse not to write, we will find it. And we will blame it for our bad writing day. On the flip, if our day is productive, it must be because I was sitting in this chair, facing this way, wearing these pants…
Here’s a scenario that has played out on numerous occasions over the years. As a member, you can call me a few hours in advance and reserve a particular workstation in the room. Sometimes a member will have a favorite workstation, reserve it early in the day and stick to this pattern for weeks, convinced it’s all about that sacred spot. Then, inevitably, the day comes when he arrives and someone has reserved his spot before him. He panics, breathes deep, scans for other options and finally grumbles into an empty spot across the room. That weird spot where the light isn’t quite right and the Aeron chair doesn’t seem to tilt like the (identical) Aeron chair he’s been using for the past month in “his spot”.
But he settles in anyway and maybe even stays a little longer than usual. And the next morning, I get the call. “Holy shit. Reserve me that new spot. I wrote 10 pages. Keep that spot for me. Don’t give it to anyone else. Please!”
Watch a kid write. She’ll plop down anywhere, with a blaring TV in the background, with screaming siblings running around, or balled up in a booth in a crowded restaurant while her parents chatter over her head… and she will write and draw and imagine with more focus than all the monks in Tibet. She is in the zone.
Here’s to finding, or rather, accepting our own sacred spot to write.