Have Pen, Will Write: My Writing Spaces

Writing for me happens just about anywhere. I have a notebook in my purse and I’ve been known to jot thoughts down while waiting for kid activities to end or in the bathroom of a party when an idea comes up (because folks don’t appreciate it when you whip out paper in the middle of a conversation and say, “Wait! I’m going to use what you just told me for my character”). On occasion, I have even pulled out my iPhone mid-run to huff and puff into my voice recorder when a thought hit me in mile three and I’m afraid I’ll lose it before I get home. (Listening to those recordings later is always disturbing because, like most people, I hate the sound of my voice, and when you add in the heavy breathing, I sound like a really boring obscene phone caller.)

I am fortunate to have Virginia Woolf’s “room of one’s own” in which to write, but I find myself wandering to other writing locations just as often. My four primary writing spaces:

My home has a little office just for me, a lovely space with lots of light and a bookcase with reference materials and a big monitor I can plug my laptop into.

When the writing isn’t going well, I like to escape the house, because when the words aren’t flowing, nothing is as distracting as a sink full of dishes or the books that need reorganizing or purging the basement closet. On those days, I either go to my local cafe or our town library. I particularly like the library because it was built in the late 1800s, so sitting in the reading room makes me feel like I’m in another era, which is not a bad thing when you write historical fiction like I do. However, the library doesn’t have coffee, and when I’m writing, I want all the coffees, so the cafe usually wins out.

The place you’ll find me most though, especially if it’s cold and snowy or if my butt simply is sore from sitting in a chair too long, is on the sofa in the living room in front of the fireplace. I prop the laptop on my lap and I get so cozy I can lose myself in my novel for hours.

Cozy and comfy in the living room on a rainy day
Cozy and comfy in the living room

Where do you write?

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Jennifer S. Brown is the author of MODERN GIRLS (NAL/Penguin). The novel, set in 1935 in the Lower East Side of New York, is about a Russian-born Jewish mother and her American-born unmarried daughter. Each discovers that she is expecting, although the pregnancies are unplanned and unwanted, in this story about women’s roles, standards, and choices, set against the backdrop of the impending war. Learn more at www.jennifersbrown.com.

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This article has 2 Comments

  1. I love all your spaces, especially your local library! That’s gorgeous. I’d write in mine, too, except they won’t let you bring in Diet Coke. (This is a gross tactical error on their part, because now they won’t be in my acknowledgements, which is something they probably don’t care about but should).

  2. I totally identify with the writing in the bathroom as top secret writer HQ. Maybe it’s a writermom thing? Give me a quick moment, a locking door and an iphone, and I’ll give you a brilliant scrap of dialogue, a title idea, or a skeletal chapter arc.

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