A Look Into the Writing Space of Author Anna J Stewart #WritingPlace
I’ve heard it said a writer’s space/office is as unique as the writer themselves. At least I sure hope that’s the case because man, is my writing space whacky. Some people do really well with a modicum of “stuff” around them as they create. More power to them. But me? Oh, I like reminders of my life, tokens of accomplishments, and representations of some of the reasons I became a writer to begin with. In other words, I have a lot of crap. But I love each and every piece.
I actually have two “spaces”. One is in the home office, an actual spare bedroom, with a desktop computer, my printer, and Internet access (more on that later). I also call this the cave as the curtains tend to stay drawn. It’s a nice hovel where I can retreat. It’s also where I do all my business and promotion stuff: Facebook posts, Twitter posts, Skype sessions with my writing buddies. It’s where I create my newsletters, answer emails…if it’s not “creative”, this is where it gets done. Online research? Yep. Right here.
They say a messy desk is the sign of an empty mind. Ha! Hardly. If this desk, that I spend maybe 6 hours at a week, looks like this, can you imagine what my actual ‘writing” desk looks like? Well, wonder no more.
I admit to just having cleaned up this space in the nook area of my kitchen that serves as writing central. I do that when I just finish a book and I turned one into my editor at Harlequin on February 23rd (a week early, go me!). So you’re definitely seeing the spic and span version of what this area looks like. During deadline, especially the last two weeks, it’s like a bomb went off. Paper, notebooks, Post-its everywhere. It probably looks like that as you’re reading this blog now that I think about it.
This is where I fill out my character notebooks I use before I start to write the book. You can see most of my “bibles”. These are my go-to books for just about every story, along with some fun things like a replica of Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones (I have a Jason Mamoa fetish, but then who doesn’t?). The “sexy senior citizen” mug belonged to my grandmother, who was always very encouraging about my writing, so I keep my dry erase markers in that.
Speaking of a dry erase board, I have an oversized one that serves as my schedule keeper. This is where I list my deadlines for the year (this year happens to be a little light compared to last, LOL). It’s sitting on a mini filing box that keeps some of my story ideas/projects organized (all the rest go into individual file boxes that are stored in the “cave office.”) As you can see, I’ve got quite a bit of writing to do before I can turn the page on 2018.
When that calendar gets a bit overwhelming, I just look to the left for my “success area”. This is where I keep print copies of my books (that are available in print), along with one of a few vases filled with roses given out by my RWA chapter for each sale I’ve made. Seeing the books lined up remind me that dreams do come true: it just takes hard work, determination, and believing in myself (along with some help from my writer friends along the way).
Opposite my success area is my Guardian Angel area. Nestled beneath more roses (I can’t believe all these are since late 2014), are photographs of my grandmother and my uncle, who for most of my life served as my father figure. They passed away within a few months of each other twenty years ago, but they watch over me every day I’m pounding on the keys. And yes, that is a Barbie you see behind them. More on that later as well.
Did I mention my writing space comes with my own editor? Yeah…her name is Snickers and this particular day she wasn’t feeling my words. At all. Other days she’s good though. She also serves as a fabulous distraction and procrastination device.
This is what I meant by I have a lot of crap. I’m a collector, although I haven’t yet crossed over to hoarder yet (give me time). My critique partners and I call ourselves the Tiny Killer Bees (don’t ask), so we each have a collection of bee items. I’m also inspired by various heroes (like Escape from New York’s Snake Plissken) and heroines like Wonder Woman. This area also showcases some of my Tinkerbell collection (I LOVE Tink!), most of which were gifts. I’ve pinned lots of quotes and pictures to the walls, reminders of where I’ve taken the right steps, where I’ve gone wrong.
Right above my laptop, on my bulletin board, is something I made up in early 2014. My critique partners (authors Cari Lynn Webb and Melinda Curtis) and I all decided that this was the year we were going to make something happen. And we did. These were our commandments for the year…the year I sold on Christmas Eve. I haven’t taken it down, or updated the date, because this was the year that had the most impact on my life. And I like to remind myself, especially when I get overwhelmed or discouraged, that this was the dream.
THIS is where the magic happens. Ah, my laptop. My ancient, hanging on by its last bytes laptop. This baby is bare bones operational. No Internet, no virus protection, no games. It runs on Vista and has only Microsoft Word on it. The only thing that happens on this computer is words on the page. And that’s the way I like it. I do play one CD through it, ocean waves with instrumental music, but that’s it. With nothing to distract me, I can easily fall into the zone and crank out my daily ration of pages (I aim for a minimum of 2500 words a day), making notes as I go for research items, spin around to the table if I have to look something up about my characters.
This is where I keep Sam and Dean Winchester along with various incarnations of my first (and main) idol Wonder Woman, a Hogwarts castle, and a little Olaf and Aquaman. And yep, those are definitely Barbies lined up behind my computer. When I first started writing, I picked out Barbie representations for each of my heroines. I’ve since had to give that up (too many stories, not enough space for dolls), and most of these ladies are still waiting for their books to get published. Hopefully one day soon (there are plans…).
And lastly, my chair. Decked out in a perfect super hero cape I picked up at Barnes and Noble a while ago. My only issue is that it’s pink (grrrr). Wonder Woman’s cape is supposed to be red, but I guess I can’t have everything.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour though my mind…, er writing area. You have to admit, you haven’t seen anything like it before, have you? Thanks for letting me share. And remember…as this plaque Cari Lynn Webb gave me…If you believe in something, BELIEVE in it all the way!
~Anna J Stewart
Always the Hero - Butterfly Harbor Stories, #4
He never relied on anyone but himself…but he needs her now!
Butterfly Harbor deputy Matt Knight wants two things: to date Lori Bradley and the chance to adopt Kyle, a troubled teen. Wounded in Afghanistan, Matt knows he can’t move forward anchored to the past. But once he regains the guarded hotel manager’s trust, will his need to protect those he loves cost him a future with this extraordinary woman?
USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J. Stewart writes sweet to sexy romance for Harlequin's Heartwarming and Romantic Suspense lines. Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek, and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family-centric romances with happily ever afters for her independent heroines. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Sherlock addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates an overly affectionate cat named Snickers (or perhaps it's Snickers who tolerates her). When she's not writing, you can find her at fan conventions or at her local movie theater, or building her client list for her content editing services. You can read more about Anna and her books at www.authorannastewart.com.