A room of my own

June 3, 2015   |   5 Comments

In addition to creating a new online home (this redesigned website!!), I’ve taken a leap and decided to move to a new offline home as well—a workspace that is separate from my personal home.

For years, I have worked at home and there are many things I love about doing so. There is something powerful about removing the separation between work and personal life and just throwing up your hands about spending these hours working, these hours with family and friends, and these on self-care. I will tell you that, for me, this has never worked. It has been a relief to mush it all together.

That said, I live in a loft. With my personal husband. It is a true loft, one wide open space. Only the bathroom has a door to shut, so there is truly no separation.

This ought to be okay. Duncan (the aforementioned personal husband) goes to work every day and I am home by myself.

With the laundry. And the dishes. And the television. And the cats. Somehow, I spend many hours each day in distraction. This is especially so during those times I have designated for writing…

Recently I found myself posing the question, “what would happen if I took myself seriously as a writer?” (A question that even in typing it gives me shudders of pretentiousness and preciousness. GAH.) However. The answer? I would write. More. Not just when I felt like it.  I would create a space that was conducive to said activity. I would invite my true voice to say things and then write those things down. A lot. 

Unexpectedly, such a space materialized.

A small studio apartment across the courtyard from us came up for rent. It is literally on the other side of the garden. I can see it out my window. If I took it, theoretically, I could dash over in my bathrobe without anyone really noticing. I could walk there  without my shoes on. I could make a cup of tea in my kitchen and it would be hot when I arrived. I could go at four in the morning or eleven at night and it would not be scary.

So I went to look at it. My first thought: it’s perfect. It is small but not closet-small. It has a window and a skylight. It is a little raggedy in a soulful way. It has a small kitchen and many electrical outlets. Did I mention that it is right across the courtyard from our apartment?!

Still, I was scared. What made me think I could add “studio rental” to my budget? What if I rented it and then spent all my time there doing…nothing? What if I tried to write but bupkes came out? And most of all, why did I need a separate space when I spent all day alone?? I told myself all kinds of things but the question that kept being loudest of all was, “what would happen if you took yourself seriously as a writer?”

Then, the kicker, the thing that made it impossible for me to say no. The owner of the unit said, well, why don’t you take it for a few months and see how it goes? If it works out, then you can sign a lease. If it doesn’t, we know other people who will rent it.”

I had been made an offer I could not refuse. I said okay.

Then I didn’t know what to do. All I knew was that I wanted it to be beautiful which would take time, so I would start with nothing in the space.

Then the woman who was moving out asked me if I wanted her couch because otherwise she was going to throw it or give it away. I said okay. (It was a nice couch!) So I started there. For the first days, that was all that was there. Then I brought in a lamp and a little table as a shrine. Then Duncan fished out of storage a beautiful rug that we had stashed when the cats began to decimate it. I unrolled it and liked the way it looked. A few more days went by when I realized that I missed my desk and desktop computer. (I had been working on my 11” MacBook Air and my eyes were complaining.) So I asked a neighbor to help me carry it over and within 45 minutes or so, my desk was setup and my computer and all the multiple backup drives that are guarding the Open Heart Project and all my books.

And that is where it stands.

I feel so hesitant about it all and not just because of the expense, although that is of great importance. A voice inside keeps trying to shame me for wanting this so much. It is shockingly vitriolic. We’ll see how it all works out. There is something about the unfolding that seems important. Wish me luck.

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5 Comments

  • Posted by:  Hannah

    Beautiful! I need to take a lesson from you and work on dividing my space a little more. At the very least, I should stop browsing the internet in bed!

  • Posted by:  Ellie

    Hooray! I love reading what you write and would be so happy if this leads to more to read. Wishing you luck x

  • Posted by:  Anne

    Good luck with your writing projects Susan!

  • Posted by:  Cathy

    Dear Susan,
    Best best wishes, for the start of a new ‘chapter’ in your writing journey. You may have understandable fear about the unknown future, but you have plucked the courage to be true to your heart, to your life path. It may not always be plain sailing, but you can weather any choppy days when they arise. Thank you for sharing your feelings on this and once again, may this lovely writing office bring you more creativity and fulfilment in your life.

  • Posted by:  Marilyn

    Hi, Susan,

    I work at home, too. As a musician and a caregiver my work time/leisure time/care time gets mushed together, too. But as I was reading your post, I thought maybe, just maybe I can figure out a way to be okay with dedicating (sounds better than ‘forcing’) a certain amount of time each day to my music related tasks just as a writer sets aside time for writing whether inspiration or motivation as set in or not. For some reason, after being aware of this recommendation for quite a long time now, something has just clicked. Instead of feeling like I’m gonna die if I set up a schedule that limits my distraction time 🙂 I’m going to give it a try and just see how that fear plays out… see what happens. So, best of luck to both of us!

    And, thank you for all you write. I do love to read anything you put on the page.

    Marilyn

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