Sunday, June 22, 2008

Shared Spaces

Maggie Jaimeson
  • Currently submitting Expendable, a romantic suspense.
  • Currently working on a paranormal, suspenseYA series.

I share my writing space with my husband. He is a freelance non-fiction writer--primarily history, with specific expertise in military history. However, as with most freelance writers who need to make a living with their writing he says he'll write whatever he's paid to write. :) He writes during the day while I'm at my day job, and I write at night after dinner.

Our shared space is a bedroom that we've turned into our office. We have the computer space, the filing space, and the reading space (see green winged-back chair on the left). Though some books are in the room--in the closet out of the picture--most of my books are strewn about the house. I do most of my reading in the bedroom, in the living room, in the bathroom. Wherever and whenever I have spare moments alone.

My husband is someone who writes with all kinds of distractions--music, TV, the windows open with views to the outside. I am one who cannot countenance any distractions. Complete silence is necessary so that I can hear my characters and their stories--so I can hear their music, their surroundings. That is one of many reasons I write at night. During the day he likes to write with the windows open and views to the rest of our town. In the winter, he likes to write in the dark with the glow of the computer screen and the TV as his light. At night, I like to write with the overhead lights on and the room bathed in softness. On the weekends, I write during the day with the blinds drawn as in the picture above so as not to have the distraction of the outside calling to me to come out and play. It is amazing we can share the same space. It's only a problem when we both have deadlines at the same time. Fortunately, that happens very rarely.

When I'm beginning a book I am always excited and I can write almost anywhere for the first 100-150 pages. As the work moves on and the complexities mount, I become more and more demanding of my space and my time. When I near the end, the last 50-75 pages, I often need to go away and hole up for three or four days alone and just get it finished. At those times I most often choose the coast near Lincoln City, Oregon. I have writer friends there who will take me in and yet leave me alone. I also have a couple of favorite small inns that allow me easy access to the beach for morning walks and promise no maid service to bother me in the middle of the day to change the linens. I am truly blessed with a wonderful understanding family and the means to go away alone two or three times a year and finish my books.


Genene Valleau said...

Ack, Maggie! Another neat writing space! Maybe I can take before and after photos of my office to prove that I'm not a slob all the time. :)

Interesting contrast of the environments that are conducive to writing for you and your husband. I too like silence when I write. However, when I'm plotting, I can handle a few more distractions and get up and wander around to brainstorm.

Love your photo of Lincoln City! No wonder you like to escape there. However, I don't have the excuse of needing time alone to write as there is usually just me and my dogs at my house. What a blessing to have family who give you that space and to have such a fantastic place to go!

Jessica D said...

It's interesting that you & your sweetie are both writers but have such different styles/needs. Is he an extrovert while you're an introvert? And how great to have writerly family & friends who can understand what YOU need. I love those days when it's just me & my writing. Not too many in a row, because I think I'd get lazy & lonely, but every now and again... heaven.

Delle Jacobs said...

Maggie an introvert? When did that happen?

How neat that you and your husband can share the same space so well! That doesn't work in our house. My hubby says I talk to myself too much. I don't either. I talk to my computer. Or curse at my computer. Whichever is more appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. Genene, not to worry. I am a slob at my day job. It's because I have WAY too much going on, too many projects and not enough time. But at home, I purposefully stick with one writing project at a time. Also, my husband is such a neatnik he puts Felix Unger to shame. So, to keep the peace I have to keep the office neat when I'm in it. I also have cats who keep me company while writing, but they refused to have their pic taken anywhere near the office. :)

Jessica and Delle, actually we are BOTH introverts. I know people at RCRW may not believe that about me, but it's true. Some other time--preferably over a beer or other alcoholic fare--I'll tell you the real story on the trials and tribulations of two writers in the house. Understanding of my writing needs? Not on your life. Also, there is a huge gap between the needs of fiction writers vs nonfiction writers. Fortunately, DH is supportive because he truly loves me. But he has no understanding of my process, the craziness of fiction publishing, or how I can make up a story. :)