Michelle Barker’s Writing Space
I’m fortunate to have a second bedroom in my apartment that I recently turned into an office space. I write in many different genres, but I’m a novelist at heart. For years, I dreamed of having a wall that looked like Michael Scofield’s wall in the TV series Prison Break—covered in sticky notes and photographs and relevant articles and maps. I always thought Scofield’s wall
looked so professional. So intense. How could a wall like that not produce a great novel?
As soon as I had my office space, I taped index cards to the wall—a scene-by-scene breakdown of my work in progress. I put up a timeline and photographs, maps, and a calendar from the year I was writing about. It looked fabulous. But within about a month, it all came down. My Prison Break wall was not providing the inspiration I had hoped. Instead, it had turned into busy work that I finally had to admit was nothing more than a form of procrastination.
I come to my office early in the morning (long before sunrise, these days), every morning without fail, and face…a blank wall. With a coffee at my side, I open my laptop and get to work. The blank wall is a fairer reflection of my process. The space serves the work. No nonsense, is what it says to me. No distractions. Put your head down and get the job done.
Usually, my desk is a mess of papers, but everything I need is at hand, including the notebook where I scribble down ideas whenever they pop into my head. My phone is set to silent. On the far wall above my piano is an artist’s rendition of the storefront of Shakespeare and Co., a wonderful bookstore in Paris. Closer is my bike, set up on the trainer for when I need a break from working. Closer still, a photograph of my youngest child who passed away. He watches me work with an impish grin on his face that always makes me smile. Traffic passes outside my window, a barometer of my level of concentration. When I can barely hear it, I know the work is going well.
Michelle Barker is the author of the award-winning novels, The House of One Thousand Eyes and My Long List of Impossible Things. She works as a senior editor at The Darling Axe. www.michellebarker.ca
You must be logged in to post a comment.