Valerie Compton’s Writing Space
I am fortunate to have a peaceful home office with plenty of natural light, a broad desk and comfortable chair, a filing cabinet, and shelves of books. I do a lot of editing in my office, and it serves as a home base for my fiction projects. But I don’t write there. Perhaps perversely, I almost always leave my dedicated writing space in order to write.
I write in my kitchen—at the table, or in a rocking chair. I write in coffee shops. And I write outside, either sitting—again, in a rocking chair—or walking.
What is it about movement that unlocks the imagination? I once wrote an entire story while walking (speaking the first draft aloud, into a shirt-pocket mic). More often, the walk is only tangentially connected to the story. Tangential—but essential.
I walk because I have to, because sitting is hard on the body, and because I’ve come to realize that sometimes you have to wait for parts of your story to arrive.
I’ve tried staring at the screen, caressing the blank page. But, for me at least, these tactics don’t work. Trying to force the development of a story just feels wrong. So instead I walk, I look out at the world—and as I look away from the story, its tricky parts resolve themselves.
Photos by Lynette Reid