What I mean by dungeon, of course, is workspace. I've heard over the years that having a dedicated work space for writing can help keep you on track. "Treat it like a job," they say. Get up, grab your coffee and breakfast, get dressed and prepare for work, then shuffle to your dedicated work space and get to work. Take a lunch break. Work it like you would any other job. If this means turning off the phone unless you're on break, do it. If this means not taking a "brain break" (as I call it) to check email or surf the web for a few while letting thoughts ferment, go there.
I'm still working on specific space. I do, finally, have an office, which doubles as the guest bedroom and sewing room, as well as my craft space, though I mostly just store craft items/photos down there and do the work in front of the TV in the living room. I set up a computer, got a program I like to write in (I will address that program on the Day of "S"!), put up some photos of my kiddos and started. However, I have yet to figure out how to work 9 to 5 or any other variance of said shift. I am home with a 3-year old during the school day, with an extra 6-year old thrown in on non-school days.
In my office, I have my handy dandy Mac, my notebooks, a dictionary, a thesaurus, and the Bedford Grammar Handbook (I'm not sitting down there now, so I can't tell you precisely what it's called--I simply call it my Bedford reference). I've got pens and pencils of different colors, and I've got photos of my kiddos and a great charcoal drawing done by a friend. The room is a lovely cool blue, which puts me at ease.
The Good: I truly have found that I get more done sequestered down in my office than upstairs with all the distractions that make up the main part of my house. This is true even when I have a toddler playing ponies in my room while writing, which is phenomenal. I have what I need at hand, conveniently. I have French doors, which I always find somewhat inspirational to begin with, but those doors have curtains I can pull when I'm deep in the process. My hubby knows when those curtains are drawn, I need him taking care of business in the rest of the house, because I'm getting something done. It's warm down there in the winter, and cool in the summer. I get distracted far less in my office than in the rest of the house, despite the fact that I have full internet down there, just as on my laptop.
The Bad: Sometimes it is simply not feasible to get downstairs. My kids want to play outside and I *want* them to play outside as much as possible, but I can't visually supervise them from down there, so it really isn't an option. When I am trying to keep myself to writing down there, what does that mean for the laptop upstairs, which is much more convenient for most of the day, and doesn't require me to sequester myself? I haven't quite figured it out yet. Right now, I do my blogs on the laptop and monitor emails and such. I figure it's okay to work on short stories on the lappy, but keeping my novel downstairs keeps it all together. I am more comfortable doing the editing in my office, because then all the changes stay consistent in the same place. I'm terrified of screwing something up and losing my work when switching it between computers. When I have visitors, my notes, map and character "photos" are up for them to see, and I don't have full access to my work and notes, which drives me up a wall. I feel compelled to hide everything from their sight, because it is personal and private at this stage.
In other words, the jury is out, but I do like having a specific space for my writing. It helps me buckle down and feel like I'm in the right place to do what I need and want to do. It's just that I need to work on the little details and how picky I want to be. I also need to relax about it.
D is also for...
Denizens of the night.
As mentioned in another A to Z sponsored post (if you're new here and aren't sure what I'm talking about, or you want to find other bloggers playing along, click on the A to Z badge on the right), I'm a night owl. Not only do I physically have more energy in the evenings and at night, but my mind is eager to be working at that time, too. You'll notice that I post these blog posts at night, before the official entry date. If I have to try to get them posted during the day on the actual day, there's a chance it isn't going to happen until that night, so I'd rather be early than late.
Most of my ideas hit me at night, whether it's while I'm up and about or in bed. That's simply when I'm at my best, mentally. I suspect there's a reason vampires and other monsters have always been written as creatures of the night that maybe doesn't have to do with the night being the scariest time. After all, what's more frightening: the bogey man who attacks you at night, when everyone expects it to happen, or the bogey man who comes to you by day, when you feel at your safest, your most secure and comfortable, and gets away with its evils while people move around, awake, yet completely unaware of the horror going on in the house mere feet from their own?
Am I completely off-base? Probably.
Still, there's also something sexy about the night, a different kind of energy than that frenetic hurry-up-and-get-where-you're-going energy of the day. Night time is languorous, dangerous, sly, and malleable according to your whims. Night time is my time.
This is not to say that I can only write at night. In fact, while working on my writing routine, the vast majority of my writing has been during the day. Maybe it's writing during the day that frees up my brain space to come up with ideas and work through issues in the story while not confined to a computer later on. Who knows?
What do you think? Is there a time of day you do your best writing, or is it any time? Do you have a dedicated work space, even if it is just a tiny desk in a corner of a room used for something else? And was "D" as surprisingly challenging for you as it was for me? There are letters I expected to be hard (X, for instance), but then there were others I'm still not confident about that took me a little by surprise.