Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Where do you write?

Where do you write? I've been visiting a bunch of schools for the past few months to talk about reading, writing, and my new book, Dangerous Waters, and this question has turned up some wonderful answers. I try to encourage kids to find a spot in their home where they can work uninterrupted. Writing requires total focus, and it's hard to concentrate if your brothers and sisters (or, in my case, the kids) are running all around you. You need to find a spot to unplug, disconnect, and completely dedicate yourself to the assignment, whether it's a few pages for school or a novel-in-the-works.

My own spot is this horribly mundane, disorganized collection of tables and books and devices in the photo. I'd prefer dark wood and old leather, perhaps a collection of cloth-bound volumes with uncut pages in the background and a large window overlooking a tranquil body of water, but that's not happening. And it's not really necessary. I'd probably just stare at the water until I fell asleep. And the books would make me sneeze, I'm sure.

Back to the kids. And their answers. A few of my favorites:

-One girl said she works on her stairs. This sounds like a poor choice at first, but if you think about it, no one stops on the stairs. They pass by, heading up or down, and leave you alone. Brilliant.

-Several kids cited their bedroom closets as the ideal locales. Sure, this might be a fire hazard with the wrong lamp, and you'd need a decent-sized space to stretch out, but it could be a delightful place to focus. Bunch a few fallen sweaters or coats against one wall, lean back, relax, and write.

-Two kids like to sneak under their beds. I thought this was brilliant, and when I told another class about it a few weeks later, one of those kids wrote me to tell me he has now begun doing his homework under his bed as well. I tried it myself, in fact, but I soon began sneezing and promptly extricated myself.

If anyone else has any unique writing spots of their own, let me know!