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Your Workspace And You

Sorry that it’s been so long that I have posted. It’s been quite an intense year since the last time I posted something new. Much of my time wasn’t really doing anything important, if I’m being honest with myself. I just needed a break from writing on the site. I wanted to put some much needed attention to my current Work In Progress. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I found my mind tended to wander and I wasn’t feeling myself for a bit. I just happened to see that some people had begun to follow my site and felt I had to keep going, if not for that reason only. Also, I realized that there is something to writing even on this website and that is that it’s therapeutic in a way. I’m in no way obligated to anyone to finish, but I feel that because I started something, I think I should finish it. So here goes…

Your workspace says a lot about who you are. Whether you keep your desk spartanly clean or the city where you live can legally claim it as a disaster are, everything you need to do the tasks you set out to do are where you know they are. I have my days where I could move ever so slightly and knock something off my desk (and it’s not small, so that should tell you something). Then, I get on a kick and make it quite clean. At work, my desk is somewhere between spartan and averagely clean. I have a whole shelf dedicated to my personality. Most of the time, I forget about it altogether since I’m mostly focused on what I’m working on (or the person I’m talking to, as is mostly the case). Recently, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I have been working from home. I found myself ensure that my desk is much like what I have at work.

Why is that, you ask? That is a very good question. Mostly, it keeps me grounded in the fact that I am working. I can leave the door open, let the dog in, whatever that could be distracting (my kids are grown and out of the house now, so they’re not a factor anymore–in fact, that ‘s reason why I have time to write, BTW) and it doesn’t distract me, because in my mind I am at work. That is what you should do as well if you want to make writing a career.

It always strikes me odd that I have all my toys around me (I’m talking video games, the Internet, Twitter) and for the eight hours that are my work time, I dedicate all of my concentration on what I’m working on. That takes a bit of discipline, I suppose. I also get paid to work from home and I really like my job. The point of this is, if you want to take this writing thing seriously, you have to treat your time at the keyboard like your employer is watching over your shoulder the entire time.

I think I’m blessed with an employer who trusts their people to do the right thing and work what they say they’re going to work. In my line of work (computer programmer), it’s pretty easy to tell when someone’s doing work, code gets pushed to the servers, things get rolling for the next assignment, etc. Even when I was working at the office, I hardly ever saw my boss, unless it was in passing–and then it was only to say hello. They pay us the big bucks to do what we say we’re going to do and not worry about it. They have much bigger problems to deal with than an unproductive worker, but they will if it becomes a problem.

If you’re going to to writing seriously, I’m sure you want your family to help you in that endeavor. That, my friend, starts with you. You take it as far as you want to with it, but in the end, if your family and friends don’t really believe that you’re doing anything productive, then they’re just going to continue on business as usual. Meaning your writing time continues to be personal time. In a way, your friends and family are like my employers. If they see that something is being done (and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a manuscript), then they will barge into to whatever your doing and ask questions or bring up topics that have absolutely nothing to do with what you said you were doing. Now dogs and younger kids, you really can’t do anything about, but they can help you as well.

As much as you would like to hide away in the lovely workspace you’ve created for yourself, there are times when you need to leave it. You need to take a break every once in a while. If you don’t, you could end up burning out quickly, have your family and friends resent you, and your dog might find a nice corner to hike his leg on. At that point, you would have to do something drastic.

Thankfully, that’s a rarity in my household. My wife knows that I’m actually doing something (probably because she can hear my keyboard from the living room). She has her thing and I have mine. It works out great. Just like at work, if I get the urge to get up and walk around, I do. If I want a snack, I go to the fridge and get one. I move around and, sometimes, even have a conversation with my wife to keep things interesting. Then, I come back to my world and continue with what I was doing.

Having a workspace that is yours is just as important as the work you are doing at your desk. Whether it’s making a place for you to begin your masterpiece two hours and a time or eight hours at a time, it needs to be something that you don’t mind doing. That’s just one fewer distraction in a world of plenty. Having all your ducks in a row or scattered all over the place only matters to you and whatever makes you feel comfortable enough to forget those little distractions. Your friends and family will begin to respect your space and time you allotted for yourself and you’ll find that you will begin to be a bit more productive. It all boils down to you, though. You need to keep yourself disciplined and work like you have a boss standing right behind you. That’s the only way you and everyone around you will ever take this seriously.

I hope this has been helpful and that you’ll continue with me on this journey in writing a novel. If you have any questions or concerns, want a specific topic covered, just leave a comment below or you can email me at tleemessick@yahoo.com (I know, hard to remember, right?) I’ll do my best to answer your questions (as long as they’re writing related). As always, Happy Writing!

Lee

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