I’m off to the coast for the week for one of my quarterly writing retreats. This is a time where I go away and concentrate only on writing. I think, live, breathe writing all day for 6 days. I even dream writing. 🙂 I do this because this time allows me to have no responsibility to interact with anyone while I’m there. My focus is on getting lots of words written. Where I go is a log cabin a block from the beach. I have my own room. The kitchen and dining area are large–built to accommodate 10+ people. The view from the dining room is of the ocean. It is heaven. I can think, plot, or ruminate on where I am in my writing that day while I walk on the beach.
Though I do go with two to three other authors, we have a pact that we do not talk at all unless we bump into each other in the kitchen while we each prepare our own meal. Even then we ask if the the other person wants to share a meal and chat or to be left alone with her own thoughts.
Retreats are a unique and wonderful experiences for me. However, the vast majority of writing, editing, and running my publishing business is done at home. Some authors have their own office in a den, bedroom, or even a separate outbuilding. I’ve had larger spaces in the past. But, currently, I live in a one-bedroom apartment I share with my husband and two cats. My office is the small dining room table, which is adjacent to the kitchen and living room. I call it cozy. 🙂 The best part is I look at our family picture wall. I thought I’d share a bit of what’s up there and how looking at it inspires me and keeps me going.
On the left side at top is a picture of Jim and I when we were first married. The boys were a freshman and senior in high school. I was VERY fortunate to marry into a ready-made family. I wasn’t able to have children of my own and these two young men have brought me so much joy in my life.
The second is a picture of Jim long before I knew him, when he was about 30–early 1980’s and living in Rwanda. In this picture he is on a vacation break on the island of Lamu. He is relaxed, fit, and happy. In fact, he wrote a song about the island I hope we can record and share one day.
The third picture is me in my senior year of high school. We like these two pictures of us before we met to kind of tie our past to our present.
The last picture is the two boys when they were children. Again, a time I didn’t know them but it helps me to see them in that stage of life.
The next column is a Family Name History for Lynch and beneath that is the coat of arms for each of our surnames: Lynch and McVay. We both have Irish and Scottish ancestry, more Irish it seems in terms of our names. In the right top, four pictures include Jim and me where we were married in Scotland, and then pictures of each boy and his fiancee, now wife. In our next move we will be able to put up more pictures we have of the family now, with grandchildren.
Finally, at the bottom is a contrast of service to our country in the middle east. Our eldest served in Iraq twice in the early 2000s. You can see he is in the desert, completely geared up with armored vehicle and gun. Jim, served in the Civilian Peace Keeping Force in the 1980’s, monitoring the peace between Egypt and Israel. Very different times and experiences that have yielded plenty of discussion in the family.
This wall inspires me because I see so many aspects of the lives of those I love, and it reminds me of both the challenges and triumphs each of us has experienced–some before I knew this family and some after we were together. It is these events and emotions, questions and seeking, that inspire what I write–whether it is romance, fantasy, SF, or suspense/thriller. The human condition is universal, no matter the country, the time past or future, or the politics. It gives me a lot to draw on when I write
Authors don’t have to have a fancy office (though I don’t think anyone would turn it down) to be successful. I’ve had my own office before when we lived in a larger home, but I’ve learned how to write in this small space as well. It is not the space that defines me, It is a good strong core inside me that allows me to continue making up stories and putting them out for the public to like or dislike. That center, for me, is family and friends. No matter how near or far (the boys and their children live on the opposite coast from us), I cherish the time we’ve had together in the past and always look forward to seeing them again. We will have many more adventures together and it is likely some of those experiences will be hidden in my books in some way.
How about you? What is your center and how does it help you live your daily life? If you are a writer–whether that is poetry, articles, short stories or books–what keeps you balanced and able to keep going with your writing?Lets Connect!. Follow me on your favorite social media sites