To write you don’t need a quiet office lined with cherry-scented book shelves, an Aeron Miller chair, a hand-made wooden desk topped with inspirational quotes, or eight hours of uninterrupted silence.
I’ve signed two book contracts in my writing career. After I signed each one, I thought the same thing:
Holy crap! Is that enough time to write a book?
Having the time to write was less important than having a reason to write. Turns out being contractually obligated to write is a very good motivator.
For my first book, WEARING, my editor if I could write the book in four months (all the travels had already been completed); I lied and told him yes. The truth was that I had no idea.
My writing space was awesome. Annie had painted my office, lined it with bookshelves, and bought a desk.I worked three ten hour days at the day job. Writing was about the math. The book was set to be 65,000 words, which meant on my two writing days I had to write a combined 4,000 words. Often I wrote more per day and snuck in extra writing sessions.
We didn’t have kids. WE DIDN’T HAVE KIDS…YET! The first draft was about 80,000 words and I was done in three-and-a-half months.
For my second book, EATING, I had twelve months to travel to eight countries on four continents, research, write, and edit. 12 months! And two kids!
While traveling, I fell asleep each night taking notes in hotels. Some of these hotels had no electricity or air conditioning. Sometimes I had a stomach bug or jet lag.
I wrote while traveling on big airplanes and small airplanes across the United States, over the moonlit Andes, and across oceans.
I wrote while sitting on the floor in airports with no wifi. Once I wrote until I missed my flight.
I wrote in my home office while being visited regularly by my three-year-old daughter.
I wrote in a friends office on Ball State’s campus. (Thanks, Cathy Day!) One time Cathy walked in to her office on a day and time that she normally wasn’t there, and there I sat. She nearly had a heart attack.
I wrote in another friend’s office on Ball State’s campus. (Thanks Melinda Messineo!)
I wrote on weekends. I wrote to 3AM.
The space was far less comfortable and the pressure far greater than when I wrote WEARING.
I wrote whenever I had time to write regardless of where I was. If I would’ve waited for the writing conditions (the space, the humidity, the appropriate access to chocolate and coffee) to be perfect, I would’ve never completed a book from start to finish in under 12 months.
Writing EATING taught me that . . .
The only space you need to write is between your heart and your head.
If you’re a writer, write no matter where you are.