A Writer’s Fiefdom by Mae Clair

What do you do when your work space is usurped? When chaos, clutter and disorder intrude upon your writer’s fiefdom?

Although I can plot, visualize, and jot story notes just about anywhere–and don’t mind working on my laptop now and again–like most authors, I have a preferred spot for writing.  When I want to buckle down, concentrate, and knock out a decent word count, I need my den and desktop computer. I want the big screen PC and the mojo that comes from a long established domain. My territory.

My den.

My husband might poke his head in occasionally, but it’s foreign territory. He has his own laptop,  workshop/shed, and thus no desire to sort through my books, notes, WIPs, and writing paraphernalia.

A perfect yin-yang balance of space.

Until last week when we decided to remodel two rooms in our house–my den and a spare bedroom. In order to start, we had to move everything (everything!) from the spare bedroom into my existing den so we could rip up the carpet. That means–Kodak moment, please–my den is now overflowing with two rooms of furniture that have been haphazardly stuffed into one. Please dwell on the word “stuffed.”

Woman in a small office

Why is this chick smiling? Doesn’t she get this is NOT how I want to work!

I have a single path that allows me to move from the door to my desk, another from the desk to the closet. Other than that, the room is an obstacle course. Bookcases, dressers, a flatscreen TV, file cabinet, two tables, a monstrosity of a desk and assorted odds-and-ends all vying for space. My fiefdom suddenly feels the size of a box.

A common question between hubby and me these days is “Where did you put the (insert name-of-thing-you-haven’t-needed-in-three -months-and-probably-won’t-for-another-six-but-it’s-now-insanely-critical-that-you-find).”

There is clutter everywhere, and it’s doing nasty things to my organizational OCD. Although my desk is routinely littered with post-it notes, purple index cards, magazine clippings, photos and colored stones (I fiddle with them when I’m stalled on a scene), there’s structural madness to my disorder. Or maybe structural disorder to my madness.

In any event, the disruption couldn’t have hit at a worse time. I’m working on galleys for TWELFTH SUN and putting a final polish on ECLIPSE LAKE before shipping it off for submission. So how am I dealing with the mess? By reminding myself that when all is said and done, I will have a brand new den and a brand new work area. I can’t wait! In the meantime, I hold a vision of the finished product like a mantra in my head as I wend my way through a labyrinth of uprooted furniture and bric-a-brac.

Have you ever had your work space disrupted? How did you handle it? Do you have a preferred place for writing? I’d love to know if I’m the only one set in my ways when it comes to my writer’s fiefdom.