Wednesday, 25 April 2012
A Place of Your Own by Val Innes
For me, being creative means writing. It is also about finding my way around the curve balls that children throw at you; parents have to be experimental about how best to navigate through a day that is littered with distractions and emotional outbursts. But I have another "creative" hook in my favour. I have designed a table which those of us who work from home can use for everyday family life AND maintain control over the paper and memorabilia that appears at our work space. I call it the "Menemsha Table" - a name taken from my favourite spot in Martha's Vineyard. It reminds me of where I want to live when I earn enough money (...if...) to write by the sea.
As a person I am scatty. In a professional (pre-children) capacity I would consider myself organised. As a writer I should be somewhere in between, but I have no opportunity to "hit my desk running" because it takes me a good fifteen minutes to clear the space to work - eating into my precious writing time. An example of items on my desk the other night? An apple cut in half - bought that day and clearly rotten inside. Did my other half forget to place it in the bin? Yes! An alien baby (why do we buy these toys for our children?), two coffee cups - my fault, so that is okay. And... fungal cream. I am not going to explain that one, but it definitely is not mine.
Because time is so limited and when it becomes available I need to make every moment count I have decided to keep my desk an "off limits" area. I did include the kids and we all made a poster with one "rool" we each have - did you like the trendy, young spelling of the word rule? Turned out it wasn't so cool according to my seven year old, just bad spelling. Said seven year old's rule was "NO-ONE touch her teddies"; her dad? "no one is to interrupt when someone is talking." Mine was "don't pinch my stationary or touch my desk." (I get two because I devised the idea) My three year old's rule? "Chocolate just chocolate." That was it, no explanation!
It has worked for one night, but today I have found myself putting lone Lego pieces and alien baby shells on my desk and stuffing the pile of "drawings" I get from nursery into the drawers - if I put them in the bin, he spots them. So I guess I need to be organised and not blame everyone else. I can then give me myself a pat on the back as I produce more writing. If a tidy desk doesn't increase output I shall kick myself up the backside instead, and then produce more writing.
But perhaps having a place of your own isn't that important; it is about keeping all the clutter from family life out of your mental space to let you focus more. Will it work for me? I'll tell you next week!