AT MY DESK: Marion Lennox
My Desk: MarionLennox
My desk has just moved. After what seems a lifetime of dreaming, I’ve finally achieved a desk overlooking the sea. While many believe the best view a writer can have is a brick wall, I’m over the lock-me-away-and-make-me-write phase of my career. I love having glimpses of outside, a promise of what’s in store when I get my first day’s words done.
My desk is wonderful, too. It doesn’t look anything special but it has one awesome quality – it’s electronic, and with a flick of a switch I can turn it from a sitting to a standing desk. This gives me double my desk time as I can change position at will. Sometimes my bum stays on the seat the whole session, sometimes I stand, but mostly it’s a mix, depending on what my whinging back demands.
If we’re talking about my desk in terms of workplace, I now also include the beach. Because that’s where I do some of my best work.
After years of changing writing schedules to fit in with family I now get to choose my own, and at first the freedom almost did me in. With the whole day stretching before me, the perfect words didn’t happen. So in desperation I turn to discipline. I hate to say it but it does work.
On weekdays I aim for 2k words. No, not aim. I write 2k words. But of course sometimes the words aren’t there, and I’m the world’s best prevaricator. `Ask not for whom the refrigerator hums, it hums for thee.’ So now every morning I take myself (and my coffee and my dog and my cat) and plant myself at my desk, I sit, I stand, I swear, but I do not let myself stir until I’ve written at least 1k.
Sometimes this 1k is nonsense. It’s just plain bad. It doesn’t take the plot forward, it doesn’t do anything. I know as I’m writing that it’s dregs, but regardless, I won’t let myself stop. I force myself to keep ploughing on and get the words down. Sometimes I’m even counting in my head. She said… That’s two. Excellent. Shall I call the heroine Mary Jane? Oooh, what does that do to my word count. (I know, it’s pathetic, but whatever works.)
Finally, with 1k done, I hit the beach, either walking my dog or taking my kayak onto the bay. This is still my alone and writing time, and I consider it `my desk’ as I’m still actively story telling. I spend it letting the morning’s dregs drift, figuring what’s wrong, how I can fix, or if I’m reasonably happy, how to make them better and then how to continue.
Then I take myself home, settle again at my `other’ desk and write another k. Once again, dregs rather than nothing. I can fix at the end, or if tomorrow’s walk gives me a lightbulb I can fix then. No pressure. The only pressure is to make 2k.
And then hooray, it’s knock off time. I can fix previous but even if I feel a new k calling I take notes and leave my desk behind. Even if I’m dumb and let myself write on I still HAVE to write 2k tomorrow.
Times change. Every writer has her own desk, her own discipline. I remember when my desk was the kitchen table with the playpen around me – with my kids outside the pen. It’s whatever works right now.
What works for you?
About the Author:
Thanks for coming by to read about my books and about me. It’s hard to believe this page – and my books – have the capacity to reach so many. I sit in my Ballarat home in Australia’s Southern Central Highlands, and I feel like my world expands about as far as the birdbath under my window. But just like the birds glaring into my window when I forget to fill my birdbath, my words leave here and take off on a life of their own. They find their way to Cambridge, Kansas, Prague, Denpasar, Calcutta… all over the world. You write to me and I gain as much pleasure as when a migrating bird lands on my window-sill. Okay, maybe even more. Your generosity in sharing your enjoyment of my books keeps my butt in this chair, writing more and keeping an eye on the level of the birdbath. My birds thank you and so do I.
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