Where I Write

The Front Row Blogs

Hello, and welcome to Day 2 of the Front Row’s Blogging Series. The topic: Where I Write. Hopefully you enjoyed Sarah’s post yesterday.

I’m excited about this series because I love to see writer spaces, and even though I know my Front Row people very well, I haven’t seen all of their writing spaces. Basically, I have two spaces that I use more or less regularly, and one that I aspire to use someday.

The Library

The quiet section of the library is a good place to write.

The quiet section of the library is a good place to write.

When I was in my MFA program at Hamline, I typically did most of my writing at the library. My writing packets would get hammered out on the weekends, and I rarely did any work on weekdays. It was the only way I could escape my children. I love them very much, but it’s hard to write when they’re around. I did bring my eldest daughter with me a few times. We would hit the Starbucks across the street and carry our warm drinks over to the Quiet Section of the library. My daughter was pretty good about reading silently, only interrupting me a few times to whisper-read the funny parts of her book. I can usually concentrate on writing once I’m there, though I do get interrupted sometimes by whispered greetings from current or former students (the peril of living in the town in which I teach.)

I love the library. I love librarians. I especially love children’s librarians. My kids do all of the reading programs and earn patches to sew on to their library bags. They ask the librarians for help when they’re looking for something in particular. And the librarians are always patient and gracious. Support your local library, people (I did, recently, by voting for a funding referendum. Also, I pay library fines a lot, because, reasons.)

I haven’t done writing in this way in quite some time (maybe since I graduated.) Mostly it’s because my wife had to get her book edits done, so I watched the girls on the weekends so she could write. Now that she’s done, I can maybe go back to writing for three-hour stretches on the weekend.

These days, most of my writing happens here.

These days, most of my writing happens here.

The Desktop Computer in the Formal Living Room

Not to brag or anything, but our new house has a formal living room that is different than the family room where the TV is. The formal living room has a fireplace, bookshelves, a piano, and my desk. We bought a sofa and two chairs and we try to keep our children from destroying them in the way that children destroy things because they hate having nice things (“Oh, this couch is great for doing sick jumps on.”)

Theoretically, the formal living room has the perfect aesthetic for writing. The room lacks doors, however, so it’s not always easy to writing there when the kids are in the house. So my solution has been this: I get up at 5:00 AM and write while the kids are asleep. There are things I like about being at the desktop computer – a real keyboard, for example. Also, I have my copy of Scrivener on there. I don’t use it a ton, but it is helpful for organizing my story notes (I do my drafting with Google Docs.)

It’s not a bad place to write, but it needs better lighting and a better chair. I don’t want to straight-up put a desk chair in the living room, though. I’m far too classy for that. I’ve been doing the majority of my writing from this spot for the last few months. I will usually get in about ninety minutes of writing before work, and the word count varies but usually falls between 600 and 1,200 words.

The Holy Grail will be to knock out 5,000 words during the work week and then add a couple thousand more during the weekend. I’m not there yet, but I’m hoping to get into that kind of routine.

I never write here. But I could.

I never write here. But I could.

The Aspirational Bedroom Desk

I thought that maybe I could do some writing upstairs in my bedroom when the kids are at home. We don’t have an office. So we bought a desk, chair, and a lamp. I have my Periodic Table of Figures of Speech!

Don’t let the picture fool you. The chair has a broken caster, so sitting in it doesn’t really work all that well. I have never written at that desk. For one, I’d have to use my Chromebook, which is fine, but doesn’t give me access to Scrivener (and if I am at home, why not just go downstairs to the better computer?) Secondly, I just don’t really want to work in my bedroom. I don’t know why. I’ll let you know if I ever use the desk. I like it, though. Maybe if I ever get famous I can say I wrote my great American novel at the desk and then sell it for a million bajillion dollars.

Well, that’s it for me. Make sure you check back in this week as we hear from other members of The Front Row.

Here’s the schedule:

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Josh Hammond writes things. He has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University.

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  1. I love both of your desks. They just seem “writerly”
    Also, they’re very clean. Mine has junk all over it (though I did clean it on sunday so right now it’s nice)

  2. Thank you for admitting that you cleaned. You should see my desk right now. When I’m on a roll and writing and it gets too messy to work, I can grab my laptop and run to the kitchen table. Love this topic and thrilled to see the front row together again.
    p.s. Love your pensive picture, too.

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