I might as well post a nude photo of myself. Showing my space is really an act of total exposure. And you know you feel voyeuristic about it, too; I do when others let me look in on their creative spaces.
Spurred on by Dee's post on writing tips at Red Dirt Ramblings, I give you my small 10x10' writing space that is far too warm any time of the year with the door shut (and shut it must be).
[The book shelf in the corner behind the red chair (the red chair I sat on as a kid in the living room) holds all the books I'm reading for my next memoir on Oklahoma, the Great Plains environment, Mennonite migration, and Native Americans in Oklahoma Territory. Anything on the floor is related to classes I'm teaching. That's my system.]
[Last summer's newest book shelf, which my wife and I stained in the garage (big mistake), and which was filled within 10 minutes of being moved into the office. I still have enough books to fill 1-2 more of these shelves. Someday--a library with two-story built ins and a fireplace, and a desk the size of a buffet table. Nota bene: this is about as clean as my office gets.]
I don't have any writing advice, other than don't do it. Unless you enjoy all manner of self torture. See, I'm a perfectionist. Not in the first draft stage (which is suicide), but in editing and research. Editing is where the real writing happens, and that's where all the joy and hope of the first draft crashes against the rocky shore of the inner critic, where rejoicing rises and dips into the deepest dispair, then ricochets to Mount Olympus, then down we go again.... I used to have a bad inner critic that simply said, "You are God, you rock." Now it says, "Push it, push it harder, go deeper, come on, don't settle for that, you know you can do it better, stop whimping out you patsy, good grief."
Dee says the inner critic can, most of the time, be a bad thing. I agree only when we're talking about beginnings. But that critic must be honed, sharpened, and tuned to a fine pitch so the writing really happens and works, and this means lots and lots and lots of second guessing, hopelessness, and head banging on the table. It means ecstatic, orgasmic excitement (best feeling in the world, can't even describe it to you). It also obviously means mood swings, which are necessary to finding the way out of the word maze and realizing potential.
Looky here, this post is turning into a bit of tyrade. There's the romantic, cliched idea of a writer or artist--and to a certain degree it's spot on. But like any profession, peserverance and raw passion (and raw talent to begin with) is the only thing that gets you through--and it does get you through, eventually, kind of like Exlax.
It's important to have your own writing space. I was recently reading another blog where the author said it's disirable, but not essential to have one, and yet if you don't have that space it's nearly impossible to work.
I need silence. I need complete silence within a 50 foot, three dimensional radius. I need hours of uninterrupted time. I "joke" with my wife that I need a red "On Air" light outside the door so she knows when I'm really in a groove and need as much distance and stillness as possible. (Does that make me a bad person? I've lived my life thinking my need for silence and solitude makes me bad, and I carry this guilt around, it festers, it makes me angry and leads me to feeling placeless and ungrounded, uncomfortable, on edge, out of my body. No one befriends a person like me.)
After I write I need 30-60 minutes to cool down alone before I can re-enter the world. Sometimes I surf the net, or stare out the window or at the ceiling. It's the same as in the garden, I think. Planting, inspecting, working, I need time to sit back and leave the garden while I'm still in it. I don't know what this all says about me, artists, or introverts, but there you go. We're all so immensley complex when we're alive, and then we die and are reduced to hardly an echo, open to other people's interpretations and memories and suppositions, all as fluid and dynamic as this moment here, writing and reading, alone but impossibly on display, on stage, dissected, probed, judged, and felt up (emotionally felt up, willingly violated).