A small, bare room. An old lamp, an upholstered chair, a wooden desk by the window. Cows and trees beyond. No papers to grade, no phone calls to return. All the things that distract me, keep me from writing fiction — the to-do lists, children’s schedules, work-for-hire, committee meetings — are gone, gone, gone.
Some people are here at the Virginia Center for the Arts for six or eight weeks. Me? Only one. And carving this week out of my busy life with three kids, teaching, and editing was like chipping a cave out of rock. But I was determined to do it. For this reason: to winnow my life down to one simple thing. I know from experience that if I can leave this place with a sense of clarity about my novel-in-progress and a handful of pages, I’ll be able to keep going, even in the midst of my busy life.
The day stretches ahead. My choices are few, and therefore simple. I am here to write.
What are your writing conditions today? How do you plow through the clutter to find a clear space in your head — and on your desk — to write?