Space

Rabbit - lookTo write or illustrate, you need two kinds of space.  Head space and physical space.

Way back when I first decided to pursue writing and illustrating seriously, my partner and I sat down to figure out how to make me some physical space for it.  Some might think this isn’t as important – that it should be something you can do anywhere.  But I’m a big believer in having a dedicated space.  Somewhere you have that feels creative.  Somewhere to create a writing / illustrating rhythm around.  Yes, I’m all about routine.  When I’m in my office, I know it’s time to write, and I think this is important when we’re creatures of many different lives.  We all have many roles to move in and out of each day – writing is just one of them – and my dedicated space helps me to quickly get into my writing / illustrating mode.

I’ve been thinking about this recently after reading what some other writers have to say about their writing space.  Michael Bauer has posted on Inside a Dog about his office (I’m in love with a big curved wooden desk he found), and Sheryl Gywther has also been talking over on her blog about the music people listen to while writing.

So, my space?  I’m lucky enough to have room for both an art desk and a desk for my computer (which is essentially my writing desk).  At my writing desk I have a quote from Hemmingway (which helps me on bad days to fight the writing critic that sits on my shoulder).  I also have a cork board, which I use to pin up notes on whatever novel I’m working on at any one time – this helps me to move in and out of that world on a daily basis.  I’m also a big subscriber to sticky notes and coloured pens, for keeping track of different characters and plot points.  My most treasured writing companion is my mac.  He’s my ‘other’ man (I spend so much time with him).  I also have a big window with lots of greenery outside (great for people watching and procrastination).  And unlike Sheryl, I can’t listen to music while writing because the words of a song intrude too much, but I often listen to music while drawing.  For illustrating I also have lots of reference books close to hand on my shelf – favourite illustrated books and whatnot.

So, do others have a dedicated space?  Or a space that you’ve taken over?

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7 Responses to “Space”


  1. 1 Julie January 7, 2009 at 9:06 am

    The only space that I can truly call my own at the moment is inside my head. Luckily, that’s the most important space for a writer, but I long for my own ‘office’ – one that would fit Michael’s curved wooden desk would be nice (I can see there’s going to be a big fight over this desk!) At the moment, I share my computer desk with the whole family – I can see bank statements, bits of lego, kids’ drawings, plus my own assortment of dictionaries and stationery (KikkiK, of course!). But when I have some writing time, I can shut the door, turn on the air conditioner and it’s quiet, cool, and MINE! I’m planning on planting a big yellow allamanda bush outside the window and then it will be just perfect (well, once I figure out how to get that desk up here from Tasmania …)

  2. 2 Lynn Priestley January 7, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Hi Katherine,

    Great blog! I shall be a regular for sure. I have only recently rearranged my house to give myself a dedicated room to write. It involved moving a huge bookcase from one end of the house to the other – swapping it out with a three seater lounge.It was a logistic nightmare that I somehow managed to accomplish on my own. Call it procrastination on a grand scale. Anyway – the end product is a dedicated space with a garden view, lots of light, a big desk and HUGE bookcase brimming with lots of inspiration (and a basket or two of ironing). The down side is it has a single bed…a really comfortable single bed.

  3. 3 Katherine Battersby January 7, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Jules – sounds like you’ve really made the shared space work for you, even if it isn’t ideal. Maybe the lego and bank statements have become part of your writing landscape? And you will have to fight me for that desk :) Maybe we could share?

    Lynn – thanks for stopping by! Love the sound of your new writing space, especially the garden view and bookshelf. And frankly even the bed doesn’t sound too bed – us writers do some of our hardest work while resting or even napping. That’s where all the plotting happens, in the realms of the unconscious (although it can be hard to convince the loved ones of that…)

  4. 4 dale harcombe January 11, 2009 at 6:21 am

    I couldn’t survive without my study. Otherwise imagine what a mess the whole house would be!

  5. 5 Madeline January 12, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Hey Kath! I created an office for myself a few months ago out of a room that used to just be “storage.” But, it is something that needs improving. Safari’s crate is in the space, but she has finally relinquished it for a crate upstairs. I am now rearranging so I can actually look out the window while I write, and so the space will be more conducive to writing. I think I am also asking for a reading chair for my birthday. It will be a much more comfortable space soon.

    Madeline

  6. 6 Katherine Battersby January 12, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Dale – I’m the same. My writing moss crawled into every corner of the house before I had an office. Now it grows happily on my desk, but is getting quite overgrown at this moment and is in desperate need of a tidy…

    Mady – sounds like a space you could make quite cosy, especially with that reading chair! Glad it has a window, otherwise you might always feel like you’re inside a storage space :)


  1. 1 Where I Write « the Well Read Rabbit || Katherine Battersby Trackback on February 6, 2010 at 12:39 pm

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About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

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