This week’s Where Writers Write post features Charlotte Bumstead. Enjoy this glimpse into her great writing space, and remember– if you want to be featured in the Where Writers Write series, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve always loved the way the words act as my escape; carrying me like a magic carpet soaring across whatever landscape I happen to desire that day. Writing has not only become my favorite form of communication, but I also treasure the way one can use the words to capture a particular moment in time. The act of writing keeps me present, yet it also allows me to reflect on the past and to dream about the future. Somehow, the words are able to press pause when I no longer hold the remote.
Over the years, I have developed a passion for using the words not simply to explain my own life, but rather to illustrate the much more interesting and captivating lives of those all around me. I quickly decided to transform this passion of mine into a journalism degree and soon it became an imbedded piece of my life story—currently taking place just outside of Toronto, Ontario. This is where I do my researching and interviewing. It’s where I construct new ideas and sculpt them into stories for publication in magazines or for posting on my blog. This is where I write.
What is your writing space like?
Colorful, organized and bright (it’s the only room in the house with four windows). Nothing distracts me like a pile of unfiled papers or various notes left in disarray. My desk sits comfortably in the back corner of the angular room. The wall to my left is painted a soft shade of lavender; to my right is a contrasting touch of sand brown. This week’s to do list decorates my whiteboard with various assignments and deadlines. A shiny, black and silver globe is perched directly in front of me, just waiting to be spun so it can forecast my next imaginary travels.
Plants with pink and purple flowers and round, green leaves breathe freely all around me. The smiling faces of those I love sit in portrait form on the shelves above my head. The clippings of my very first magazine articles—one published online, the other in print—are displayed behind the glass of a wooden frame, reminding me that what may be just a dream one day, could become very real the next.
Beyond the photos and frames, a square black screen stares down at me until I choose to flip on the news or perhaps lose myself in a Friends rerun after a long evening spent at work. In the mornings I am accompanied by my favorite mug, filled to the brim with the dark, creamy liquid I refuse to live without. Its rich aroma encompasses the entire room, and somehow the words spill out with ease. In the evenings I settle for a steaming cup of tea until I am forced to peel my eyes away from the bright light of my beloved HP laptop. Although I write best in silence, the soft chirping of birds outside or kids playing in the street can sometimes bring an added effect.
Do you keep a writing routine? If so, what is your routine?
I find I write best in the middle of the afternoon. I enjoy using my mornings for research, prep and interviews. But the first thing I do when I start my workday (or almost any day for that matter) is read. Whether it be the news, blogs, emails, or the current piece of fiction stashed in the drawer of my nightstand, I read anything and everything that happens to cross my path and catch my interest that day.
Before I know it, ideas start bouncing around and the creative itch kicks in. I take notes so I don’t forget any of these initial prompts, and then I get down to work. I also spend way too much time on social media. I can get lost in a Twitter newsfeed like a toddler on an Easter egg hunt. One treat leads to another and before I know it, I’ve lost an hour of my day. Still, I don’t feel this time is wasted (at least half of it wasn’t); I’m always learning new tricks of the trade online.
Most of all, I keep my routine flexible. There’s always the possibility of a surprise deadline being thrown at me, or an interview that can only happen between 1:15 and 1:30 on a Tuesday afternoon. I stick to an organized schedule because it’s the only way I can balance my time. And yes, there’s a perfectly good chance I’ll end up working after 10pm on a random Sunday night so I’m ready to “start my week” the following morning.
What’s something unique and interesting about your writing space?
I share it with my boyfriend. I don’t know about it being unique, but his desk is nestled in the opposite corner of mine. If we are both sitting at our desks (which usually only happens first thing in the morning or in the evening when he gets home from work) our backs are to one another. It’s nice to have an editor so close by (as biased as he may perhaps be, his feedback doesn’t show it). And although I am often most productive when left alone, the freelance writing life can get lonely, so I find his company encouraging (most of the time).
If you could have any writing space in the world, what would it be like and why?
Like many of the other writers who have participated in this series, I would love to hear the sounds of a lake or ocean nearby. My ideal space would definitely be surrounded by natural beauty—perhaps it would have an extravagant waterfall within walking distance for whenever I happen to need a motivating boost (even a romantic, isolated creek would do). I love sitting out on the dock at a cottage with nothing but blue skies, a mug of coffee, my laptop and a cushioned chair (a setting I hope to enjoy quite often this summer). I find my “wild mind,” as Natalie Goldberg so cleverly coins it, reaches its climax of creativity when it is, in fact, in the wild. But I also love that I can be a bit of a nomad in my chosen career, transporting my writing space with me wherever I want to go—or wherever the magic carpet decides to take me.
Charlotte Bumstead is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Toronto, Ontario. She has been published in various Canadian magazines and newspapers, covering a wide-range of topics. She blogs about weaving her way through life as an aspiring writer over at Charlotte’s Web. She is also an avid lover of all most things social media. You can follow her on Twitter @c_bumstead.