Where Writers Write: Tiffany Clarke Harrison

This week’s post comes to us from Tiffany Clarke Harrison, a copywriting fiction-lover. If you’d love to share your rockin’ writing space with us, shoot me an email at KristinOffilerwrites@gmail.com or holler at me on Twitter.

Fiction is my first love.  We’re in a seriously committed relationship only rivaled by my marriage.  Luckily, neither my husband nor my words are the jealous type.

I also rock web copy for creative women entrepreneurs, helping them celebrate their delicious talents with content that doesn’t bore readers to death.  People can’t hire you if they’re dead, right?  Totally.

My writing space is the 4×3 corner of my bedroom that inhabits the simplest Ikea desk and a glorious garage sale find of a weathered, farmhouse chair.  It is the one spot of my room where unfolded laundry is not permitted, and layers of hot pink, green, Coldplay lyrics and house music are encouraged.
Or, at times, a blank surface and silence water my words with the greatest inspiration-it gives them room to breathe and come alive on the page.

What is your writing space like?

 It is uniquely me, depending on what I need that day. If I need a burst of color or a particular sound to help set the tone for my work that day, I add it.  If not, I take it away.  It is uncluttered; a space where I can keep my mind on my work and not fiddle with, say, bills sitting on the corner of my desk.  My go to inspiration books and creative cues are always around (e.g. After You’d Goneand The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) and help me through the rough spots.

Do you keep a writing routine? If so, what is your routine?

I keep a writing routine for work-I generally write on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday mornings and edit on those evenings.  My fiction happens when it happens.  (I wish it happened more often.)  I plan on carving out time twice a week for it as well.

What’s something unique and interesting about your writing space?

It’s mine!  I’m reading Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and was so inspired to claim a space to write and make it mine.  My home is small and this corner of my bedroom by the window is just perfect.  The scenery is lovely year round.

If you could have any writing space in the world, what would it look like and why?

I actually have 2 ideal spaces.  The first is so cliché, but Diane Keaton’s home in the movie Something’s Gotta Give.  A place on a quiet beach, lots of windows and light.  It’s perfect.  The second is probably equally cliché: a small apartment in New York City full of the eclectic industrial vibe.  There’s just so much to draw from creatively in that city.

Tiffany Clarke Harrison is a purveyor of prose and web copy rocker at blahcubed.org. She believes that ladies rock this world with soul-shifting vision, and delicious talents that seduce your face off, and writes to help aspiring women entrepreneurs turn creative hobbies into creative businesses with fun and engaging web content. You can connect with Tiffany on Twitter: @blah_cubed.


Where Writers Write: Olivia Bowen

This week’s post comes to us from brand and copy editor, Olivia Bowen, a super-talented writer I was lucky enough to meet via Twitter (where else, right?). If you have a writing space you’d love to share with us, shoot me an email at kristinoffilerwrites@gmail.com.

 While writing is certainly part of my work, I actually do more editing for clients, which I love. A rather unsuccessful college creative writing class helped me realize that making up stories is not where my talent lies; I am, however, skilled at helping others refine their ideas and expression so that what ends up on the screen or on the page is exactly what the author had in mind—only even clearer and with more sizzle.

As an editor who writes, my space needs to be part resource center, part inspiration hub, and comfortable enough so I can be there for hours on end, but not so comfy that I forget I have work to do. Here’s what I’ve come up with to meet those needs.

What is your writing space like?

I work from home, so I was able to create a writing and editing space that meets my specific needs. My husband recently helped me revamp the office to be more ergonomic—with all the time I spend working at my desk, having a setup that’s kind to my back and neck was a priority.

Because working with language is such a synthesis of heart and mind, I’ve filled my office with objects and resources that speak to both. I’m a sucker for reference books and probably have more volumes on grammar than many classrooms do, but I also keep more spiritual touchstones at hand: a framed picture I took of a Buddha statue in Tokyo, a daruma doll that reminds me to have patience but stay focused on my goals, photos of my family, and a vase crafted by a talented Philly-based potter that I fill with flowers or herbs whenever I can.

Do you keep a writing routine? If so, what is your routine?

I’ve tried to establish a routine in the past, but finally accepted that one of the things I like most about working for myself is having the freedom to write and edit when the mood (or deadline) strikes. A typical day starts around 9:30, but I don’t really “warm up” until at least 11. Editing projects require me to be really sharp, so I try to work on those from between 11 a.m. until 4 or 5 in the afternoon.

Then I’ll take a long break and go to yoga, make dinner, or just give my brain a rest and watch some Law & Order. I’ll usually get back to my computer for writing projects around 8 or 9, when my creativity peaks, and will work until around midnight if the words are flowing.

What’s something unique and interesting about your writing space?

Before I decided on a language-based career, I strongly considered a PhD in art history. Now the art is pure passion, so my office has some gorgeous original artwork and prints. A dear friend recently painted an East of Eden-inspired piece for me (two, actually, but only one is in my office); my aunt created a rich watercolor as a wedding gift; I have a print of Lucca (an enchanting Tuscan town about which my dad is a leading expert) that was also a wedding gift; and a framed print of the Pantheon, my favorite building in the world, that I got when I was studying in Rome.

If you could have any writing space in the world, what would it look like and why?

It would look an awful lot like mine right now—but with a view of the Eiffel Tower, more bookshelves, and a really cozy reading chair. I’ve deliberately created a location-independent business, so I hope that in a few years my husband and I can relocate to Paris for a year or two. I imagine that walks along the Seine, easy access to macarons, weekend trips to Bordeaux, and the spirits of the artists who’ve worked in the city over the centuries could only help my craft, right?

Olivia Bowen is a brand and copy editor. She runs Olivia Bowen Communications, which focuses on helping holistic and creative entrepreneurs refine the language for their web presence—from crafting irresistible bios to proofreading websites to make sure they’re flawless. A nomad at heart, she and her novelist/educator husband live in San Diego—for now. You can connect with her on Twitter @LivBowen or join the community of logophiles and entrepreneurs on Facebook.

Where Writers Write: Christine Bagley

This week we welcome my good friend, former MFA classmate, and fiction writer Christine Bagley to the Where Writers Write series. We met at Lesley University and have been close writing friends since. Remember– if you want to be featured in the Where Writers Write series, email me at kristinoffilerwrites@gmail.com!

What is your writing space like?

In a room that’s shaped like a large shoebox (13’ X 6’), I sit at my desk where four windows provide me a view of a 63-acre private estate. A stone wall separates the estate from my property where wild turkeys, deer, fox, coyotes, rabbits, and woodchucks roam the woods. This view of Mother Nature allows my mottled mind to relax then wander, so it’s free to create unforgettable characters, in-depth storylines, and transport my readers to a place they’ve never been before. I often daydream about knights on horseback and animals that transform themselves into humans, like the dark turkeys that gather on my lawn remind me of a witches’ coven.

I listen to Cinemix on my computer, a station that features movie soundtracks like Gladiator, Russia House, Braveheart, Tuck Everlasting, and The Last of The Mohicans. Soundtracks set a mood for me and I find them inspirational and thought provoking.

What’s something unique and interesting about your writing space? / If you could have any writing space in the world, what would it look like and why?

In this writing refuge, I’m surrounded by manuscripts, three bookcases, and a bulletin board filled with post its of inspiration. Lucky charms and statuettes like the Angel of Patience and my grandfather’s pipe, sit on the windowsill. Only one more thing would make my literary haven perfection; the sight and sound of a mighty ocean with frothy waves that peak and splash over the stone wall.

Do you keep a writing routine? If so, what is your routine?

I try to write most Wednesday and Friday afternoons, Saturday and Sunday mornings, and on the train from Andover to Boston three days a week. My weekend mornings often stretch out until late afternoon after which I need a nap because my head is so full of scenes and dialogue and vivid descriptions. I work on two to three projects at a time to allow myself the perspective I need.

Christine Bagley is a fiction writer from Massachusetts. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University and teaches English composition to foreign national students. In her writing, she’s particularly interested in serious, often tragic subjects injected with wry humor. At this time, she has five stories in submission. 

Where Writers Write: Tracie Banister

This week we welcome novelist Tracie Banister to the Where Writers Write series. Remember– if you want to be featured in the Where Writers Write series, email me at kristinoffilerwrites@gmail.com!

Hi!  My name is Tracie Banister, and I’m a novelist who likes to write books for women, about women.  My stories are pure escapism with lots of humor and romance, the kind of thing you’d read at the beach then pass along to your girlfriends.  I recently released my debut Chick Lit novel, Blame It on the Fame, and hope to publish a second book this summer.

I want to thank Kristin for allowing me to participate in this wonderful series about writers and their creative spaces.  I’m always fascinated to read what inspires and drives an artist, what his/her process is like, and what little quirks are a part of it.  I am a creature of habit and have been writing at the same small, beat-up desk since I started work on my very first novel (about 7 years ago.)

What is your writing space like?

I do my writing in my office/TV room.  It’s a place of comfort, solitude, and creativity.  The walls are painted a beautiful shade of moss green, a color I’ve always found very soothing.  When I’m writing and feel stuck or frustrated, I can just look straight ahead at the bare green wall behind my desk and my mind instantly clears.

In most areas of my life, I’m very organized, but not so with my desk.  I have an addiction to post-its and use them liberally, scribbling character names, plot ideas, research info, bits of dialogue, etc. on them.  So, those are always piled up messily on my desk, along with memo pads where I write a lot of notes for my different writing projects.  I, also, have multi-colored post-its plastered all over my plotting board, which sits on the floor next to my desk for easy access and reference.  I keep a couple of motivational and creativity-inspiring items on the right side of my desk – a Shakespeare paperweight that my brother picked up for me in Stratford-on-Avon when he was studying abroad. Hanging from The Bard’s neck is a silver pendant given to me by one of my dearest friends.  The inscription on the pendant says, “Never give up.”  I touch the top of Shakespeare’s head and the pendant every morning before I begin work on my computer.

Do you keep a writing routine? If so, what is your routine?

My brain really works best when it’s fresh, so I do most of my writing in the late morning/early afternoon.  I have a writing ritual – I pour myself a glass of Lemon La Croix Water, rub on some Origins hand cream (which has bergamot in it, so it smells like my beloved Earl Grey tea), and don my writing sweater (a comfy black cardigan.)  I work for a few hours in the morning then I take a break to exercise, eat lunch, and do a couple of crosswords (these always stimulate my brain and put me in the proper frame of mind to write.)  I go back to my WIP for a few more hours in the afternoon and usually end my day by rereading what I’ve written and making notes for the next scene or chapter.

What’s something unique and interesting about your writing space?

I have framed posters from Broadway shows on several of the walls in my office.  I am a big lover of the theatre and try to get to New York once a year to see as many plays and musicals as I can.  All art inspires and motivates me, so having these posters in my creative space reminds me not only of wonderful experiences, but what can be accomplished when you follow your dreams.

If you could have any writing space in the world, what would it look like and why?

I’ve often fantasized about having a cottage in the English countryside, something really quaint and cozy. In my cottage, I would have an office where the walls were lined with shelves of books so that I’d be surrounded by the creative genius of all the literary greats – Austen, Shakespeare, Fitzgerald, the Brontes – and I’d put my desk in front of a big picture window that looked out onto a lovely English country garden teeming with flowers and greenery. I imagine myself sitting at that desk gazing out at that abundance of beauty and color and being very inspired.

Tracie Banister lives and writes in Atlanta. She blogs about her books and other fun stuff at http://traciebanister.blogspot.com/ and tweets at @traciebanister.

A big thank you to Tracie for sharing her space with us this week! What do you guys think? Would your dream writing space look like Tracie’s English countryside retreat?

Where Writers Write: Alyssa Martino

Welcome to this week’s edition of Where Writers Write, an exciting series here on the White Space where we’ll get a glimpse into the places and spaces where writers create their art. Alyssa is a writer I met online, one of the best ways to connect with like-minded, talented writers! If you’re interested in sharing your space with us, shoot me an email at kristinoffilerwrites@gmail.com.
Cozy writing area. Alas, you have also now seen where I sleep. Too personal?
Hi, everyone! Thanks to Kristin for this great blog idea and for inviting me to contribute. I’m glad to be here. Relieved, actually. Especially because I am but one more application away from completing my 13th (yes, 13th!) application to MFA in Creative Writing-Nonfiction programs. Kristin was a huge help to me through the process–informing me about her  experience receiving an MFA in fiction and providing hugely helpful substantive feedback on my writing sample. So, readers, cross your fingers for me! It’s all up to the writing gods now.
I’ve always loved writing. Now, as a Copywriter/Editor for a medical association, I’m able to fuel this desire daily. However, I didn’t always want to write about a topic as specific as radiology (Yup, X-rays, CT scans, and all that fun stuff – though I’ve written about some pretty interesting subjects!). That’s why I began freelancing in the evenings and on weekends–an endeavor that indefinitely requires a totally rockin’ space! Freelancing has allowed me to follow my passions, like about social justice, career trends, and profiling cool people in local newspapers. Here’s where and how I continue writing even AFTER my 9-to-5 editorial job.
What is your writing space like?

I used to sit on the floor of my college dorm room with my back against the door, as if I was shielding my lap top from intruders. Needless to say, I’m a big fan of writing in weird places. But now, I write on my bed. What can I say? It’s comfortable. Warm. Soft. And I feel trapped by chairs and desks. Plus there’s room to spread out my papers and notes around me.
Do you keep a writing routine? If so, what is your routine?
I don’t have a routine. I just write when the lightening strikes! But usually it’s late at night, and since I still work a full-time job, that’s best done on weekends most often.

What’s something unique and interesting about your writing space?

I recently had to move my bed around. It used to be framed under the window but my apartment was getting very cold when winter began, so I quickly did some rearranging. Related to writing, I’m pretty sure I frequently get red pen marks on the corners of my very nice and pricey duvet cover. Oops!
If you could have any writing space in the world, what would it look like and why?
I think it would be ever evolving. It would be outside when I needed inspiration, inside when I needed a cozy sweatshirt and slippers, hot when I was cold, cool when I was warm. It wouldn’t be static. Some days, it might be on a balcony with a view. Or other days, I would be right IN that view, on a beach or in the wild or near some beautiful, colorful city. Can they invent a place that includes all of that?
Alyssa Martino is a writer and editor just outside Washington, D.C. She loves digging for stories that connect people, place and possibility. Visit her site, www.alyssacmartino.com.
Thanks to Alyssa for sharing her space with us! Tell us what you think in the comments– do you write in bed? What does your dream writing space look like?

Where Writers Write: Steph Auteri

Welcome to this week’s installment of Where Writers Write, featuring freelance writing superstar Steph Auteri. I know Steph through the interwebs (which is a great way to meet fellow writers, btw!) and I closely follow her blog, Freelancedom for tips, tricks & musings on the freelance life. This week, she shares her writing space with us. If you’re interested in sharing yours, shoot me an email at kristinoffilerwrites@gmail.com!

Take it away, Steph!

I got ridiculously excited when Kristin mentioned she was starting a new blog series on people’s writing spaces. I mean: office porn! I love it!

Even though my space isn’t ideal, I wanted to participate, too. I mean, this is where I live. This is where I am almost all day. Every evening. And (I’ll admit it) on the weekends. Even if it isn’t ideal, it’s important to me.

When my husband and I were looking to buy a place, shortly after we got engaged, housing prices were sky-high. At the time, I was commuting into the city for a full-time job with an academic book publisher, so we couldn’t move far. Because of that, we couldn’t get a lot for our money. We ended up in a one-bedroom condo, and converted the small dining room space into an office for the two of us.

It has its faults. It opens up directly into the living room so, if one of us wants to watch TV while the other is working, that person has to wear headphones. It’s also the only room in the condo with space for our three cats’ two litter boxes. So it can get smelly. And there’s always litter underfoot. 

When we decided to put our condo on the market (we still haven’t sold, and it’s been two years; prices have dropped so low!), our realtor suggested we move out a lot of our furniture for staging purposes. So I had to go even more minimalist. I sort of loved putting the china cabinet in storage. It gave us more space. But at the same time, I also had to get rid of the large, oversize desk I’d had since college. After many, backbreaking months of working in bed, I eventually brought in my mother’s desk. It’s beautiful, but the drawers are much smaller, and there’s no shelving for extra storage.

Someday soon, we plan on buying a four-bedroom house, whether or not we can sell the condo. We plan on converting one of those bedrooms into my office. I dream of wall-to-wall bookshelves. A window seat. Plenty of storage. Space to roll out my yoga mat. Lots of color.

But for now, this is where I am.

1. What is your writing space like?
As mentioned above, I’m set up against one wall in what would otherwise have been a dining room. I use my mother’s antique desk, and an ergonomic chair I splurged on six months into full-time freelancedom, once I had matched my previous salary as an employee. The desk is small, but it’s forced me to choose my tools and resources with care. I actually keep my favorite how-to books in a drawer, including Kelly James-Enger’s Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks, Mike Nappa’s 77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected, Adair Lara’s Naked, Drunk, and Writing, and Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears’s The Boss of You. Oh! And of course my AP Stylebook. Another drawer contains nothing but magazines. I flip through them to make sure my magazine queries are on target.
I also keep a small om on my desktop, to remind myself that I shouldn’t sweat the small stuff… it’ll all work out. And of course, there’s always a mug of coffee.

I also hung a series of prints along the wall, to bring in some color. Even though it’s not the best space, I wanted to make it mine. These pictures include Andy Warhol’s “So Happy, ca. 1958” (because I’m a crazy cat lady) and a series of three drawings from my favorite city in the world: Boston.

2. Do you keep a writing routine? If so, what is your routine?
Every day for me is different. In addition to working on my own book project, I also do freelance writing for print and online publications, ghostwriting, editing, and career coaching. Throw into the mix the occasional funeral singing gig, and a daily yoga practice, and anything can happen. I will say that writing goes smoother for me when the sun is shining, when the coffee is fresh, and when I’ve done up an outline first. 😉

3. What’s something unique and interesting about your writing space?
My desk used to live in my mother’s childhood bedroom. I love peppering my home with things from my family’s past and, even though this desk is smaller than my old one, it has a lot more character. My little om is also new. While I started exploring yoga casually about a year and a half ago, I didn’t really get serious about it until six months ago. Adding that om to my space reminds me that it can’t all be workworkwork. One needs balance as well.

4. If you could have any writing space in the world, what would it look like and why?
I started daydreaming a bit above, but let me go a little crazy. My idea writing space would have:
– a door with a lock
– lots of natural light
– wall-to-wall shelving containing my own private library
– bay windows with a window seat… piled with pillows… for the best reading nook ever
– lots of color and personality and artwork on the walls
– lots of storage space
– and maybe enough floor space to roll out my yoga mat? (is that asking for too much?)

Steph Auteri is a freelance writer and editor, and the founder of Career Coaching for Word Nerds, through which she offers one-on-one coaching and consulting to freelance writers and other publishing professionals. She has been published in Nerve, The Frisky, Forbes, Business Insider, Time Out New York, and other bastions of fine writing. She also co-wrote an ebook with Ian Kerner — a noted sex counselor — called 52 Weeks of Amazing Sex. Her work is her life, but she can sometimes be found at the yoga studio, hoop dancing, cuddling her cats, or losing herself in a good book. Feel free to check out her website and blog, and to stalk her on Twitter.

 Thank you so much for sharing your writing space with us, Steph!

What do you guys think? Share your thoughts and your dream writing space in the comments!