Center or corner?

“It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room.  Life isn’t a support system for art.  It’s the other way around.”  Steven King, in On Writing

I’m reading King’s memoir/handbook about writing on the recommendation of my critique partner.  I can’t believe I’ve not read it before.  Advice aside, King is funny enough to make you laugh out loud in the jury room.  (Yes, I’m in jury duty detention.)  Reading King on writing reminds me why I devoured every one of his books in junior high school.  I haven’t read him in a long time – lost my appetite for horror, I guess – but “hack” or no, the man has story chops like no one’s business.

The above quote comes at the end of a chapter about his addictions to drug and alcohol, and it really resonated with me.  Not because of addiction – shoes and books don’t count, apparently – but because my desk is in the corner of my living room.  Some of you may remember that I am grateful to even have a desk.  King’s quote reminds me that one doesn’t need an ivory tower or a fancy desk or even peace and quiet to write.

I am guilty of putting off writing.  Someone’s watching TV, or the dog is jumping around, or the trash trucks are too loud.  There’s always an excuse to stop.  I’ve gotten better, though, since reading another piece of  advice recently ” to write despite the incoming.”  That if you can write in the midst of life going on around you, you’ll always be able to write.

Which is why I’m working on my novel as I sit, waiting to be called for a jury.




3 thoughts on “Center or corner?

  1. Leslie, I bought that book a couple of years ago and have yet to read more than 50 pages *sigh* I LOVE it though, and perhaps, after my son’s wedding, that will be the first thing I make a point of finishing. I’m hoping and praying that nothing big comes up to keep me from focusing on my writing. I’m not doing stuff for the Chapter, and right now I’m focusing on my daughter-in-law’s shower, then the wedding. After that I’ll be concentrating on what I need to accomplish for me. It’ll feel good 🙂

    It’s true that you can write with stuff going on around you; in fact, I discovered I like the noise of the Barnes cafe in the background (well, not always–it can get very loud and some people’s conversations are way too obnoxious and annoying). I call it “back fill.” I don’t think I could write if a dog was jumping ON me, though, and when things are too loud, it’s hard to keep them in the background. It’s the times when ideas grab me and I have to stop to write whatever it is that’s compelling, I can write anywhere with anything going on. I do think, though, that publisher deadlines help writers write, too, because they CAN’T procrastinate 🙂

    Good luck with jury duty!

  2. On Writing is one of my favorite books about the craft. And Stephen King is my favorite author. No one says, “come with me and I’ll tell you story” better than he does.

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