My Writing Space

Finding the “Write Space” part II

So, a few months back I blogged about revamping my home writing space. While I did get a fair amount of writing and revising done in that small corner of the one guest room, I realized that I was a bit cramped. At the beginning of June, I decided that it was time to once again “revise” my writing space. The first step was getting the spare queen-sized bed out of there (we already have a guest room across the hall, so there was no reason to have two!). After that, we moved my elliptical machine to another corner of the room, organized the closet so I have more room to store books/files/etc., and just reorganized the entire room in general. I threw out old files, donated books, and best of all – wrapping-papered the back of a $25 bookshelf I picked up at Wal-Mart. (pics are posted below).

Book Shelf Before:                                       Book Shelf After:

shelf before                      write space final   FullSizeRender-1

Room Before:                                                Room After: 

before                  IMG_3510  write space

This was a weekend project (taking pretty much all of Saturday and Sunday of last week), but in the end it was SOOOO worth it. I love my space, and I’ve already logged 3,000 more words to my mystery YA manuscript!

Happy Writing!

🙂 Jennie

@jenniekaywrites

Finding the “Write” Space

The Write Space

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Today I want to talk about writing spaces. Many of my author friends have a favorite place where they get the majority of their writing done. Some travel to a favorite coffee shop, some set up shop in a hotel room while on a book tour, and others make a quaint little writing nook at home. I’m in the latter of this group. (But hopefully one day I’ll be on tour for my novels and have to make a writing space out of my hotel room!)

When my husband and I moved last February, I knew exactly where I wanted my writing space to be – in the front spare bedroom on our second floor. I envisioned myself sipping coffee from my favorite Shakespeare insult mug, typing away. Well, this didn’t happen for quite some time. Some days I wrote at the dining room table. Other days it was the kitchen island. A few evenings here and there would be spent on the couch with my laptop in … well … my lap. Some weekends I would get writing done at the Hershey Panera Bread. But I was finding that I did not accomplish much due to distractions in these locations. With an open floor plan, my son playing in the living room distracted me when I wrote in the kitchen, living room and dining room. The chatter and crowd at Panera Bread would cut my writing short. I needed a quiet writing zone. So when my latest Better Homes and Gardens arrived, and I saw the fun writing space on the cover, I became motivated to create the right space to WRITE!

    INSPIRATION:                                         BEFORE:                                                AFTER:

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And the best part – I created my space in under $25 dollars.

Lamp: $7.99 K-Mart

“B”: $5.99 TJ Maxx

Vase and Floral Arrangement: $7.00 Michaels

Sea foam – green Tray: 50 cents! Staples

Fabric for Inspiration Board: $1.25 Joann’s Fabrics

Although many people don’t need a set space to write, this works for me! And if you can get in the writing zone in a coffee shop, or need the solitude of a writing nook, whatever get you writing is your “write” space! Already, I’ve added 7,000 words to my WIP – the sequel to Poppy Mayberry, The Monday (Due to my publisher in March – yikes!) in my nook.

I’d love to see pictures of your writing space!

Happy New Year and Happy Writing!

🙂 Jennie K. Brown @jenniekaywrites

Writing Advice from Best-Selling Authors Stephen Chbosky and Jay Asher

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There are some major perks (no pun intended – and you will see why soon enough…) to being the President of the PA Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts. For example, this past weekend, I had the awesome pleasure of spending time with award-winning author, director and producer Stephen Chbosky and amazing writer Jay Asher. You probably best know Stephen as the author and screenwriter of Perks of Being a Wallflower and Jay as the author of Thirteen Reasons Why. Both authors were two keynote speakers at the PCTELA annual conference. Although much of their addresses discussed their interactions with English teachers throughout their lives, they also spoke of their writing life and writing process. Below are a few writing “tips” Stephen and Jay gave during their keynote speeches and a few more they shared with me over dinner and email.

  1. If you write, you ARE a writer. Stephen emphasized the fact that by just writing something down on paper you are, indeed, a writer. “There is no such thing as an aspiring writer,” he said. Again, if you write, you’re already a writer. It’s as simple as that.
  2. Stop procrastinating. That’s much easier said than done. Jay and I talked about our procrastinating nature Friday night. Between teaching full time, grading, magazine deadlines, and chasing a 1-year old son, it’s difficult for me to find the time to work on my novels. But I have to. You have to. Carve some time out and DO IT! This leads to my next piece…
  3. Commit to time, not pages. This was Stephen’s number 1 piece of advice for me. After my son’s to bed and the house it quiet, I need to set my alarm for three hours and JUST WRITE. You need to do the same. If in those three hours you write one page – great. If you finish two chapters – even better!
  4. We all get rejected. Jay’s first book was rejected 13 times before publication. (How ironic is the number?!) My debut novel POPPY MAYBERRY, THE MONDAY (coming out August 2016 with Tantrum Books) was rejected more times than I can even count – first, by agents, and then, by publishers. But all of those rejections led to finding my first agent, and then my current super agent Bill Contardi, and a 2-book deal!
  5. Revise. Revise. Jay said, “the genius of me is I didn’t know how bad it (my first book) was, so I sent it off to New York.” Even if you think you have the perfect manuscript or query letter or synopsis, revise it one more time. It never hurts.

Happy Writing! 🙂 Jennie @jenniekaywrites

Write and Ride

ImageAs mentioned in last week’s post, I am excited to have found inspiration (and time) to begin writing consistently once again. As I was reading through my twitter feed, I noticed tons of people commenting on the #AmtrakResidency program. My interest was immediately piqued, as I have traveled by Amtrak more times than I can count. In fact, one of my all-time favorite experiences was taking a 21-day Amtrak train trip across country 11 years ago. Something that I always did on the train was write – whether that be in journal form or typing away on my laptop.

I tweeted about the residency, and an nbcnews.com writer happened to see my tweet and reached out to me. I am so thrilled to have been interviewed by Tanya Mohn at nbcnews.com about Amtrak’s Writer Residency program #AmtrakResidency. Click here to read the article. This piece served as another boost in my writing confidence. I have applied for the residency (along with over 10,000 other writers), and hope that I am one of the chosen 24!

 

Back to the Write Life

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As many of you know, these last six months with my awesome little man have been absolutely amazing. There truly is no love like the love you have for a child. As amazing as it has been spending time with my husband and baby boy, something that has been put on the WAY back burner is my writing. Sure, I’ve still been freelancing for a number of magazines (I actually picked up 4 more publications over maternity leave) and I’ve written some poetry with my students, but my manuscript writing has taken a serious hit.

But I am back…and I am ready to brainstorm, revise and write. These months off have given me time to really reflect on my MG manuscript (Poppy) and find a direction for her to go. I started her third, and hopefully last (until she has a home with a publisher), revision right before baby boy was born, and am now ready to finish. Also, between naps, feedings, and during late nights and early mornings, I’ve had some time to write a chapter here and there for a few other manuscripts (1 MG and 2 YA). I am excited to start piecing those together as well.

Now I must go. BB is in bed and it’s the write time…