Anna Waggener Guest Post + Giveaway
Welcome to Anna Waggener. Anna is the February Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob. Anna has written an entertaining Young Adult book called Grim. Read on to learn how Anna finds a space and time to write.
As I write this blog post, I’m sitting on my living room couch. There’s a stack of magazines on one end of the coffee table and a box of chocolates on the other. There’s a bag overflowing with recycling near the front door and clothes strewn about haphazardly, because it’s winter in Minnesota and there are never enough chairs, let alone enough hooks on the coat rack, to hold the number of coats, hats, gloves that an Oklahoma girl requires in such weather.
In the beloved book On Writing, Stephen King talks about the necessity of having a writing space where one can shut the door. Unfortunately, I live in a space with an open floor plan; a place where this advice is virtually impossible unless I go into the bathroom and sit in the tub, computer balanced precariously on my two knees. I believe what Stephen King says, because I’ve been lucky enough to have such a place in the past—but since leaving home for college, I have simply not had a door that I could shut.
For a very long time, I tried to carve out a writing space in the student center or library of my college. I found that I could write essays just about everywhere—on the bed in my shared dorm room, at a table surrounded by friends also hard at work, in one of the coffee shops near campus—but there were few places that I could find inspiration for creative writing. I’d catch a snippet of an idea on the bus, or a line of dialog would follow me out of sleep, looping through my head as I got ready for a morning class. After finishing homework for the night, I’d sit down and stare at my screen, and nothing would come. Then I’d turn off my computer and go in search of friends.
I did not give up writing, or give up on writing. I just became very bad at pursuing it. I’d been so used to inspiration striking when it would come that I didn’t want to push or prod it. It’ll come, I thought. It’ll come.
It wasn’t until the summer after my freshman year that I realized how important consistency was for my writing. During my internship at Scholastic, I came into the office, sat down, and wrote every day. After flying back to Oklahoma, I stayed with my grandmother for three weeks. Every afternoon while she napped, I would open up my computer and clatter-clack away. Every night after I’d gotten ready for sleep, I would sit up in bed and write for another few hours. By the end of my stay, I’d finished a very rough draft of a very long book.
Since then, I’ve sought out ways to build a writing space for myself. I’ve learned that while I can scribble notes or descriptions or scraps of dialog in other places, consistency does matter when I want to get into the real work of drawing out character and storyline. Today, at this stage of my life and in this apartment, my writing space is four square feet of couch with my laptop open in my lap. When I sit here with my laptop, I know what I am here to do.
This space is just as open as every other part of my apartment, but I’ve carved out a kind of quiet. When I sit here after a long day at work, I am often tired, oftener hungry. And yet when I pause to let my day go still, let the coats and socks and recycling disappear, the space finds a way of taking over. I find my four walls and my door.
If you would like to win a copy of Anna's book Grim click here: Grim Giveaway