Jealousy Strikes Over Writer’s Rooms

A creative space, exactly as you like it, and a routine, undisturbed, can make a day or, in the case of some people, a work of art. Balancing work and writing is something I’ve thought about lately, but more than that I’m curious about other people. How do they write best? So to fill that curiosity, we have creatives spaces and routines…(ahh, the wonders of the internet.)


The Guardian has a great page dedicated to writer’s rooms…literally a series of photographic “portraits” of the rooms the writers work in by Eamonn McCabe. Coincidentally, McCabe has an exhibit that just opened that runs through January 17 at Madison Contemporary Art if you are in London.

They’re gorgeous and interesting shots that give you an intimate look of the creative spaces of various authors. They tend to have a desk and a computer…but other than that, these spaces are as varied as can be. Some are bare spaces with merely a desk, but most tend toward a messy, comfortably chaotic appeal. I wish they would do a series of artist’s studios next.

These are clearly all successful, middle-aged writers because they have rooms they can devote to writing. I live in New York city, and have a compact desk in my bedroom that I can devote to writing. There is just room for it between the door and the bed. It’s usually crowded with papers that I once meant to look at. The chair hurts my shoulders after a while. A certain someone likes to sit at it with his computer. And so, my workspace has become wherever there is a computer. A helpful versatility, no doubt, but I envy the luxury of a room of one’s own and the flourish of a quill pen, like in Jane Austen’s room, right.


It isn’t mere space I pine for, but the lives that could be led in them. Similar to these room portraits, blog Daily Routines gives a brief summary of how artists, writers, and other ‘interesting people’ organize their day in all its intimate detail. The writer Murakami runs marathons to get into a zenlike state, much like his dreamy novels. Kafka’s is bizzare. Truman Capote is a “horizontal” author.

My routine involves a lot of ‘sometimes’. I go to an office sometime. Sometimes I have been up writing or reading for an hour. Sometimes I sleep. Sometimes I’ll polish something up during the day, sometimes I’ll write at night. Today, I’ll cook up a nice breakfast and lay in bed typing while trying to plan the most productive possible day.

I’m still settling into a quasi-writing life, but I have dreams of what it would be like. They run along the lines Oscar Wilde’s perscriptum of life as art. In which case, I have a lot of work to do. Christmas angels and huge koi decals are competing for decorative space to ill effect in this writer’s rooms. Yet based on the differences I found in rooms and routines, I’d have to say to each his own.

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