Category Archives: Guest Posts

Writing Space: Tesa W Colvin

Seeing how other authors work and organize their writing spaces often gives me new ideas on how to improve my own work environment. This is why I enjoy hosting guest posts on the subject. Poet and writer Tesa M Colvin has graciously consented to tell No Wasted Ink about how she creates in her home writing space.

Tesa Colvin - Writing SpaceMy love for writing began as a fondness for poetry. This soon led me to writing short stories and later on to fiction novels. While I still write poetry whenever the mood strikes, I absolutely love the novel writing process. The joy of weaving a world of words into an entire story is amazing. Ironically, when I began my first novel, Dark Princess, it was one of the most delightfully stressful and challenging writing processes that I had ever experienced. And because it was far more intricate than writing poetry, I learned a lot about myself, my techniques, strengths and weaknesses. But above all of the actual “in-writing” skills that I gained, the most valuable lesson was on the benefit and importance of “pre-writing” by outlining or story mapping.

Armed with info on “how” to write, I knew I needed to determine when to write. I knew I needed to get in the habit of making time to write as opposed to hoping for a minute to do so. And since I had adopted tasks and skills that improved my pre-writing practices, it was much easier to schedule time for my actual writing. So now frenzied pre-writing note taking can happen at any time, but my actual time to focus on significant or consistent writing is set for Tuesday & Thursday evenings (after tending to the rug rats and puppy) and early Saturday morning (before they are awake). This also allows me to read during specific days and times, because any good writer is a reader.

When it’s time to write, I hide away in my own little world…a magical place that gives life to words. And it doesn’t hurt that the doors to my office have very durable locks, making it the best place for me to write in my busy home. Knowing that this space is just for me allows me to be an “impassioned author”, without interruption.

Tesa M Colvin - Writing ToolsAnd when it came to furnishing my little haven, I decided on a comfy high back chair, since I would be spending a lot of time in it (not to mention that it made me feel like I was in control). I also needed a computer desk for my desktop PC as well as an actual desk. This combination would provide a little nook for me to work in and afford lots of space for organizing my notes and conducting other tasks.

Every time I go into my office to write it’s like a writers retreat. I can escape into a world that I am creating or just enjoy a little peace and quiet. And though I have noted several items that are needed in my writing process, I would be far less productive without my pre-writing notebooks AND my pink fuzzy writing socks! They are as important to me as Superman’s cape. I often stash my notebooks in different places (purse, car, truck, work etc.), just in case I am overcome by a need to record something before I forget. Then when I get to my office I can revisit those notes and get back on track or take my writing in an entirely new direction. And the socks, well, (Did I mention that they’re pink and fuzzy?) they are warm and comfortable and my own personal rendition of a “thinking cap”.

Tesa M Colvin - Author and PoetTesa W. Colvin (TWC) was born a southern girl, raised in Michigan and now calls the south home again. She is the President of VisionWise Creative Consulting, author of multiple collections of poetry and inspirational works for writers as well as the upcoming fiction novel “Dark Princess”. Noted by many as a passionate author and blogger of all things writing, despite wearing several hats TWC has completely embraced her gift and is more focused than ever on perfecting her craft and publishing her work.

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Writing Space: Blaine D. Arden

It is always wonderful to find a fellow notebook and fountain pen lover, just like myself. I hope you enjoy reading about Blaine’s writing space and her creative style.

Blaine Arden AuthorWriting is something I do anywhere. Always have. When I was younger, I wrote in class, during breaks, at birthdays and parties. These days I write in waiting rooms, at volleyball matches–watching my kids play–on trains, and during breaks at choir practice. I never leave home without my fountain pen and my notebook. You never know when the solution to that little plot gap springs to mind, or when I suddenly know the name of my newest character.

I tried remembering, I really did. I’d go to sleep convinced that I’d remember it come morning, and would then spend all day cursing myself for believing it, and unable to remember, no matter how hard I tried reliving those minutes before falling asleep. So, I learned my lesson and don’t leave home without my writing implements.

Blaine Arden Notebook and Parker Fountain PenWhat I use? Well, last year, friends gave me this wonderful magenta Parker fountain pen, and I love writing with it. I’m a bit finicky about notebooks, though. I’ve used everything from exercise-books to different sizes notebooks to an A5-binder, which though bulky, came closest to my ideal notebook. But it wasn’t until I sat across from a man writing in an Atoma notebook in the train, that I knew I’d finally found it. I fell in love with it at first sight and have been writing in them ever since. With the ability to take pages out and put them back in again, they make me feel so organized.

Being able to write anywhere and any time, I never thought I’d need a dedicated space for writing. Sure, I had a desk in my room when I still lived with my parents, and could be found in my room most of the time–pretending to do homework while I was really acting out my stories with the barbies hidden away in my bottom drawer. But when I moved in with my boyfriend–now husband–it was just the two of us, so I was easily satisfied with sitting on the sofa or at the dining table, and later, a desk in the living room.

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago–I think I was doing NaNoWriMo for the second time–that I started yearning for a space where I could retreat from the hustle and bustle of having kids playing with friends, playing games, and asking questions at the most inopportune times–bypassing Daddy who’d be sitting not a meter away, of course.

Blaine D Arden Office SpaceThe smallest bedroom–formerly known as walk-in closet–was turned into an office, and at the end of last year my husband made me a lovely new workspace that spans two and a half walls and leaves me plenty of space to work at, read at and clutter. (yes, I tidied the desk before taking the picture). It’s a wonderful, inspirational, place, and it’s all mine. The only drawback is that I don’t have a door. We’d taken that one out years ago, sacrificing it for more closet space, and later reused it when we created a bedroom in the attic. Instead I have a sturdy pvc fly curtain with a yin-yang sign to create a sense of privacy.
As for the kids? They might not be asking my attention every couple of minutes anymore, and they’re old enough to leave me alone when I’m writing–considering that they’re almost all adults themselves now–their bedrooms are a little too close for comfort, and I often find myself grabbing my noise reduction headphones to tune them out to work. Early mornings, on the other hand, are blissfully quiet. 🙂

Blaine is a purple haired, forty-something, writer of gay romance with a love of men, music, mystery, magic, fairies, platform shoes and the colours black, purple and red, who sings her way through life. You can find Blaine at: her website, on twitter, and on facebook. You can also email her at blaine@blainedarden.com

Writing Space: Renee Johnson

I’ve been a regular reader of Renee’s blog Writingfeemail for almost a year and have come to enjoy her observations about life and writing. I am often amazed at some of the similarities writer’s share as they pursue their craft. I hope you’ll enjoy Renee’s guest post here at No Wasted Ink.

Renee Johnson Writer and BloggerReading consumed me as a child and the resulting nickname – Bookworm – stuck to me for many years. I wrote my first novel around the age of nine in pink ink on lined loose paper. But growing up in the late seventies and early eighties, I was advised to follow the trail of business, not passion. Pursuing one’s bliss didn’t come into fashion until I was knee deep in the professional world with a business degree under my belt. Although my creative writing professors always encouraged me to continue with my writing, it was thought to be something one did as a hobby instead of a career.

Then I married, had a child, and followed him around baseball fields until I woke up one morning and realized that he was at college three hours away and I had newly acquired free time.

So, I ran away to France to a little village named Essoyes and the Writing School taught by teacher, editor, and writer – Janet Hulstrand. There, I found the validation and confidence that I needed to pursue writing as a second act in my life.

I returned home and began to put the many things I learned into practice and started the blog: Writingfeemail. But it took a while to get a writing space set up that was comfortable and user friendly. I found that I was constantly looking for things like staplers, post-it notes, paper clips, ink pens, etc. So I found a great divided organizer that matched my writing desk and it has been the single best piece of furniture that I have ever bought. Nothing is further than a fingertip away and the dividers keep it all separated so that I don’t have to dig around to find what I need.

Renee Johnson Writing Room

And the desk is in a room upstairs away from the bustle of normal traffic coming in and out of the house. That way I can get a bit more privacy. The small sofa and love seat are perfect for kicking back and proofreading my work or just offering a bit of a rest after hunching over the keyboard for too long.

Renee Johnson Writing room with sofa

There is a second writing tool that I use, especially when traveling. It is a laptop computer. And I have a brown leather journal that I love to carry around and jot notes in. But lately I’ve found that the notepad application on my blackberry has replaced the handwritten notes and that is probably a shame. Combing over my little notations often sparks the fire again for a project in a way that a typed note in the phone just doesn’t!


To read more about my experiences in Essoyes at the Writing School visit writingfeemail.

Writing Space: Duffy Brown

I connected with Duffy Brown on Twitter and she kindly consented to do a guest post here on No Wasted Ink about her writing space!

Writer Duffy BrownDuffy Brown the writer…

I love anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, I longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. I have two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, and conjure up who-done-it stories of my very own for Berkley Prime Crime. Iced Chiffon, out October, 2012, is the first in the Consignment Shop Mystery series. Killer in Crinolines is scheduled May, 2013. In my other life I wrote romance as Dianne Castell and am a USA Today bestselling author.

Duffy Brown's Writing SpaceDuffy’s writing space… aka: The Pit.

I wish I could say that when asked to take a picture of my office for Wendy and No Wasted Ink, she caught me at a bad time. Truth be told when it comes to my office it’s always a bad time. There’s always a map taped to the wall. This time the map is Savannah. There are a lot of one way streets in Savannah, twenty-three squares that are mini parks, as many churches as bars and a ton of incredible Southern restaurants. I need a map to keep it all straight.

Then there’s my love of Sherlock. I’m a Sherlock dork. Have a Sherlock hat in my office for inspiration. Do you see his pipe, a Sherlock action figure (yeah, there really is such a thing)? I even have Sherlok as my license plate and named my cat Dr. Watson.

Then there’s the notes taped to the wall and promo on the floor. I got the cutest pens. They have the chalk outline of a dead guy on top. I have thousands of bookmarks to mail out, notepads, magnets, flyers, posters. At least there aren’t any dirty coffee cups and half-eaten doughnuts. Actually there would never be half-eaten doughnuts in my house anywhere! Doughnuts are one of my five food groups behind ice cream and before diet Coke.

I just gave my office another look-see. Did you see the discarded bra? Lordy, I forgot that was there.

Duffy Brown's Writing ToolMy Favorite Writing Tool is…paper and pencil.

It’s how I plot out a mystery. I get that big sheet of drawing paper you see on the floor, divide out twenty-one squares (one for each chapter) and start plugging in scenes. I do it outside to inside, meaning I know how the book starts and how it ends then plot a middle action, red herrings, clues, suspects, a few more dead bodes. I have a big eraser so I can change things around.

You wonder why I just don’t use sticky notes. Well one time I had the window open and a big breeze came along. I learned my lesson!

Duffy Brown
Berkley Prime Crime
Consignment: Murder series
-Iced Chiffon Oct, ’12
-Killer in Crinolines May ’13
DuffyBrown.com

Writing Space: Cyndi Lavin

I credit Problogger Cyndi Lavin as being the one who returned me to writing on a regular basis. Due to her encouragement, I started to publish guest posts on blogs, including her own, and various articles to online jewelry magazines. I am proud to feature her writing space here on No Wasted Ink.

I don’t really remember there ever being a time when I wasn’t making something, even if it was just making a mess as a small child! I credit my mother, RuthAnn Lavin, with encouraging and modeling everyday creativity for me. I was always making, and sometimes selling, small things as a child, but I discovered along the way that what I really like most is helping other people figure stuff out too. Creativity has too narrow a definition in some peoples’ worlds, and I really believe that if you find the form of creativity that you were designed by your Creator to express, you’ll be a much happier person.

To that end, I began writing up instructions for projects that were published in various magazines and books, and then I got involved in blogging back in 2005. My blogs quickly became a way that I found to share art projects with people who were actually interested in learning to do some of the things I do.

When people ask me what I do for a living, my standard reply is, “I make things and I write about it.” If they show interest, then I elaborate, but it still strikes me that is the best description of my work day. I have a wonderful studio which includes space for both my work table and my writing desk. While the work table is most often chaotic and messy, my writing space is pretty neat and organized. Yes, there are a few piles, but they are kept to a minimum. I like being able to move quickly from my work table, where I also shoot most of my pictures, over to my writing desk where I keep my projects organized for future publication.

My favorite making/writing project to date has been my e-book, Every Bead Has a Story, which is about my explorations in mixed media bead embroidery. I published it a chapter at a time, both because I was too excited to wait and also so that readers could acquire only the chapters that interested them. The first chapter is free, so if any of your readers would like to take up a new hobby, they are welcome to help themselves.

Cyndi Lavin, Artist & AuthorCyndi Lavin

http://www.beading-arts.com/
http://www.mixed-media-artist.com/
http://realfoodfast.blogspot.com/