I get a lot of questions from writers asking how they should set up their writing “spaces.” Frankly, I scratch my head about this.
I write in bed. Like Truman Capote did.
Yeah, I have a “writing space,” but it moves all the time. I housesit, and I’m constantly living in other people’s homes. My writing space is a pile of folders and to-do lists on an end table, or on the dining room table, or on an actual desk.
But where I write best is propped up in bed.
I think the optimum writing space is wherever you actually WRITE! It could be under a tree in the backyard, at a desk, in the tub (think Dalton Trumbo)…or on the bus. (I’m editing this while riding the Tube in London.) Writing is a process, not a place, and getting bogged down in creating the perfect “space” is an opportunity to let procrastination win.
But here’s one tip I offer: If you are stuck, get out of your routine. Research has shown that we humans are more likely to stick with what is familiar – even if it is not in our best long-term interest. When we are willing to shake up our routines, we’re improving our brains’ neuroplasticity, which improves its ability to connect the dots between different thoughts. This increases creativity.
One way I create my own writing retreats is through housesitting, where I live rent-free in others’ homes while caring for their pets while they go on holiday. You can housesit in a rural farmhouse in France, a quiet flat in Chicago, or a lakeside home in Mexico…anywhere, really, where you will be away from your daily chores and routines and get yourself reinspired.
How to do this? First of all, take my quiz to see if housesitting is right for you. (Housesitting’s not meant for everybody.) The quiz is in my book How to Become a Housesitter: Insider Tips from the HouseSit Diva, available as an ebook on my web site or a soft-cover or Kindle.
I’ve been housesitting full-time for 10 years in dozens of countries from Mozambique to Vietnam to the Netherlands, and I’ve learned a few tips to discover which homes will provide me with the perfect writing retreat. I hope to help you discover how housesitting can reignite your muse.
I love to talk about housesitting: Ask me anything! Kelly@JumpStartMyBook.org
And the coolest thing for me? Every housesit has a bed where I can prop myself up and write!
How do you shake up your routine? Share your tips!
Kelly Hayes-Raitt admits she sleeps around. Usually with animals.
More on that in a moment…
Her passion is helping writers get their books jumpstarted. Her coaching clients call her “inspiring,” and students in her workshops rave about her unique teaching techniques. Learn more about working one-on-one with Kelly at www.JumpStartMyBook.org.
Or join her in Cape Town, South Africa, February 1 – 10, 2020, for a magical writing retreat to jumpstart your book! www.JumpStartMybook.org/writers-retreat/
OK, the sleeping around thing? She’s a full-time housesitter and has been traveling the world for the past decade. She’s learned a thing or two about housesitting and shares her knowledge and experience in her popular book How to Become a Housesitter: Insider Tips from the HouseSit Diva available in soft cover or Kindle at Amazon or ebook on her web site www.HouseSitDiva.com.
Before nomading, Kelly reported live from Iraq during the early weeks of the U.S.-led invasion. Her journalism has won several literary awards and has been widely published in anthologies. The girl’s got stories.