Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Where I write

By: Stacy S. Jensen 

Where do I write?

Lately, it's been in a lot of places — the kitchen counter, the bench where I wait for my son after school, and a messy office.

Long ago, I abandoned the dream of having large blocks of time to write. I discovered that using any amount of time gradually adds to my manuscript. Maybe it's a sentence or just a word. Either way, they all those letters add up to a story.

The kitchen counter typically is my place for ideas. I capture information on my iPhone or on a notebook. I'm not super focused here. This is for quick, "trying to get that down before I forget" moments.

The bench is where I sit and revise. I print out the story I'm working on and will mark it up before the class arrives for dismissal. When it's warm, this works very well. Even if I only look at a paragraph, it's one more polished paragraph.

My messy office is where I keep my MacBook Pro. Since I work from home - doing website, volunteer, and writing work — my office is the home base.

My laptop sits on a wooden desk I received on my 30th birthday. It was a random gift, but the desk has survived death, moves, memoirs, lots of picture book manuscripts, and a toddler. Dust gathers at the back of it, but the front is covered in sticky notes and to do lists.

Eighty percent of my vomit drafts are written in the office on the laptop. The draft stays on my computer's cluttered desktop for a while, until I'm ready to revise where I create a folder for each story. Then, I fill that folder with each revised version. I'm still testing to see whether holding on to the revisions adds value to my writing process.

Since most of my writing is in the picture book genre — think 500 words or less — I spend a lot of time defending each word. Much of this work is completed on the go ... while running errands, in the shower, or right after my head hits the pillow. I send myself a lot of notes from my iPhone or via email.

I also recognize there are two places where I don't write, but they contribute to my writing experience and to my idea notebook — Facebook and my email inbox.

Calm down if you think I'm a Facebook hater. I LOVE Facebook. Some people watch cat videos; I look at my Facebook newsfeed to see updates about everyone's children. It's story gold for me.  I connect on Facebook with a bunch of super helpful writers, who share tips on the craft, agents, and support. However, I'm not writing when I'm doing this.

My email inbox is another area where I get a ton of ideas from blogs, writing organizations, and writers. However, managing my emails takes time away from writing.

So, I'm off to the office to write. Where will you be writing today?

About the Author: Stacy S. Jensen worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for two decades. Today, she writes picture books and revises a memoir manuscript. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and son.


  1. Stacy, I LOVE this article. In the old days I waited for huge snatches of time to write. It ain't happening, baby! Just as the publishing industry is evolving, so are our time constraints. Yes, I want huge snatches of time but with an aging mother, a house for sale, and other commitments, it's up to me to FIND the time. Thank you for this!

  2. This shows that real writing can happen anywhere. I love Facebook for all the writer connections I've made there and the groups that share info & challenges. Love this phrase: "defending each word." Thanks, Stacy!

  3. I often wish that writers left cards, saying, "I worked on my manuscript here." It would be fun to see the different spots where my favorite books were dreamed up. I also do a lot of brainstorming in the car. I leave myself voice messages, or record what I won't remember. Great post!



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