Last summer, my husband and I completed some much needed remodeling to our home. It was an exciting time watching outdated spaces made new. In the midst of the mess and disorder of construction, I was also working on the editing of my debut novel, preparing it for a fall publication date. The summer months felt similar to the anticipation a couple feels when they welcome a new member into their family. In our case we weren’t expecting a baby, but rather the completed book along with the celebration and opportunities for forming new relationships it would bring.
The summer remodeling project freed up enough space in our basement to allow me to clean out the room I had used to give piano lessons in the past and convert it to my writing study. I call it a study because of the shelves of books and cabinets of research materials housed there. The decor has stayed the same, as you can see in this photo of the wall paper with musical instruments on it that hung in this room through my years as a piano teacher.
My writing study includes my writing desk, a comfortable chair, three tall book shelves and one smaller shelf. In addition to a variety of non-fiction book in my collection, my book shelves allow plenty of space for my favorite writers. Perhaps they are also some of your favorites too. One shelf is reserved for my collection of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane books. I’ve visited the homestead in South Dakota and the farm in Mansfield, Missouri, and I can’t help but pick up another book about Laura on each trip to bring home with me.
More shelves are reserved for books by L.M. Montgomery. She wrote the Anne of Green Gables series along with many other stories. L. M. Montgomery had a delightful sense of humor. I have dog-eared the pages of her books that make me laugh every time I read them and refer back to them whenever I am working on writing humor into my own stories.
My fiction library wouldn’t be complete without the shelf dedicated to Janette Oke’s books. She has inspired me every since my high school days. I never expected to become an author of my own fiction books, but I look back now and realize that in addition to picking up the spiritual lessons in her stories, I also discovered the skills for telling a good story.
Another collection of books I have in my writing space is reading materials on Dutch heritage and various Bibles in the Dutch language that have been in my family for generations. The dark brown Bible nearest the top in the photo is from my great-grandmother and dates back to 1889. My stories have a flair of Dutch heritage woven throughout them, so I rely on resources like these to share accurate facts.
The last collection of books in my writing space helpful to an author are my books about the writing craft. I have many, so I will share just one set with you in this blog. If you would like to check out some great books on writing, take a look at the Write Great Fiction series published by Writer’s Digest Books. The titles I have are:
- Revision and Self Editing by James Scott Bell
- Dialogue by Gloria Kempton
- Characters, Emotion and Viewpoint by Nancy Kress
- Description and Setting by Ron Rozelle
- Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
As I mentioned earlier, I also have cabinets in my writing space, One stores more of my materials helpful for exploring Dutch heritage. This cabinet contains photo boxes, books of genealogy, and farm and church history that relates in some way to my family.
A second cabinet is smaller and stores my journals. When I fill a journal, I add it to the collection and then look forward to purchasing and starting a new one.
The last cabinet contains papers, files, and records related to the financial side of writing. Writing really is a business, so I need a place of storage for the accounting to help me stay organized. But that cabinet isn’t all work and no fun. It has just enough space left over to conceal my stash of chocolate. If you’re putting in a day creating a character or working out the ending to the story, make sure to have your favorite brand of chocolate on hand. It is invaluable to the output of quality writing!
Where do you enjoy writing? Are there favorite books you look to for inspiration?