Tag: genius

New Office: Assembly required

Environment matters. Nature versus nurture aside, we know successful work can be promoted by the proper surroundings.

My sons had the music cranked while they worked on homework. I prefer the sound of silence while I’m concentrating.

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to optimal work space.

As a writer, I spend most of my time working at home. I love this, but I have to admit the cramped quarters of my old office inhibited me.

newoffice2

Now I have a big, beautiful new office. And everyone knows a new office needs a new desk.

Is my clever title beginning to make a little more sense now? Did you really think I was going to talk about setting up my office space?

My husband loves to build things. “If I won the lottery, I’d quit my job and work on a construction crew.”

Yep, that’s what he says. Unfortunately, my husband has the worst luck when it comes to home improvement projects.

He may love to build – but it doesn’t come easily.

Thus, the reason my two sons found themselves assembling my lovely 71 x 71 inch L-shaped desk this past weekend. Hubs was wrestling with water hoses for the washing machine and converting circular dryer vent pipe to fit the oval-shaped ductwork.

Meanwhile, I was unloading boxes (mainly shelving books and sorting items into the donation bags and boxes).

“Those two need supervision,” my husband told me.

Of course, who am I to supervise the construction of anything? Well, a lemon meringue pie maybe.

My youngest son had the assembly manual. (Yes, it required a manual to convert two heavy boxes of boards into this lovely desk.) My oldest son lined up the parts and wielded the tools.

It’s amazing how manufacturers have learned to label all the boards (A-K for my desk) and include pictures of even the smallest screw. I’m convinced the poor sap who spends his days writing the assembly instructions has the most boring writing job in the world.

My oldest son predicted the desk construction project would take five hours. He’s learned to estimate high after watching how things don’t come together for his father.

Each time I stepped into the doorway (the entire floor of the office had been requisitioned for organizing the parts and equipment), I smiled. They were working together – and getting it done.

These sons of mine argue about everything. Mostly, it isn’t because they disagree. It’s because they like to rile each other up and cause friction.

It doesn’t help that they both think they know everything. (You remember that, right? Between 14 and 25, you didn’t need any help because you had all the answers. Or maybe that was just me – and my sons.)

There were some debates early on in the building process. When my husband sought me out as an overseer, he had just stopped them from assembling things backward.

It's a beauty! Those Hughson boys can assemble a desk, I tell you.
It’s a beauty! Those Hughson boys can assemble a desk, I tell you.

After the first hour, most of the criticism went to the manual writer. I learned this when I mentioned I might review my desk at the online retailer. After all, I really liked it.

“Make sure you mention the manual was written by an idiot.” Yeah, I’m pretty sure that won’t make it into any review I write.

Someone had to take the fall for the difficulty my genius sons faced in assembling this central figure in my new work space.

I’m not surprised it was the beleaguered manual writer.

What’s one feature you love or would change about your work space? Any thoughts on assembly instructions?

The Writing Zone: I’m Loving It

I’m in “The Zone.” Freshly brewed coffee tantalizes my nose. The whir of the espresso machine and drone of conversation fades to background music.

            When the muse visits, a writer’s environment becomes inconsequential.

She sings her siren song. Her whispers spur my fingers to ever higher speeds on the annoying bluetooth keyboard attached to my tablet.

Not a chance I can keep up. Her tempo could challenge an Indy 500 winner. The music floods through me, vibrating in my chest like the deepest notes of a free-standing bass.

Why does she visit me today – in this place? The past few days, she refused to even glance in my direction.

Is she capricious? Did I offend her with my indecision about what project to tackle next?

As much as I’d like to understand her whimsy, there’s no time for interviews. I must capture her warm breeze of inspiration and translate it to words on the page.

My fingers cramp. The low battery warning flashes across my screen. Can I even risk the time it takes to find the power cord? Is there a power outlet nearby?

An ancient interpretation of The Muse
An ancient interpretation of The Muse

Ms. Muse laughs with abandon. A quirk of her fingers warns of her intention to move along. I must keep up or lose the creative spark she lends my story.

Ancient Greeks called her genius. I don’t want the responsibility of such a title. I long for a few dabbles of it in the beginning of my latest work. No agent could reject the writing of a genius, could they?

So, I type on until the red bar in the upper right corner fades to black.

Thankfully, there is this thing called auto-save.

And voice recording. But that requires me to leave the sweet-smelling coffee shop behind.

People stare at me, sitting in the front seat of my car and talking. To no one they can see.

It’s not as easy to catch the words when my voice overwhelms the fading chant of the muse. I press on until the spark fades.

With a sigh, I return to the regular press of writing. It’s my job to put words on the page. I love the creative process.

My sadness spurs from the knowledge that my words pale, lacking the genius of what came before.

Perhaps, my inspiration will visit again tomorrow. Either way, I’ll be tapping away at the keys, content to fill the file with my own ideas.

I’m a writer. I write – with genius when she calls – but more often from the well of my own soul.

    What helps you call up your muse? Do you feel your words are sub-par when the inspiration isn’t guiding you? What keeps you writing – no matter what?