May I Squeeze In?

38579663 - two colleagues working with computers in office

This week, our resident hound posed an intriguing question: Who would you select as a writing partner if you were simply going to share studio space? Who would you choose if your writing partner would also be your co-author on the same manuscript?

Frankly, I’m not sure I could share a writing space with anyone on a permanent basis. I’ve attended writing retreats with my local RWA, spending the entire weekend in a house where up to a dozen of us were all working on our individual writing projects. I loved being with fellow writers and each time I got a lot done, but only when I separated myself from the large group and found a spot where I could write alone. I’m extremely distracted by extraneous sounds – even when I had my headphones on and played baroque music (my go-to for concentration and getting things done) I couldn’t help being disturbed by the woman behind me with the long fingernails click-click-clacking on her keyboard. Also, my arthritic back prevents me from sitting for long periods of time, so I work better when I can alternate between sitting and standing – and I’m sure all my moving around would be distracting to someone else.

As for co-writing, I’ve actually written two novels with my friend Stephanie Michels. Stephanie lives on the north end of Grand Rapids, and I live on the southwest corner, so it’s a twenty-five minute drive between our homes. Not an insurmountable trip, but we only met a few times in person during the process. Most of the time we talked on the phone (video calls are great when we want to share visual images) or communicated by text or email. It was a fun experience, but I’m not sure that I’d want to work with anyone on a long-term project. It’s difficult to mesh different writing styles, writing schedules, and thought processes. I’m also busy with other hobbies and projects, so I might not ready to work on something when the other person is. Also, I’m not a linear thinker – even though I spend a lot of time planning and plotting, I write in bits and pieces, jumping from introduction to conclusion and then filling in the middle. So that could really annoy someone who wants to write the story from beginning to end.

So to choose someone with whom I could share a writing space and/or co-write, I guess I’d have to find someone who understands my foibles, who is okay with my unpredictable and varied schedule, and is tolerant with my not-so-tidy habits and my unorthodox system of writing. I could probably handle sharing space with someone (other than the fingernail typist), but others might not be eager to share with me.

How are you at sharing spaces?




About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
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8 Responses to May I Squeeze In?

  1. jeff7salter says:

    great column.
    And I bet you wouldn’t want to share writing space with me, because I snack at my keyboard and have piles of paper everywhere.
    I think it’s cool that you and Stephanie M. have been able to successfully collaborate on those two novels. That you agreed to do a second project suggests that both of you found the first collaboration to be agreeable.
    Yeah, the lady with clacking fingernails would bother me, too. Though I’ve never participated in a writing retreat. I tend to be VERY distracted when others are around me… so I doubt I could concentrate very much (unless I found an isolated corner somewhere).


  2. I’ve never shared space with someone while writing. I don’t think anyone would be able to write with me but I’ll speak more of that tomorrow.
    I don’t think I could write with someone with long nails, I think the clacking would be too annoying. However I don’t think someone moving around would bother me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I suppose if the fingernails hadn’t distracted me, it might have been something else. Maybe she just has a noisy keyboard, but she sure was writing a lot! I should be happy for her.


  3. Joselyn says:

    The camaraderie of writing retreats is great, but it is hard to get anything done because you just want to talk to everybody. I always think I will get a ton done because I have x number of hours to devote to writing. In reality I will write about four pages.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      The bigger the group, the more chatter there is because there are more connections being made. In the RWA retreats, there is a “quiet zone” set aside. Conversations are supposed to take place outside of that area. It usually works pretty well – unless there are loud keyboard noises!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d LOVE to be around other like-minded writers but I don’t know if I could write with them around.Of course, one never knows. I’d be willing to give it a shot, though. I always get a little jealous when I see posts on FB from friends who are at writers’ retreats.
    Click-click-click…yeah, annoying. I agree.


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