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?