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Guest Post: Keeping out the Distractions by Heather Lynn Rigaud

Anyone who reads this blog knows that Pride & Prejudice spinoffs and retellings are my guilty pleasure, and another guilty pleasure of mine is providing my readers with an inside look into author’s writing spaces.  Heather Lynn Rigaud, author of Fitzwilliam Darcy Rock Star, is the latest author of a Pride & Prejudice retelling to offer up a glimpse into her writing space.

About the book from Amazon:

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Slurry’s tall, dark, and enigmatic virtuoso guitarist, knows that this is no time to be picky, but he never expected what was waiting when he, Charles Bingley and Richard Fitzwilliam crashed the Meryton Public House.

Elizabeth Bennet, the fiercely independent and talented lead singer of Long Borne Suffering has serious reservations about joining such a trouble laden tour with the bad boys of Rock and Roll, but the opportunity is just too good to pass up!

On the Slurry tour, the music’s hot, but backstage is an inferno.

Stay tuned for my review tomorrow (9/30).  Without further ado, I will turn it over to Heather Rigaud.

Hi Serena,

Your name reminds me of Venice, which has always been known as the ‘Serene Republic‘ or ‘Serenissima’. Its history is a special interest of mine.

Anyway, you’ve asked me about my writing space. That means I need to do some cleaning, before we get to pictures.

There we go. Now, I have to admit, my writing area sounds a whole lot better than it looks. Its tucked into a corner of my living room, and my living room, like the rest of my house, is the home of a very active family. It’s a place where things happen and so consequently its not going to look like a showroom. That’s not to say it’s covered in filth, not by any means. But it means things are out. There are books everywhere, there are papers in the midst of being worked on are on many of the surfaces. There are knitting projects, sewing projects, soapmaking projects, … you get the idea.

Heather's Writing Desk

The other thing you’ll notice is that it’s a pretty uninteresting corner. There’s no art on the walls, there’s no window. That’s by design, because I’m easily distracted. I need someplace not stimulating to be able to work on the stuff in my head. And that’s what writing really is. By the same token, I really prefer to be alone when I’m writing, so most of my work happens when my sons are at school.

Now that I’ve made all my excuses, let’s talk about the good stuff- the desk. When my husband and I were freshly married and furnishing our home, we looked at the desks that were available new. Frankly, we weren’t impressed. For what they cost, the quality was very poor and they were, sorry-there’s no other word, ugly. We just couldn’t bring ourselves to spend that much money on something poorly made that looked like it wouldn’t last a year.

We were both fans of the classic roll-top desk style, so we hit on the idea of buying an old desk-an antique. And we found one. It was solid, made from oak, and the price was right. It will never be on Antiques Roadshow. It doesn’t have a fancy provenance or anything. It’s just a good desk, so it came home with us and it’s been my writing station for years.

We even found a matching rolling chair, in the same color and style to go with it. I’d include a picture, but the seat is caned and needs to be replaced. (We’ve already done that twice, so frankly, it’s not high on our priority list.)

What you can’t see in a picture is my music. I might not tolerate visual distractions, but I love audio ones. When I’m writing, I’ll often set up a specific songlist for the chapter I’m working on. It helps me get into the head-space I’m seeking, and in Fitzwilliam Darcy Rock Star, was usually included in the chapter. It’s not just Rock music, either. I use classical, Celtic, Jazz and other styles as well.

My computer is an Apple MacBook. We’ve been Apple fans since the 80’s and while it’s an expensive love affair, I don’t see it ending any time soon. I write directly into my computer, instead of hand writing it on paper and then typing it in, as my handwriting is more of a hindrance than a help. Plus, I’m way faster at typing. I have noticed that while I’ll surf the internet in any location and in any position, when I’m writing, I need to be sitting up straight in a hard chair. I don’t know if it’s a hold over from my school days or what, but doing work calls for a work posture for me.

That’s my work environment. I wish I had a prettier place for the pictures at least, but I don’t believe it would help my writing and it might actually hurt it. Thanks for having me here today and thanks for reviewing my book. I’m looking forward to hearing from your readers.

Thanks, Heather, for sharing your writing space with us, but we wouldn’t have minded the mess.

  • Love this post. Interesting that Heather Lynn has no visual distractions, but can and loves to write with music. I can’t have any noise or sounds at all. In fact, the quiet requirement is a draw-back when I’m trying to write in coffee shops–so many of them really crank those tunes. But I guess that’s why God (smart gal that she is) invented ear plus. Nice post. Thank you.

  • Dawn – She Is Too Fond of Books

    Oh, I’ve always wanted a roll-top desk …. all those cubbies to fill with trinkets and secrets! I totally understand what she writes about distraction – smart to have to art on the walls or knick-knacks to take her out of writing mode.

  • Great post. I love to see where others write. I’m the same way Heather. My blogging space isn’t fancy but it’s comfortable and works for me. I love your desk! It’s beautiful. As for distractions, I’m easily distracted too. I sit by a window and find myself looking outside more than working. Lol.

  • From most of the writers I know, I’d say it’s a 50-50 split between longhand vs. computer. It all depends on how your brain works. Getting the story in your head into words and then on a page with all the spelling and grammar is a pretty complex task with lots of different skills. So for some people that’s going to be better longhand and some for typing.

    Personally, I have a bit of dysgraphia, so longhand really just isn’t an option for me.

  • I’m glad she mentioned her computer because I was beginning to think she wrote in longhand.

    • I write long hand…LOL I wonder if writing is easier on a computer

  • I dream of someday having a roll-top desk!

    • I’ve always wanted a flat glass desk with a wide surface to hold many projects at once.

    • Anna: Antique shops. Seriously. The rolltop style was very big in the early twentith century and they were used in many offices. So if you want something to work on, and not be “work of art”, they’re pretty easy to come by and not super-expensive.

  • Beth Hoffman

    I think it’s fascinating to visit other author’s writing spaces. I wish I could listen to music, yet I need total quiet.

    • I find that music helps on some occasions…but other times I need quiet.

      • About the only time I turn off the music is if I’m writing some very dialog heavy, like a fight. Otherwise, I’m all about the noise. 😀

        • I’d love to know why types of music.

          • Serena: That varies tremendously. I’m a big itunes fan and I have different songlists for different tasks. My go-to list is the current music that I’m interested in, which will include new songs/albums as well as old favorites. That’s almost always rock, alternative and lite-punk (Blink-182), there’s some classic instrumental Jazz in there (big band and swing) as well as metal and R&B.

            I’m also very easily inspired by what’s going on around me, musically and will frequently find that influences what I’m hearing. As an exmple, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame just listed this years nominees for induction, and I’ve been going through that list. (Which is fasinating, btw)

            On occasion, if I’m writing a especially loaded emtional scene, I’ll chose some particular songs, and just let them repeat over and over as I’m working. This helps me get into the frame of mind for what I’m trying to express. It also helps me disconnect when I’m done writing so I’m not letting emotions from my story bleed into my relationship with my family. Just because Lizzy & Darcy are fighting doesn’t mean I should start storming around my husband. lol!