A Writers Retreat On A Budget

I’m lucky enough to stay home all day with the kiddos and write. But my office is currently in my bedroom. Hubby and the kids leave for school and work and head down the hall to my bedroom. Sure, I have some really productive days. But I have more days that are filled with distractions like laundry, keeping the dog busy (she can’t throw her Frisbee herself), trips to the kitchen for more coffee…you get the picture.

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Now we’re also lucky enough to have a huge storage shed in our backyard. Up until recently it was filled to the rafters with junk. But a couple of trips to the dump have taken care of most of that. It’s a few steps from the deck. It has four walls, a roof and a door. It is… perfect. Okay, not move-in perfect. The fluorescent lights burned out long ago. It would need insulation if I’m going to use it year-round. A new paint job on the outside. A massive cleaning job on the inside — I refuse to share my new workspace with spiders! And, not that I’ll see it from where I am working, some pretty new landscaping in front.

Here’s what it looks like right now (okay, a few years ago and a LOT more moss on the roof at present) There really IS a window, btw. On the left hand wall:

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So I’m reading up on tutorials on how to install insulation and drywall. I am woman, hear me roar, right? 😉 No reason why I can’t do this on my own. Throw a rug down on the cement floor, drag my desk and printer table in, cover the walls with the kids’ artwork (it’s not a proper workspace without it) and voila! New home office.

Now, to make this the perfect writing retreat, it has to set the mood before you even step inside. I’d love a pathway from the deck right up to the front door. Flagstone or something that won’t interfere with mowing the lawn on either side of it. And flowering shrubs. Something to break up the monotony of the (mildewed) siding. I wonder if hubby will let me paint it pink. Pretty please? Light pink, with brighter pink flowering bushes in the front. A scattering of wildflowers on the ground in front of that. How gorgeous would that be???

As I wait for the weather to warm up (and dry out), I am spending a lot of time on Pinterest, getting ideas. To say I’m excited is a bit of an understatement. I’ve even been to Lowes to check out prices on batting and drywall, see if I can find some decorative trim for the outside and just generally get in the DIY spirit. Too. Much. Fun.

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Okay, if my writing retreat looked like this, I would probably never leave.

 

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Kinda stark, but functional, right?

 

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How super cute is this? With a front porch? Too impractical for my home office, but lovely to look at.

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Hadn’t thought of a birdfeeder, but somehow that seems necessary now, don’t you think? We get some stunning Stellar Jays that visit us in the spring. Now if I could attract butterflies and hummingbirds too…?

pathway

Can’t do the gravel, but I definitely need a path leading up to my workspace. My daily commute. Leaving my personal world behind as I begin to focus on my work day. I like that.

Have any of you made this type of dream a reality? I would LOVE to see photos of your own writing retreat. I’ll post pictures as I get my own space up and functional.

Spring fever — I HAZ IT! 😀

Pinterest – Time Suck or Lifesaver?

I’ll admit when a friend first told me about Pinterest, I didn’t understand the concept. (Which is probably why I haven’t done anything with my Tumblr and Instagram accounts yet.) Pin photos to various boards. Why? Though I’ll admit, going through all the pretty pictures was a lot of fun.

Where else can I tell the world about my love of all things pumpkin spice?

Where else can I tell the world about my love of all things pumpkin spice?

Then I set up boards for Scallop Shores and each of my books as they came out. I started to realize that Pinterest had a very real value for me. I could show people how I view my characters and my fictitious town. It was a way of turning my books into a 3-D reality. It made them…more real. At least that’s what I hoped. I realize every reader is welcome to their own interpretations and that’s great. But if I can show them exactly how I visualized something, that could help immerse them in the book, right?

Downtown Scallop Shores, complete with Civil War monument.

Downtown Scallop Shores, complete with Civil War monument.

 

And what about real life? The family’s got to eat, right? If you’ve read any of my early posts, you know I hate to cook. And when I do cook, it had better be easy or I WILL screw it up. (My mother loved to tell the story of how I once asked her where the “boil” setting on the stove top was.) So Pinterest is invaluable for locating crock pot and other fool-proof recipe ideas.

Hard boiled eggs in the oven – a school lunch staple!

 

Speaking of real life, Pinterest has saved my bacon when it came to school stuff. What to make the teachers for Christmas/Teacher Appreciation Day? What to make for the bake sale my daughter was kind enough to sign me up for? What to bring in for birthdays/last day of school goodies to serve an entire class?

Every teacher gets a scarf for Christmas.

And it is awesome for researching my latest series. I don’t have a board for that. Why? It’s secret. Okay, it’s about fairies and I’m super nervous that people who are used to my small town contemporaries won’t have any interest in a series that is more fantasy/supernatural in theme. Doesn’t mean I won’t write the series. And it doesn’t mean I don’t devour all the pins that really scream to me to be added into a book some day. I’m just not ready to share it with the world.

 

Inspiring, no?

 

Could I lose myself on Pinterest for an unspecified amount of time? Yes. Is it worth it? For the most part. How about you? Are you on Pinterest? What do you use it for the most? I’m always open to new ideas. 🙂 If you want to find me and my eclectic assortment of boards, I’m at: https://www.pinterest.com/mzdecuir/