Jesmyn Ward in her bedroom in Pass Christian, Miss.
“I have a room in my house that will one day be a writing and library space, but right now that room is so disorganised that anyone who sees it must think that I’m developing a hoarding problem. I’m not. I just don’t have bookshelves, or a desk, or file cabinets yet.
But I do have boxes and boxes of books and paper. I don’t understand why the rest of my house is fairly spartan, and yet the room I intend to write in is burdened by everything I need to do one day. There’s the sewing machine I need to take to my grandmother’s house so she can give me lessons. I haven’t taken it out of the box yet. There are at least two bags of clothing that I’ve been intending to take to Goodwill for the last seven months. There are boxes of receipts I’m saving for my taxes.
If this room is reflective of my writing mind, then procrastination is clogging that mind. In addition, the time I have to write is already limited because I have a newborn. This means that I write wherever and whenever I can around my house. I’ve written while sitting on my bed, balancing my computer and my kid on my lap. I’ve written at the dining room table in the breakfast nook. I’ve even written in the bathroom. However, writing in these places poses problems. If I write in my bed, I’m tempted to fall asleep or read or play with my daughter. If I write in the dining room, my family distracts me, or the television does, or suddenly I realise the kitchen needs extensive cleaning because, again, I’m a champion procrastinator with limited time.
I’ve found that I do my best work and the most work when I write in a corner of my bedroom, in a rocking chair, where my bedside table has become, by necessity, a small bookshelf. Somehow, I’m making it work.”
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