Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Where Writers Write: Lynn Sloan

Welcome to another installment of TNBBC's Where Writers Write!


Where Writers Write is a series that features authors as they showcase their writing spaces using short form essay, photos, and/or video. As a lover of books and all of the hard work that goes into creating them, I thought it would be fun to see where the authors roll up their sleeves and make the magic happen. 

This is Lynn Sloan. 

Lynn is a writer and a photographer. She grew up as an Air Force brat, graduated from Northwestern University, earned a master’s degree in photography at The Institute of Design and taught photography at Columbia College Chicago. Her photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally. She has been awarded several Ragdale fellowships, and served for a time as an assistant fiction editor for StoryQuarterly. Her stories have appeared in numerous journals, including American Literary Review, The Literary Review, Nimrod, and Sou’wester, and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Principles of Navigation is her first novel. Her website is

Where Lynn Sloan Writes

I write best at home. Coffee shops are fine, but I like having lots of stuff around me—paper scraps for questions to answer later and to-do lists, Post-it notes, easy access to frequent, free cups of tea.

I like to keep reference books near by. For a quick fact or spell check, I use the Internet, but old dictionaries, old thesauruses, and old usage guides invariably give me interesting and unexpected ideas. A half hour spent chasing down the origins of a word I don’t even use seems like a better use of my time than a half hour catching up on Facebook or the news, which is what I do once I go online.

My workspace was originally a sleeping porch. The cottage I live in was built a hundred years ago. Sometime in the last century the screens were replaced by windows, and the walls were insulated, inadequately. In the winter I must layer up and haul out a portable radiator that smells of oil.

Once someone gave me a book of feng shui. Everything about my workspace is wrong. Sitting at my desk, my back faces the door—an intruder or evil spirits can attack me—and I look out the windows—a drain on energy and focus, but when I’m writing, nothing interrupts my concentration. If someone asks me a question, the words fly past me. I hear, but don’t register, the phone’s ring. If I come to a place in my writing where I’m stumped, I look out the window and find an absorbing diversion—a boy shooting baskets, a teenager across the alley smoking a joint on the roof outside his window, squirrels scurrying along the tree branches, clouds passing. After a few minutes, I’m ready to get back to writing.

1 comment:

  1. I get lost trying to think of a word, too! One time I spent about 30 minutes working with my husband to remember the word "euphemism." Neither of us really needed it (he just wanted to use it in a comment he was making to me). We got caught up trying to describe the definition of the word on Google. Perhaps next time we should stay offline!