Welcome to another installment of TNBBC's Where Writers Write!
Where Writers Write is a series in which authors 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 Nicole Rivas.
Nicole is from Los Angeles and the Inland Empire. She earned a B.A. in English from California State University, San Bernardino and an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Alabama, and now lives in Savannah, GA, where she teaches college English at Georgia State University. Her prose has been published in The Journal, Passages North, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. She can be found at www.nicolemrivas.com.
Where Nicole Rivas Writes
I sometimes envy writers who have clearly-defined workspaces and production schedules. I never have, though I suppose I enjoy it that way. Some weeks, the only things I write are grocery lists or uninspired text messages. And you're more likely to find me writing lying belly-down on a soft surface than sitting at a proper work station. Still, my desk at home contains some writerly essentials, like a printer, a typewriter (which I rarely use for fiction and more for spur-of-the-moment letters or postcards), and loads of pens and pencils that I like to use for marking up drafts of stories. My desk is also the home of my beloved Djungarian hamster, Cavo.
Writing and revision can be a daunting task, so it's nice to have a friendly rodent in the vicinity when I'm sitting down to work. Plus, I'm a writer who needs the room to be relatively quiet when I eke out sentences, so having a tiny, mostly-nocturnal creature around is up my alley. (Only occasionally do I have to oil that squeaky hamster wheel.) I also like to write by windows when possible--both for the sunlight and for viewing the interesting activity of passerby, both human and otherwise. I live across the street from a popular burger joint in Savannah, Georgia, so when I feel like observing a bit more vivacity, I simply open the blinds. It's much better than T.V.
But again, a desk isn't always my thing. In fact, it's probably not even my thing 50% of the time. A lot of my prose writing takes place in my living room using a combination of the couch and coffee table. I found this bean-shaped table on Facebook Marketplace, and I love that it has two surface areas. When I'm working on a large project, I can spread my laptop, books, notes, and whatever else on its two levels and have plenty of space to create, research, and revise with my feet up.
One thing that you'll always find on my coffee table or desk is a notepad and a Timex watch. If I have any sort of writing regimen at all, it's supported by these two objects. They give me a greater sense of place, grounding, and focus than most other objects. I use the notepad for my daily to-do lists, and also as a place to jot down notes about books I'm reading or ideas I have. (I admit, it's not the best organizational method, but it keeps me productive.) The Timex is for compelling me to write. While I don't have a set schedule for writing each day, I do press myself to write something when I have the time, usually for 30 minutes. Running the chronograph setting on this wristwatch makes the task feel achievable, and with my two cozy writing setups, I'm usually able to write well-past my goal time.