Writing Exercise #7/Conference Challenge #3: Your Dream Space

Yes, this is a Conference Challenge. And yes, today is Friday, not Thursday in some alternate universe. So before you pick up the phone and call NASA to tell them that meteor knocked us into a solar system that does not allow for the Gregorian Calendar (Did you know that is the name of the one we use? I didn’t. Thank you Google!), please accept my sincere apologies for being late.

Last night I watched one of my favorite movies, Under the Tuscan Sun.


For those of you who haven’t seen it, here’s what Netflix has to say: “After divorcing her cheating husband, Frances Mayes tries to overcome her depression and writer’s block by taking a vacation to Tuscany. Charmed by the location, she impulsively decides to buy a villa there.” Now that’s a lovely way to battle writer’s block! Well, except for the cheating husband and divorce part. Who wouldn’t want to escape to Italy and immerse herself or himself in their art?

There are a lot of great quotes in it, but the one I like the most is definitely “Terrible idea… Don’t you just love those?”  I suppose it can mean different things to different people. To me it’s all about taking a leap of faith, delving into the unknown and taking that risk that could either result in an amazing treasure or force me to “drive myself off of a cliff,” as Frances said right before she took the plunge and put all her savings into purchasing Bramasole.

About sums up being a writer or illustrator, don’t you think?

That said, we still need our safe place, our haven to dig deep, create and, in all likelihood, bleed a little. Everyone has their dream writing space. Some have fulfilled that dream; others are still working towards it.

What’s yours?


Writing Exercise #7/Conference Challenge #3

Describe your dream writing space, the ideal place for you to create. And don’t just tell about the furniture and the color of the walls. Make the reader want to go there. Make it their dream, if only for a moment – just like Under the Tuscan Sun makes us want to drop everything, fly to Italy and write. It’s more than vivid description. It’s a feeling

Illustrating Exercise #7/Conference Challenge #3

In whatever medium you choose, illustrate your dream workspace. Make it so whomever sets eyes on it wants to crawl right into your picture and escape there…or at least say “I have to have this room for my own!”

Happy writing and illustrating!!


(from tuscantraveler.com)

Don’t forget to do the other challenges. A writer’s goodie basket  is at stake!

Conference Challenge #1

Conference Challenge #2

About Susan Mannix

Susan worked as a biomedical research editor for the Department of the Navy for fourteen years and has been a member of SCBWI since 2007. She writes young adult and middle grade novels. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time doing all things horses, including attending her teenaged daughters’ many competitions. Susan lives in Maryland on a small farm with her husband, two children, an adorable black lab, two cats, and three horses.
This entry was posted in Writing & Drawing Exercises. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Writing Exercise #7/Conference Challenge #3: Your Dream Space

  1. Sue Poduska says:

    I lean back in my comfy desk chair and close my eyes. The filtered sunshine gently warms my face while I listen to my music. This morning, it’s a bouncy blues rhythm. It’s not loud enough to drown out the song of my favorite mockingbird. Later, I might choose a Beethoven symphony or even a Verdi opera. I can smell the mums I’ve set by the window. The view is an ever-changing vista. Everything I need is within easy reach. The keyboard, printer, paper, files, dictionary, and thesaurus. The wall behind me is lined with bookshelves containing a copy of every book I ever loved. There is an even comfier chair in the corner, where I can revisit those wonderful volumes, wrapped in my favorite afghan.

  2. I was just going to write that I did this, but since Sue was brave, I will be too:

    The smell is what makes it special. Lavendar, sage, and a little lilac or privet depending on the time of year. All of that combines with the spicy smell of sappy wood in the hot sun. There’s a lot of sun in the converted garden shed I call my studio, even in winter. A skylight in the roof floods the cottage with warmth and light.

    The walls, where you can see them, are painted a light sage green, but two entire walls are almost entirely covered. Whenever I read something that strikes me–a turn of phrase I particularly love, or an inspirational thought–I take and index card and write it down so that, as David Sedaris says, I can know what excellent writing feels like. Then I tack it up. Postcards of artists’ work I love add color to the walls of handwriting. The uniformity of the white map pins and peacock blue block letters create a texture that’s really quite soothing when taken as a whole, and, like all good art, rewards the person who slows down to take a closer look.

  3. Jenny Sokol says:

    Wind howls outside the window of the tiny log cabin, blowing the snow sideways. I toss another log into the wood-burning stove and another marshmallow into my mug of hot chocolate. Settling into the couch, it dawns on me that the snow plows won’t make it up here for days. I smile, open my laptop, and begin to type.

  4. Miranda McClain says:

    My writer’s nook is a little cottage built just behind our house where I can slip away from the chaos but not be too far. I can lie on my porch swing I’ve repurposed from a pallet on warm days and watch the birds, or the sunlight reflected from the glass chandelier that hangs above. I take refuge inside when it’s chilly. There are two rooms inside, one an art studio for when I feel like getting messy, the other simply “my room.” The walls are painted a light aquamarine color and there is a wicker chair by the window with gauzy curtains. A full sized wrought iron framed bed takes up a good bit of the room. On it is a rainbow hued quilt. Against one wall is an old bookcase full of old friends. My desk is small but not too cluttered with an antique desk chair. On the walls are prints of favorite illustrations. Hanging from the ceiling is a chandelier made from book pages. Though I have never really been there, I have pictured this room in every detail in my mind for a long time. Maybe I’ll build it one day with the profits from my first best seller;o)

  5. Sarah M says:

    With my journal in hand, I trek down the well-worn path away from the joyful clamor of a full house. As the shouts of laughter, and sometimes tears, blend then disappear within the melody of the soft wind and sweet refrain of the forest chorus, I find the wispy limbs and strong trunk of my favorite willow. My handmade quilt sewn from everyday memories is still warm from swaying on the line in the streaming sun. On the cold stone bench, I rest my jug of sun-kissed sweet tea in a cooler of ice and let my pencil fly with abandon in hopes of capturing the words before they slip away on the breeze.

  6. Catching up on the conference writing challenges:

    My dream writing space changes from moment to moment. My description reflects that.

    I sit on the rocks and listen to the waves crashing along the shore. The first rays of the late-morning sun break through the thick fog and warm my shoulders. I take a deep breath, savoring the salty tang of the sea air, and wiggle my toes into the cold, wet sand as I pick up my trusty spiral notebook and a sharpened story pencil. The characters flow from my pencil onto the paper. I grin as I imagine her shy smile and his cocky swagger.

    As the blazing sun burns away the last traces of the morning mist, I set my notebook aside, tuck my pencil behind my ear, and stroll barefoot along the beach. The waves lap at my ankles and tickle my toes, and the ocean breezes carry a promise of exotic destinations beyond the sea….

    (continued on my website: http://vbartles.com/stories10.htm)

  7. Pingback: Conference Challenge #8: Preparing for a successful conference! | As the Eraser Burns

  8. Pingback: Writing Exercise #12: Quote it up | As the Eraser Burns

Leave a Reply to Sue Poduska Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.