Friday, October 12, 2012

UNDER CONSTRUCTION ... A WRITER'S SANCTUARY ...

Happy Friday All,

Well, Autumn is in full bloom here in Chicago. The trees are ALIVE with THE most brilliant of reds, golds and oranges. It's crisp and clear and all I want to do is go out and play in the leaves .... Ah, to bit a kid again and make a big pile, rev up the keds sneaks and run like hell leaping. I can still smell the damp leaves now as I am writing this post.

But today I am here, at home. Trapped. BUT for an excellent cause. My new writing/illustrating studio is being created as we speak. For years, I've wanted/needed a space to call my own, but as we all know, especially us city dwellers that space is at a premium. It's not like I can add a room ... wishful thinking. BUT I could recreate the space I have.

When I bought this condo, the major factor in my decision was that it featured a HUGE, and I mean, Huge living room. Back then I wanted an elaborate French Salon style room. It features five windows overlooking Lincoln Park and in the distance downtown Chicago. Gorgeous view. So I managed to pull it off, silk drapes, oversized STUFFED down sofa's, antiques galore(Thanks to my great uncle), and the ultimate hand-made Pakistan rug. It cost a fortune, needless to say, but I had to have a stunning space to attract the right cliental for my Interior Design business.

IT worked. I had invited many of the residents in my building and managed to start work right away. This was back in 2004 when real estate was BOOMING and everyone wanted their spaces remodeled with the highest end finishes. I was MORE that happy to oblige.

Then the unthinkable happened in the fall of 2008 .... I cringe at the thought. A major economic collapse and I had just invested over 60,000 dollars in my kitchen remodel. Two of my scheduled clients pulled out of their contracts. NO one was using a designer. Contractors were scrounging for work and only wanted free advise from me .... HA. So what was I do to.... FREAK of course! Thankfully I had savings but I still needed to do SOMETHING with my time. I was going NUTS. When you are so used to be INSANELY busy and then all of a sudden you have all this time. What do you do?

Well, my answer was WRITE! Yes, that is when I began my first fantasy novel. I had planned to write and illustrate a monumental Harry Potter like story, but instead of magic I went for the elementals. I penned out a story in three months. 125, 000 words for a middle grade novel. I hear you ALL laughing now. It was quite the accomplishment, don't you think? I was so proud and ready to sell my fantastic story..... again, I hear the laughter. When I think back ..... What was I thinking? A dream never-the-less.

A few months later, a friend told me about the ABNA contest, so naturally I entered with great hope. I created the pitch and MIRACULOUSLY I got through the first round. YAY! Waiting, oh-so-patiently to see my name listed on round two ..... I was stamped out! Crushed by my reviews (one critique called my writing amateur ... well, HELLO ... it was!) But I was highly offended and a new writing friend offered to help me with grammar and structure.... BOY DID I EVER NEED IT! She also introduced me to the blogosphere.... I will ALWAYS be grateful for that.

And now three years later, I have hundreds of blogger friends, who I ADORE and respect so much. What would I have ever done without all of you?

So, here I am writing, waiting patiently for the workers to finish my new space. If you haven't guessed by now I decided to take my huge living room and create two rooms. One living room and one stunning space for me to work in. I will have my very own space with four window facing southeast, the park, pond, and downtown. Talk about inspiration. No longer will I have a formal space, but now a casual, clean contemporary space. Gone are the overstuffed sofas to be replaced by low profile linen ones. In comes the large screened TV I SWORE I would NEVER have in my living room.  Funny how our tastes and needs change.

I will post pics of the new space .... It will be, of course, up to my high design standards even though it will be modern and much less grand. Been there, done that. I need function. My design business is FINALLY picking up a bit again and I have lots of stories to write and illustrate.

How about you? Do you have THE perfect space to create in or were you like me and write on the sofa, or in bed or at the kitchen table?(That's where I wrote my first novel all 125,000 plus words... Still having a good laugh on that one...)

Let me know where you write ....

So now I will leave you to enjoy your Friday and I hope you all have GRAND plans for the weekend. I will be painting my French door and closet door for the contractors to install on Monday .... But today I am inside and hope to work on editing....

Here is a pic I took of the skyline the other day.... isn't it gorgeous?!






HAVE AN AWESOME WEEKEND EVERYONE.

35 comments:

  1. Michael, glad you're finally getting your writing space! (And all anyone wanted was free advice? But of course!)
    I write in my office, which I guess could be called the man cave. Stereo, big screen TV, and lots of movie posters. It's comfortable!

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  2. It is a wonderful picture. That was a great story to tell. My writing space is at my computer- second living room- and if I have a notebook- anywhere I fancy at the time. LOL
    Thanks for posting!

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  3. So happy that things are going your way and that you are finally getting your space. I am still waiting for a closet to hang my clothes in, let alone my own writing space. One day...Dreams are great!

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  4. Having a good space to work is important! I'm glad you're finally getting yours the way you want it. Have a great weekend!

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  5. When we moved to our most recent place (downsizing from a big house), I wanted a writing space, so the Study was created (I call it the Garret, so I can imagine it's in Paris).

    I have a proper desk, but for a few years I used the dining room table for writing. It had a great view of our treed backyard.

    No tv in my space for writing. I do have a BOSE which helps me enjoy my choice of music.

    Good luck with your reno. Hope you'll share the pix.

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  6. I tend to prefer functional to plush. I had no idea I was fashionable.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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  7. You have an amazing view. I'm so glad to hear the design business is picking up again. It's very hard to switch gears from busy to stand still.

    I swore I would NEVER use absolutely everything I've used to decorate my house! Ha. That's what happens when you have kids.

    The Husband still laughs at how I used to have my perfect white, Christmas lights and my Victorian Christmas tree with all antique or custom, hand-made Dresden ornaments. Now, it's like Charlie Brown Christmas all the way. Sigh. But the kids are happy, so that, makes me happy now too.

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  8. I'm glad you're getting a writing space together, and I can't wait to see photos! :D

    You would cringe at my workspace. I sold my bed to fit a big, L-shaped desk in here. Now I sleep on a pull-out. Ah, the life of a writer... *grins*

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  9. I'm finally getting back to reading up on everyone I follow in Blog-land...busy summer!! So, you are reinventing your space and it sounds amazing! What a beautiful view you are fortunate enough to have! Please post some pics of your previous big plush living room and the new writing room now in the space...
    I built my dream art studio over four years ago after decades of working in corners of bedrooms, or kitchens, or dining rooms, or end of the living room couch, or damp basement, tiny attic, whatever...I have 500 sq ft and a loft...big windows, bathroom, kitchenette area, and a well lit gallery viewing area. Plus it is on our two acres situated on a forested mountain (lower area) and only 5 km from the ocean...a little piece of paradise, even if does rain about 8 months of the year:-)

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  10. That. Is. Your. View?!?!?!

    *dies*

    It's gorgeous. And so inspiring. I would *feel* like an author with that view---living in the city, especially at this time of year. Magic!

    Me? I need a window to write--and I do on our couch by the window that overlooks our backyard. Behind us is total landscape--mountains. It is lovely, though it took me a couple of years to get used to the quiet :)

    What's funny is you could run CIRCLES around me with design or anything related--I've got creativity, but not that kind in the least! I bet your home is gorgeous! Fun post, Michael!

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  11. Wow. Beautiful skyline!! I'm envious. I write on my bed with my laptop, but I like it. It's comfy. haha.

    And, I'm not even going to embarrass myself by telling you how long my first YA novel was. All I'll say is that it makes 125,000 look like a walk in the park. I wanted to write an epic tome and I never bothered looking up wordcount, I just figured I'd make it around 800 pages like my favorite HP books. haha. Crazy to think I was ever quite that uninformed.

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  12. I can't wait to see what you've done. Looking through your projects is like taking a stroll through the pages of Architectural Digest or some of the design magazines we have here in Utah featuring modern homes. I have learned that "taste" is something you either have or you don't. Just because someone is rich doesn't mean they have "taste." And you, my friend, have amazing taste.

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  13. That sounds awesome, Michael - can't wait to see the photos! I love looking at before and after photos.
    And a room of one's own to write in... I might get a bit more work done if I had that.
    Loving the fall colours :-)

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  14. can't wait to see pics of the new space. I'll be horribly jealous, of course.

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  15. Lovely picture, and I can just imagine your new space, but can't wait to see the photo's. I write on a lap top and my favorite place is the sun porch. I like the view, green trees, not as beautiful as yours but it will do. Then there is the living room, UGH unless I'm alone then I pretend.
    Thanks for sharing your journey. It kinda sounds similar, we writers, we think all we have to do is tell a good story and folks will read. Oh gosh, are we wrong, there are so many steps before it even gets to a reader!

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  16. 125k? Pfft. I broke it up into a trilogy afterwards, but I almost ended up with 200k+ words constituting my first novel. LOL.

    Beautiful skyline!

    Looking forward to seeing the pictures of your new space.

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  17. Leaf jumping needs to be a national Fall Sport. I'd watch it...NO! I would compete!

    Your first novel writing sounds like me...mine was about 30,000 words though...or less. And I thought I'd be famous over night. First writing dreams, got to love them.

    Having a writing space is nice. Mine is my bedroom. I've always thought an office type thing would be fun, but I love bedrooms. And mine is all...decked out in a way I find inspiring. So...even though I write on my bed, it works. 8-D

    I am glad you are getting a nice space! That is exciting! Oh, and I LOVE your view!!! (This from the girl who vowed to never like cities.)

    Allons-y!

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  18. Hope your new space is awash in creative energy.

    One nice thing about being an empty-nester...lots of space. I took over one of my son's rooms and made it an office.

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  19. loved learning a little bit about you.

    wishing your creative space to be full of good things for you.

    blessings......

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  20. loved learning a little bit about you.

    wishing your creative space to be full of good things for you.

    blessings......

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  21. Wow, what a view..! You know what? After reading your post i feel i know you a little now. I wish, you soon publish your own book and stun the world.
    My husband has his own Interior designing business here in Kolkata, India. That is why I could so very well relate to your post. Bye and enjoy your new space. usually, I write in my bedroom :D

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  22. I would love to have that skyline outside my window. My "office", which doubles as a guest bedroom, doesn't even have a window. Well, it does have french doors that open to the back yard, and since we grew that yard from nothing but dirt and dog poop, its a beautiful sight. Especially when I walk out there barefoot and feel the warm grass.

    125k at least gives you lots of story options for revision; make a sequel, decide what the overall story is; create some short stories adventures for promotions. 125k is an awesome amount of writing. Give yourself permission to be proud of your accomplishment :)

    I can't wait to see how you make your new cozy space reflect your personality and specific needs. And I'm glad your business is picking up.

    You have an awesome weekend Michael.

    ......dhole

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  23. What a view! I write in my little bedroom at the back of the house. I don't have a view because I get distracted. I need to write with no distractions, other than Free Cell LOL. I'm terrible, I know. :)

    I hope we get together again very soon. I thoroughly enjoyed myself last time.

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  24. I long for a woman cave, Alex's done to suit me. My life is split between an apartment right in the inner city where I do have a lovely view, but the office is open which is the worst thing, so I walk across the bridge to the State Library (where I also teach at night) and do most of my writing on my little netbook there. When I'm at the beach house I have a little office nook in the main bedroom, but do most of my writing on the deck overlooking the ocean (which is exactly where I am now. Beautiful day, twinkling blue water, swaying palm trees...see, it's not ideal. I'm so easily distracted.) In time...and in time your novel will sell...

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  25. The fall colors are amazing aren't they? Simply inspiring! I don't have much space at all- but there is simply no space or money to do anything with the corner I call my own. Cheers Michael!

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  26. Listening to St. Agnes And The Burning Tree by Sting as I write this. Maybe Sting will someday play a tune of Amber and the Whispering Willows. We can only hope.

    Glad that things are beginning to work out for you. My internet provider has been going on and off line, keeping me in cyber-limbo which is why I am just now saying HI and thanks for remembering my birthday! Roland

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  27. This is a heart-warming post, and your place sounds fantastic..the view is to die for!

    Best wishes for the writing and the room.

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  28. Stunning skyline view, Michael.
    I write on the bed, on the couch, at the dining table, on the deck... you know the saying: wherever I lay my hat, that's my home? Well, wherever I lay my pen, that's my writing space of the moment...

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  29. Looking forward to the photos! My laptop is my writing space, so I'm portable; someday I'd like a corner with a view...

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  30. Hey, I remember that ABNA friend! Is she still around? ;) Glad you're getting your space and good luck in everything you do with it!
    erica

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  31. It's great to see you've kept your sense of humor during the ups and downs we've all gone through recently. Your new space sounds wonderful (but so did the old one! lol).
    Can't wait for the pics. Keep safe and enjoy Fall before those nasty winter winds come a-blowing. :-)

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  32. Congratulations on finally creating your writing space! I am right now too, after writing for over half my life at the kitchen table, finally I am getting my office. I'll be sure to post pictures of mine and I look forward to seeing yours!

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  33. sounds like a lovely condo, Michael, when can I move in? :PPP

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  34. I love Chicago. A condo, there? Now that's what I'm talking about! Glad you have your space and that your work is ever growing. :)

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  35. Can't wait to see your pics! A writing space is important, at least for me too. I remodeled my office two years ago but it does not have nearly the cool views as yours. :)

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