I was introduced to the Little House on the Prairie series written by Laura Ingalls Wilder when I was about eight years old. The characters and their adventures captured my imagination—and my love affair with books began.
This adoration for books, especially the mystery, thriller, and romance genres, cultivated my passion for writing. I knew early on that I wanted what my favorite authors had—the opportunity to let your imagination flow, capturing the ideas onto paper with the hopes of crafting a page-turning adventure to mesmerize readers.
Sounded simple enough, but instead I followed my second-choice career of business school as I didn’t want to starve as my guidance counselors warned I would if I pursued a writing career. My writing waned rather quickly. Though I still kept a journal, I didn’t write nearly often enough to feed my muse.
Once my husband and I began raising our eight kids (now ages 6-19), along with two dogs, my life was one big combination of tireless wonder, delightful chaos, and, in all honesty, slap-happy exhaustion. The only thing I was writing were notes to myself like: Cheryl, don’t lose your mind!
While my kids were very young, I was inundated with diapers, spit-up, and sleepless nights. At the same time, I was enraptured by many sweet moments that I would never have known if I weren’t a mother.
I put my reading and writing needs on hold. How I wish I had just grabbed a book of interest and read a measly 15 minutes every other day—at least I would’ve been keeping my dreams alive. What better escape from a day of cranky kids than a racy love story where the heroine didn’t have to worry about the drudgery of vacuuming the dust from behind her fridge, but instead she could pretend to be her lover’s French maid with the focus of buttering his hot croissants! Oui, oui!
I wish I had had a reading and writing nook then as I do now. I call it my Writer’s Crate, symbolic of the crates that both Kate’s family and mine have used to train our dogs when they were puppies. These crates were safe havens for our precious dogs, and that basic need of staying contained when there are too many distractions around is exactly why Kate and I created our blog. Our unique writing spaces keep us grounded and on track so we can meet our individual writing goals and deadlines.
My writing space is a cozy nook in the dining room. I have computer armoire that I washed with a pale turquoise stain. The dining room walls are a soft yellow so the combination reminds me of the tropics which always lightens my mood when I want to get creative.
My Writer's Crate is easily accessible because I can open and close the doors anytime I have a few quick seconds or, even better, an hour or two to sit and write, write, write!
Inside my armoire, I have a laptop, writing journals, and a framed vision board with some favorite quotes and photos that inspire me whenever I’m feeling stuck. This space is sacred to me--a place where I can nourish my creativity.
I also have three bookshelves close by that house my favorite writing books and novels by authors I admire and enjoy. A copy of my first book, Pregnant Women Don’t Eat Cabbage, is close at hand, too, as a reminder that, even with my crazy life as the mom of eight kids, there is always time to feed the muse and write!
Though I never refuse an opportunity to visit my Writer’s Crate, recently I implemented a regular writing routine. I awaken an hour before the rest of my family so that I can enjoy the peace and quiet of each new day alone with my thoughts.