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Just for Fun

Author Veronica Bartles, juggling all the things


In preparation for the SCBWI MD/DE/WV spring writer's conference (March 22-23, 2013), the lovely ladies at the As The Eraser Burns blog are posting weekly writing challenges for us, and as always, I'm determined to complete each of the 8 conference challenges.

The third challenge: 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.


My dream writing space changes from moment to moment, depending on where I am in my story. For optimum creativity, I can’t sit in the same place every time I sit to write. My description reflects my need for change.

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.

I reclaim my idea notebook and transport to a forest, high in the mountains. Sunlight filters through a thick canopy of leaves, highlighting a moss-covered log. I settle into a curved space on the log and open my notebook. Birds trill in the treetops and chipmunks chitter along with the rustling leaves. I inhale the sweet scent of pine and wildflowers as I put pencil to paper once again. The story unfolds effortlessly, page after page. And as the sun sets behind the mountaintops, I stand and stretch my limbs.

I transport once more. Arriving at home, I settle into my cozy writing corner in my bedroom. I snuggle into my massage chair, wrapped in a fuzzy, pink blanket, and pull out my laptop. I type up the words I’ve scrawled in my story notebook, editing and revising the tale as I go. The first draft complete, I close my eyes and relax.

Soon, I’ll begin revisions and a whole new journey.


Challenge #6 was to draw a map and create a world. I always hate the "draw a picture" challenges. As I've always said, I write because I have a very creative mind, but not an ounce of creative talent in my hands. But I couldn't say no to a pre-conference challenge, so I drew a map of my "Dream Writing Space." (It looks nothing like the beautiful space I see when I close my eyes, but I hope that in posting it here, juxtaposed with my description, you'll be able to imagine the "reality."

SCBWI MD / DE / WV pre-conference writing challenge



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