10 January 2012

Garret Tour Tuesday: Sarah Allen

Sarah Allen is the first writer I met in the blogosphere. She left a comment on one of my posts, so I emailed her to ask how she'd found my blog. She had found me through a comment I had left on a blog post by Amanda Hocking. Through Sarah, I got involved in the April A-Z Challenge which ultimately led me to meet many more writers who blog.

Sarah Allen is a 23-year-old Utah native who has recently graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English. Check out Sarah's bio for her full story.

And like many of us early-twenties English-degree-holding writers, she shares a house with a couple of roommates and therefore does not have the luxury to dedicate an entire room for a writing space. But she's portioned out space with her desk at the foot of her bed, as you can see in the picture.

Sarah Allen's writing space. See the desk portioning part of the room out, and the awesome artwork on the walls.
But Sarah actually likes having all of her various "spaces" in the same room.
"It's cozy and arranged just the way I like it. I can sit at my desk and crank stuff out when I'm feeling productive, or sit on the bed and work slowly and lazily if I'm not. Since I read and write and watch movies and sometimes eat in the same room it is kind of a hodgepodge place of random movies and unfolded laundry and tv shows with friends and my overcrowded bookshelf and a cool windowsill and sometimes the chaos results in something creative."

Sarah teaches in the afternoons so, although she never before considered herself a morning person, she has discovered to her surprise that she writes best in the morning.
"Typically I wake up and start writing before I even eat breakfast or check email. I can sometimes get 500 or 600 words done that way, and then I have to start getting ready for the day and work on other stuff. I'm training myself to crack down on writing in the evenings too, but my motivation tends to ebb as the day goes on."

Sarah realized mornings are so productive for her because she has set aside the time intentionally for writing. So she's now doing the same thing in the evenings. But since the evenings are more difficult, what with more random obligations and distractions of the day, she changes her environment to send cues to herself that it is time to write.
"I shut the bedroom door, turn off the internet and turn on classical music. Then I know it's Writing Time, and not time to do anything else."

Finally, I asked Sarah if she needs to be alone when she writes or if she prefers to be around other people. She said that she has found that her most productive writing is when she is alone, not around roommates or friends: those situations are too easily distracting.
"However, I've been wanting to experiment with bringing my laptop to the Barnes and Noble's cafe and seeing how that goes. I may try it sometime."

Thanks for sharing, Sarah! If you haven't checked out Sarah's blog, go ahead and pop over there: she posts practically every day on From Sarah, With Joy and is probably the most upbeat person I know.

At the moment, Sarah's short story "Gabby" is available free -- go check that out to read some of Sarah's work. "Gabby" is part of a short story anthology Sarah is working on: "Shoes and Socks and Other Stories." So now you have seen the set of the Writing of "Shoes and Socks and Other Stories."

Now You!
I was surprised Sarah can use her bedroom effectively as a writing space. Perhaps I should try some of Sarah's ideas like waking up early to write a few hundred words, and changing the environment to send "writing time" cues to myself. Do any of Sarah's methods appeal to you?