Bella, full-time writer, samoa writer, the Hot Man, Writers, writing

Why Writers Need a Cave

Where books are getting written & too many Doritos are getting consumed.
The other day a massive truck delivered a (rather hideous) orange and green box to my yard. My very own, brand new, writing office. A portable rental unit. “Surprise!” said the Hot Man. I can neither confirm nor deny whether I jumped up and down, screamed, did a celebratory dance of excitement on the front lawn with lots of uncool, unrehearsed moves. But the day got even better. We then went to Warehouse, made the most of their office equipment sale and returned with my very own, brand new desk, shelving, filing cabinets and other assorted super-cool writer gear. I then spent the next few hours setting up my office with the enthusiastic assistance of the Fab5.  Bella kept bringing me stuff she thought would add to the writing ambience…a broken necklace to hang on my shelf, her teddy bear, a Dora coloring book ‘for when you get bored’, a bag of half-eaten chips ‘for when you get hungry’… She also kept making emphatic suggestions, “Dada, you need to get a fountain that sticks in the wall and Mama can turn it on and Diet Coke comes out!” ( This child knows me well.) And, “Dada, where is the toilet? Make Mama a toilet so she dont have to walk up the stairs inside the house to go pee. Cos the toilet is so far away she might have a accident.” (Umm, thank you for that helpful thought…I’m sure I can make it to the bathroom just fine…) Indeed the child’s helpfulness was generally driving me nuts and I was just begging for her to please GO AWAY and leave me in my nice new office by MYSELF!
This new (ugly orange box) cave marks a very significant milestone in my writing journey. I am now a bona fide, full-time, professional writer. Writing is not a hobby. Or a guilty pleasure. It is a real job that helps earn money to support my family. I am no longer stealing minutes and hours here and there from housework, childcare and scoping out random pics of SBW. I am not sleepless, writing words in a sleeping house on the quiet side of midnight because now – I go inside my office at 9am and finish work at 5pm. And then I shut the office door and leave my writing behind. The evenings and the weekends now belong with the Fab5 and the Hot Man.
In the past twelve months, I have published three books, gone to book launches in three different countries, signed hundreds of books for awesome readers at fabulous book signing events, been a guest speaker at conferences, workshops, schools and libraries all over the place, stumbled through lots of media interviews, and generally felt like a madwoman trying not to fall off a treadmill that’s going at Usain Bolt speed. It’s been a breathless, frantic twelve months with many highs – most of them because of YOU the fabulous readers and enthusiastic supporters.
But it has also been a breathless, frantic twelve months with many lows. Because my marriage and my children have borne the brunt of most of the crazy schedule that I keep. And they have paid the price for most of the exhausting days and sleepless nights. The Hot Man and I came very, very close to calling it quits on this wild ride called marriage. Some things had to change. My writing cave is more than just a box with beautiful office furniture. It represents a move in my life towards better balance, organization and structure. It makes a clear separation between work and family. It was the bestest surprise present the Hot Man could have given me because, as he asked for more time and attention to be given to family – he at the same time – said, Your writing, your work is important to me, to us. I believe in your dreams and I support them. 
I love my work. Writing is my passion. And I have so many stories waiting to be written, so many characters that are waiting to find their place in a book. And now, I can live in my writing world for eight hours, five days a week. Write the next book in the Telesa Trilogy. And know that my family are okay with it.
Now, if I could just get one of those automatic Child-Freeze ray zap guns so Bella would stop knocking on the door every five minutes….

14 thoughts on “Why Writers Need a Cave”

  1. Congrats on your new writing space Lani! You have achieved so much with your writing. Love that you get to have set 'office hours' for work so that you can spend quality time with your family. Best wishes for your future best-selling books!

  2. Well done. I hope this helps with your dream – your reality now – as a writer.I cannot wait to read more of your work :-)And it is fantastic that you have set boundaries. My writing is partially a guilty pleasure that is frowned upon by my partner and partially something that has possibilities which is supported by my partner while I currently have no job.It's a fine line and balancing it is difficult when I could easily read and write all day long. Your husband has been very courageous to support your dream and obviously loves you a lot – you are a lucky woman!

  3. AWESOME Lani!! Toally lovin what you said "he asked for more time and attention to be given to family – he at the same time – said, Your writing, your work is important to me, to us. I believe in your dreams and I support them." That is the prefect man right there! Hard to find such a supportive man, seems we have both been fortunate in that department :)Now if you find a 'Child-freeze ray zap gun' please let me know, I want one for Miss 16 mths lol!!

  4. Thank you – Ive spent the last 3 days in there and its BLISSFUL to have a proper writing space. Instead of balancing the damn laptop at the kitchen table…on the sofa…everywhere else.

  5. Youre absolutely right Lauren, it IS a fine line and the balancing is very tricky. Especially when one has children as well. Im grateful the Hot Man and I have made some compromises that look very promising. Now i need to stop rearranging furniture and pictures in my office and actually WRITE in it, lol

  6. LOVED this one Lani!! I think it's great you finally got your own writing cave and that you setup time strictly for writing and family. You've got a great family supporting 100% all the way!! Not only that WE the fans LOVE and support your work!! As for Bella, send her over to me so she can give my hubby & I a test run on whether or not we are ready for children, lol!

  7. Kia ora Lani – 1st time poster here and I feel a bit stalkerish having read, googled, FB friended and subscribed to your blog… *shifty eyes* LOL! It's because of my babies loooong feeding/winding/sleeping schedule that I've been able to read SO much lately and I devoured your first two books with a passion! I'm in love with the story, characters and 'our' humour and had some major withdrawals afterward!!!(hence the stalking to fill the void!) Anyways – congrats on your writing cave and turning your passion into a profession! You have had an amazing/turbulent/exciting 12months and I am just so stoked to have jumped on board in the last month! Thank you so much for all the sacrifices you have made and the challenges you have conquered to give us your stories and yourself 🙂

  8. Wow Lani! That looks terrific! And what a wonderful gift for the whole family! You with your writing cave, and everyone else to have Mum and wife restored to them 🙂 I'm still trying to find that balance. I love writing at night when the house is still and quiet.I've just finished a huge project and am delighted to get back into some serious reading time! So, I'm going to go and do some reading of a book thats calling to me. By the way, I REALLY like Keahi. He's not quite the match of Daniel (or perhaps he is – I'll need to keep reading), but I'm a sucker for a tortured soul!

  9. Congrats on the new space. I'm soo jealous. I moved into my apartment a while ago and my plans were to have space for a desk and all mu bookshelves so I can devote a space to my reading, writing, and schoolwork. I thought a dining room might suffice since It's only be me and who needs a dining room if it's only them right? I didnt take into account all my ridiculous qualifications for my apartment and eventually, when I found a place with everything I wanted, annnnd in the right neighborhood, and at the "just out of college" price that place was teeny tiny and had no space for a real dining room, just 2 bar stools in the area between the kitchen and living space. Now I have 1 bookcase in my walk in closst, and the other taking up space in my living room with too many books to fit on them. No desk, but luckily I live alone so I can do work anywhere. Id love your office. (especially since it's all organized and decorated. I'm a horrible decorator) Your family definitely loves you a lot and I'm glad you now have more time to spend with them, and working on my favorite series. Enjoy!

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