Building a Writing Shed Stage 1: Site Selection

First steps along the way to a writing shed.

In a previous blog post I talked about the writing shed we were going to build. Well, we’re ready to get started on the project.

I’d been having a hard time deciding where in the yard I wanted it to be – some locations looked better than others when I was down in the yard, but when I looked at them from the house I thought they were too exposed to the neighbours or too close to the house.

My husband had a good idea: he suggested I take a stool and a notebook, sit in every potential shed location, and write about it.

Wow, it worked like a charm. I carried my stool (really a small 3-step foldable ladder) around the yard and sat and wrote at every potential shed site. I wrote about what I liked and didn’t like about it, what worked and didn’t work, what spoke to me and what didn’t.

Surprisingly, I didn’t end up picking the site that had been foremost in my mind as it was too exposed and the view was too flat. I selected a site that’s in the forest to the side of our property, through which I can see our pond with cattails and where I’m hidden from the sightlines of both of our neighbours. It will probably get a bit dark in winter, but I can maybe hook up a solar panel to a battery to run an LED light.

Here’s me sitting in the yard writing in two different spots (I eventually chose the first one).

Me writing under the trees (that’s irrigation tubing on the fence).
Me writing at the far right of the image, by the pile of wood. You can see the marsh in the top left of the photo.

Here’s the view from the spot I selected.

My soon-to-be view from the writing shed.

This technique was such a success that I’m thinking of trying it with other tasks as well: drafting the key points of a book review or an essay, planning my training for the lake-to-lake walk, even deciding what I’d like to do for my birthday (coming up soon!). Writing allows me to get my thoughts out of my head, where they sometimes get too jammed up and need to be released. Writing tells me what I’m thinking (I’m sure there’s a Didion quote that says something similar). Writing is my window into the world.

So now that I have an actual site, we can start site preparation and finalize the design. How exciting is that?! Check back for more details as the project continues.

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