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05 December 2018

Writing Aboard A Sailboat | IWSG


The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It's a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day.

Every month there's an optional question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they're struggling with what to say.

This month's question is:

"What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?"

Check out how people have answered this month's question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list here. You can see how I answered the question below.


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Hmm...what can I say about my writing space? Right now it's very, very messy. We have so many projects going on at the moment, that our entire sailboat is in chaos. Floorboards are up in the main living area due to a crack in our hull. There's a big hole in the side of our boat where we took one of our windows to rebed it. Tools are scattered everywhere. Oh, and did I mention that we don't have a working toilet on board?

The only place that we can sit down (or rather lay down) these days is in our aft cabin where our bed is. And that's where I've been trying to write these days. Ordinarily, it's a comfy, little nest, but even this room has stuff piled everywhere.

As I sat in my bed writing this blog post with my computer propped up on my lap, I looked around to pick out five objects to share with you. I decided to omit the bag of dirty laundry from the list, although, that's the first thing you see when you walk in. So, here we go - stuff in my writing space:

1 - A container of oatmeal. We started to provision for cruising to the Bahamas and I still need to find places to store all of our food. In the meantime, the oatmeal container provides a convenient perch for a toy dinosaur.

2 - Baskets full of clothes and dishtowels. When you live on a sailboat, you have very limited space and need to get creative when it comes to storing things.

3 - Collapsible water containers. We're going to fill these with distilled water for our batteries. We use four golf cart batteries for our power when we're not at a marina. We charge the batteries with our solar panels and our engine's alternator.

4 - A ziploc bag of tissues. Cardboard is a no-no on boats as they can harbor bugs, not to mention get all mildewy. I take tissues out of the boxes they come in and put them in ziploc bags. I need to do the same thing with my containers of oatmeal.

5 - A stack of books, some of which are ones that I've written.

Curious what our aft cabin looks like? Here are some pictures from when things were less chaotic. You can see more photos here.



Some of you may be asking yourself, "Where's Simon?" Well, my imaginary cat got so fed up with the chaos on board that he traveled forward in time to when all of our boat projects are completed and the boat is neat and tidy. In the future, there's plenty of space for him to take naps and play with his catnip mice. In the present, not so much.

What are five objects we'd find in your writing or work space?


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58 comments:

  1. At least you have a break from Simon.
    Roaches especially like to hide in cardboard so that makes sense you don't want any on board.

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  2. I love those kinds of neat organizing tricks, like putting the towels in the pillows. And hey, if you've got to store something under the bed, why not wine? :)

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  3. How awesome to get a peek into your boat! You're very clever at the way you're making use of the space and storing stuff. My house is little, and I need to get more creative, especially here in my office/media room/storage area. I don't have wine under my bed, but mine is a platform bed with drawers. I store sheets and photos, and currently it has all this year's stocking stuffers hidden beneath pillow cases.

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  4. Thanks for the sneak peek into your boat - even in the midst of chaos! My house is in the "project" phase right now and I think the trouble with a house is that we can stuff all of the project items in one room, close the door, and hum our way around the house ignoring it, which means it takes us a long time to finish anything, no matter how eye-sorish it is (currently, the stairway, a mostly-painted room, and a garden bed that is being re-designed/configured/made smaller).
    Good luck with all of those repairs! And, happy writing and reading in December!
    I will get a review of your book up soon - I love it, I'm just going to have to remind myself I'm not a professional reviewer with specific areas to detail and go for the honest gushing of a fan. :)

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    1. No rush on the review - just whenever you get a chance. After all, you're doing me a favor :-)

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  5. Love seeing the boat! And some good tips there for making good use of space. When we eventually find a place to live, it might be spacious, or it might be quite small. Or we may have to go on living out of our car! Either way, it helps to keep things efficient. Oh, and I have backpacking gear under my bed. And dust. And, right now given the 2 corgis where we've been staying, dog hair. Lots of dog hair. Trust me, an imaginary cat is easier to deal with!

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  6. Your boat is adorable inside, even if it's a mess right now. Our mattress sits in a waterbed frame so unfortunately, no room for wine there.

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    1. Hopefully, you've found another place to store wine :-)

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  7. Maybe I got it all wrong and should rent a boat for the next writing retreat. Cabins are nice and all... Wishing you a safe and Happy Holidays! :)

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  8. What's under our boat bed. Toilet paper, paper towels, convection oven, vacuum, aluminum foil and saran wrap, and other other things. It's a huge storage area.

    I agree that storage is an issue and we've learned how to be on the boat for extended periods of time without clutter. It took some years, but we figured it out.

    Have a fabulous day, Ellen. ♥

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    1. You can tell you are a boater when paper towels are among the top items you store. Paper towels are a real boating essential, especially when it comes to all of the messy engine stuff.

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  9. I think you should hide with Simon, but then, nothing would get done. It was so interesting to see your 'writer's space'.

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    1. Maybe I could have my hubby finish up all the boat projects while Simon and I wait in the future :-)

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  10. I just have an ordinary office, and yet sometimes it feels like it's tilting. Or is it me? Fascinating, your life on a boat! Congratulations on the November release of your second cozy!

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    1. I'd go out and check the foundation of your house if it's tilting :-)

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  11. You are amazingly creative with space management. Which raises the question, why don't I have wine under MY bed? But I think the coolest thing in your space are those three books with your name on them! (I'm assuming 3# is a mock-up - love those covers!)

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    1. I think you'll need to have a look under your bed and make some room for wine :-)

      Yes, #3 if a mock-up. I already have the cover designed. Now, I just need to finish the words to go with it.

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  12. What a cool cabin! I agree with Lee, you are so creative with this. I can only imagine the chaos I would end up with.

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    1. The creativity only goes so far with limited space. There are days I wished we had more.

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  13. Well I hope the chaos ends soon. Take care 'til then. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  14. Hey! First time here. I don't have a special, just for writing type place either. I don't live anywhere so cool as a sail boat, but my ancient(was probably a pull along camper) trailer works for us and the fur babies!

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    1. Thanks for popping by. Do you have a blog? I wasn't able to find a link on your profile to a site.

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  15. i wish I had wine under my bed!

    What a cool glimpse into boat talk. You have to maximize every little bit of space. So very cool!

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    1. I bet you have room under your bed for a few bottles :-)

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  16. How exciting! Thanks for the peek into your boat life. Awesome!

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  17. You painted a very vivid picture of your space! Great job.

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  18. Nice to get a peak inside the boat! I live in a very small studio apartment so I have to get creative with the organization.

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    1. You'd definitely face the same space issues that we do.

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  19. Okay, you win. Your writing space is more unusual than anyone's. Like others have already said, you do a fantastic job managing your space. You could be an efficiency expert. :)

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    1. It looks so much better in pictures than in real life :-)

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  20. I totally understand why Simon aborted. Living on a sailboat (especially in the yard) with all the projects going on and stuff everywhere is no fun. I'm really surprised you are getting any writing done at all! I"m finally in a position and place that is conducive to writing, and I'm still not getting much done!

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    1. I am so not looking forward to moving into the yard :-( So hard to get anything done when you're there.

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  21. I loved getting a glimpse into your living quarters. You are so clever at finding/making storage ideas. Congrats on your new release. I have my copy and can't wait to read it.

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    1. Thanks so much Diane for reading Bodies in the Boatyard! Much appreciated :-)

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  22. Sorry things are so chaotic right now, i hope it all comes together soon.

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  23. Haven't lived on board a boat for a very long time, still in love with sailing and boats though. What is around me right now?
    Well Olive, my cat, thinks this is her lovies spot so she lands up on my desk in front of me a lot, right now she's sleeping on the rocking chair next to me.
    I have a calculator, tape measure, a Stanley knife blade and some odd bits of lead that all need to go back into the workshop. There is also a cane knife tucked in between the desk and the bookshelf but that's mostly a self defense precaution, just in case. Other than that? Well not much really. Pencil, Leatherman tool, pens and so on.
    What do I have under my bed? Well it's only about an inch off the floor so I would imagine lots of cat hair and dust, couldn't be bothered looking right now. Spring cleaning is coming soon and I'll find out then.
    Blessings from a beached sailor a thousand miles from the sea, literally.
    Geoff.

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    1. I saw a picture of Olive on your blog - she's a very cute cat :-)

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  24. You always make me laugh. ~grin~ Stuffing towels in pillowcases is brilliant! My space is luxurious, with all sorts of different places to write. The table from which I'm enjoying my seven foot tall Christmas tree is cluttered, though, with lots of art supplies and decor that needs stored away for the holidays. Best wishes on getting your lives back into calm order. And Happy Writing!

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    1. A view of your Christmas tree from your workspace sounds lovely :-)

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  25. Please tell me that isn't the same box of oatmeal I sold you a year ago. Your breakfast really is mostly chocolate chips isn't it?

    Here is what's under my bed: an inflable kayak, oars, an air pump, a tent, two rolls of paper towels, spare food, a bag of wood shavings, a bag of cold weather clothes, spare sheets and wash cloths, my computer, beer, a sleeve of cokes, dirty laundry, 2 golf cart batteries, an inverter, a fuse box, snorkeling gear, a camera, a basket of odds and ends, and two minature sombreros.

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    1. Not to worry, it's a new oatmeal container :-)

      You are the queen of packing tons of stuff in small spaces.

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  26. It looks like a cute little place! I hope the chaos and turmoil calms down soon.

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  27. Huh. I didn't know that about cardboard. Sounds like living on a boat is a bit of a tight squeeze, but you've managed nicely.

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    1. There are so many tricks to living on a boat (like the no cardboard rule) which I wasn't aware of at first.

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  28. Sounds like a sailboat means being super-efficient - and super-tidy normally. No roaches and time-travelling cats are crucial.

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    1. Roaches are a definite no-no, as are mice and rats :-)

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  29. Your Simon comments never fail to make me smile, or laugh. Oh, to be a time-traveling cat: "Hell with this shit--I'm outta here!"

    Thanks for the peek into your space. It's so cool, and for those of us who've never lived on a boat, there's so many things I never would have considered, like having a hook above my bed to hold on to!

    I'm sorry I've missed commenting on your blog for a while. There's been something going on with Blogger/Google+ that made it impossible, until someone suggested trying a different browser. I can only comment on Blogspot blogs by switching to Google Chrome, and I have no idea what'll happen when Google+ is shut down. I'm still reading, but that's why I haven't been as vocal.

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