Writer Inspiration: Robin D. Owens

by Marie-Claude Bourque


Hi everyone,

HeartChangeBlogI am thrilled to welcome Robin D. Owens, award-winning author of futuristic fantasy romantic fiction, who will discuss the writer’s environment. For me, whose writing space consist of a laptop and nothing else (my son jumping on my bed as I type this), that is a topic that makes me dream!

Robin’s latest release HEART CHANGE is out in November and  she has kindly offered to give away any book of your choice  from her bookshelf (including HEART CHANGE) to one lucky commenter, so don’t forget to say hi!

Today I’m going to talk about a writer’s physical environment.  Naturally different people have different wants and needs.  For instance I have friends who like to write in the family room on their laptops when their family watches television.  That would drive me crazy.  My writing area was a corner of my bedroom for a long time, but I always needed (and continue to need) a desk.

Think about your space.  Where do you write best?  Do you need tidiness or a certain level of mess to be comfortable?  Is a big chair and a laptop fine with you, or do you need some sort of table/desk/surface?  Find your space and claim it.


What sort of light do you have for your office space?  And what sort of light do you prefer to
work by?

I have a window (that looks out on my neighbor’s house about 10 feet away) and an overhead light fixture with 2 bulbs.  My office is about 10 x 12 and I write at night.  My overhead fixture is bad for writing so I have three small lights – one for my desk, one focused near my keyboard, and another for my credenza — that I use when writing.  This helps my eyes.


So, first, check your light.


Do you like clutter around you or not?  How tidy does your desk, writing space, need to be?  I once was able to handle more clutter than I can now.  Give yourself “permission” to spend a reasonable amount of time cleaning up when messiness starts to bother you.

Make sure your “tools” are within easy reach.  For me these are dictionaries, baby namer, thesaurus, reference books, The Artist’s Way, and Walking on Alligators.  I also like my journal/appointment book, The Sacred Journal, near as well as the critiqued pages of the chapter I’m working on.  Supplies: pens, paper, computer floppies.


Be aware of your personal needs.  Do you need desk space to write/edit on as well as your computer?  Is your chair comfortable enough, ergonomic?  What about your keyboard and monitor?  It took a while, but now I have a computer arm that will let me swing my computer around to a couple of  locations.  I have a keyboard stand that will do the same.  Have NOTHING in your space that makes you physically uncomfortable: light that glares in your eyes, a chair that makes you stiff, a keyboard set where you have to strain to use it.


How many of you work with a computer on your day job?  I did.  One thing that I found was NEGATIVE for me was that the computer screen at my day job included the same COLORS as that on my home.

I literally walked into my office one night and thought “I can’t face that cream-colored screen.” Yes, dabbling around with the colors (and sounds) of your writing computer can “waste” a time.  For me, this is making my environment suite me.  Again, I really believe that having the same color of computer screen for your day job and your writing is NEGATIVE.  You begin to visually associate your writing with your day job.  Also, BY BOOTING UP A DIFFERENT COLORED SCREEN YOU NOTIFY YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS THAT IT IS TIME TO WRITE.

I change the screen colors when I tire of them or I find myself thinking “I can’t face that xxx colored screen.”  I know some people who change the screen when they hope for inspiration – such as a darker colored screen for more emotional writing.  You can save various display colors/desktop themes and access them easily.  I have a shortcut to “Display” on my toolbar so it is a click away.

My entire computer is completely personalized for me.  I have a cursor which is a fountain pen.  my “waiting” cursors are a blue-green die (dice) that is rolling, and a scroll opening and closing or a book with a bubble rising from it.  I have sounds that encourage.  When I turn off my work computer, I have applause – for me because I did my work.

So look around you and see what your writing environment is, what easy things you can do to change it so it fits YOU!

May all your writing dreams come true.
http://www.robindowens.com (excerpts on the READS page)
Blog on Writing and Publishing:   http://robindowens.blogspot.com/

Thank you so much for your great advice, Robin!

 And everyone, don’t forget to comment for your chance to win a copy of one of Robin’s novel!

43 Responses to Writer Inspiration: Robin D. Owens

  1. Candi Wall says:


    Thanks so much for coming!

    There are so many of us who write in tiny spaces of time, and equally tiny spaces of – space. LOL.

    I rotate between the couch, my kitchen table and a huge desk that has the whole families papers, files and other odd assortments heaped on it.

    For me, the break up in both positions and in local helps me. Keeps that portion of writing from becoming monotonous. But When I read your post, if I really look at where I’m writing, it’s not the best for my personal benefit. Chairs not the greatest, lights – ack!

    I’ll have to rework some of that.

    Great advice!


  2. Wow. I feel like a tool, but I never thought of how much the appearance or theme of my computer impacted my mind set.

    I do set my lighting differently when it is time to be serious and I’ve developed a strange addiction to tea, but I never thought about the toher things. I know I already said that, but it’s just so obvious it’s making my head hurt.

    It’s kind of like getting ready for the day job. I have a uniform and putting it on is a ritual for me. Partly because I have to make sure I don’t have anything weird in my pockets and I need to check my utility belt for cuff case, key keepers, holster, etc. Then those boots, but that is a whole other story.

    Thanks for the light bulb moment. And um… *whispers* Where can I get a cursor that’s a fountain pen? That trips all my triggers. *grin*


  3. Trying this again. Testing.


  4. Candi Wall says:


    You’re awesome. Thanks for the patience. Hopefully you won’t be tossed in the spam again!!!


  5. jennifer mathis says:

    my computer is so me. right desktop but i need change alot, for me its like picking my house up and turning it for a different view. that means thumbing through the pics til I find just the right one. It in itself is time cosuming lol


  6. Really enjoyed this post. I do a lot of the things you talked about, but never thought about changing the colors from the ones I have at work. I even did the 2 desktops thing, one for writing with a faux clinch romance cover (silly, I know, but I love it) and have a different sound scheme for each desktop. That way, when I sit down to write (at least at the PC) it’s a nice que to start writing. I definitely need to work on the clutter piece, tho.


  7. I just received a recommendation to begin Robin’s Summoning series. I look forward to getting started.

    Thank you for sharing your worth methods with us.


  8. Robin,
    Thank you so much for visiting and for this inspirational post.
    I edited my first manuscript Ancient Whispers on a old laptop that took 15 min to boot every writing session, on the corner of the couch with the kids screaming in the backgroung while I cut the sound off with my headphone (NIN on!).
    Now I have a better laptop but still no personal space, really. I hide in my bed.
    I do write longhand on the couch when everyone is asleep.
    … I long for my own space.

    I did start to put up a bookshelf with my own stuff, and lay my laptop on it when not in use and put my momento on the wall about it.

    Now your post is motivating me to go get this ring binder I need to organize my stuff!


  9. Beth C. says:

    I used to think it didn’t matter where I wrote…then we got a small desk for me to put up in the bonus room. I at least feel like when I’m up there…I’m there to write…to get work done.

    I still travel around the house when the kids are around but when I’m alone…I’m up at my desk working. Feels so good to have my own space. Now to get the hubby to put up my cork board he promised to do in the summer.



  10. Saranna,
    I am with you on the fountain pen! That would be so cool.
    Ever since I saw Lisa Jackson give a speech in her “writing uniform” (ratty nightgown and hoody) I’m thinking of a writing outfit as well LOL.
    The only criterion according to Lisa is that your outfit has to be decent enough so that you can open the door to the UPS man!


  11. Jennifer,
    I’m with you on this. My first desktop pic was a giant red dragon from some free Dragonlance artwork.
    It was so cool.
    Now I feel obliged to put my cover art. But I think I need somthing wilder!


  12. jbrayweber says:

    Wow, Robin. I never thought of COLORS in my workspace and computer screen as having an effect on me. It totally makes sense, though.

    My workspace (my office/study) has to be tidy and clean. Any clutter is a distraction to me.

    And this may sound weird, but I don’t like to have my lights on. I prefer to have natural light come in from my window. Guess you could say I’m saving on my electric bill and being “green”. LOL!

    Thanks for such a great post!



  13. John Roundtree says:

    Hi, Robin!

    I travel a lot, so there’s little normalcy with the writing environment. I’ll write as a passenger in an aircraft, in the boarding area of an airport, a restaurant’s dining table, a hotel room, a coffee shop, a park, a beach, even a bar.

    An inconsistent writing environment has always been my constant. But I’ve come to enjoy the feeling of being a part of life, while escaping into my writing world.

    The sound of silence or isolation can sometimes be a distraction. It’s why I could never study in the library in college. Rather, I’d gravitate to the student union; a free outdoor concert in the park; a tennis match; or the upper deck, during the home team’s baseball practice.

    I don’t subscribe to the belief that writing has to be a lonely profession. I write best with the presence of someone in the room who’s pleasure is pursuing their own separate effort. It’s utopian to have someone like that; to do what you love without the feeling of detachment from the world. But I confess, if I have to choose, I work best in bed. Err… writing. It’s just more productive, casual, and relaxing — un-work-like.

    Thanks for coming!

    John D Roundtree
    Paranormal / Romance


  14. Judi,
    Thanks for visiting. I need to declutter as well!


  15. Thanks everyone for commenting!
    Robin was in a minor accident last week and is catching up with paperwork and work, so she may not be able to drop by today!
    But keep commenting! You can still win 🙂


  16. John,
    You’re so hot… glamourous life LOL
    I write in bed too 🙂


  17. Hailey
    Thanks for visiting with us 🙂 Hope you enjoy Robin’s series!


  18. Beth,
    I am dying to put a corkboard up as well. Maybe not for plotting index cards because I like list, but at least for some inspiration. I like to collect nice cover art from conferences.


  19. Nicole North says:

    What wonderful ideas, Robin. I need to personalize my computer more. Love the applause sound idea. My desk is too cluttered and I definitely need to clear things out. Most of my writing happens on my laptop in the living room, in a recliner. Or on the treadmill. (It has a little laptop desk on it.)


  20. John Roundtree says:

    You see, Marie-Claude! Great writers ARE better in bed! LOL

    Glad I’m not alone.


  21. John,
    You know these comments will show up on google right! LOL


  22. Nicole North says:

    Oh, and Robin I hope you are okay after your accident! Take care.


  23. Candi Wall says:


    I wish I could do my writing on a treadmill. That would be the best.

    Unfortunatly, the one time I tried, I was so motion sick, I couldn’t move for the rest of the day without my head spinning! LOL!


  24. Jessa Slade says:

    I ran out of time to do my usual pre-writing collage for visual inspiration, and I’m really missing it. I think I might just drop some pretty pictures on my computer desktop and call it good. I tend to get immersed in my computer right away, and not notice peripherals, but I bet I’m more aware of it than I believe. I’m going to try some of these ideas — especially messing with screen colors. Thanks for the tips!


  25. Corrina says:

    This was a great post. I’ve been reading a lot on writer’s spaces and this fit right in line. I hope Robin is okay after her accident.
    Take care.


  26. Eilis Flynn says:

    I have an office of sorts — when it’s not a guest room. Or if the World Series isn’t being taped in there. Both of which have been occurring in recent days, so I really, really miss my office.

    But the best part? When I can close the door to the whining of cat and spouse, turn on the worklight, and explore other worlds.


  27. Corrina thanks for dropping by. I’m glad the post was helpful to you.

    Eilis, I am so jealous you have a door to close!


  28. Hi M-C,

    You’ve hit on a subject that is near to my heart at this time. For the last two months of this year, I am preparing for some ‘sit down and just do it’ writing. Like you with the computer screen, some people might think I’m just wasting my time, but I’m tired of the clutter which I call my corner of the room. But while keeping my hands busy, my mind is gearing up.

    Good suggestion for the light. I also need an extra bookcase. I know that would really help with the organization.



  29. Sorry I didn’t check in earlier. The accident was minor, but the paperwork is a dam pain. If you want the fountain pen icon, I have it (am still using it). Just send an email to robin AT robindowens DOT com and I can get it to you.

    I also have a good “negative inner critic banisher” the wicked witch’s “I’m melting, melting.”

    And…and old .wav of (paraphrasing), “The purpose of my life was to bring YOU to this point…” something like that.

    If you want the applause, it’s on one of the old microsoft themes … baseball.

    Thanks again for inviting me.



  30. BTW, Robin, I’m printing this out to put on my desk as a reminder of what I want to look for and do to make it more conducive to writing. In other words, I’m adding to the clutter!!
    Just joking. Actually, what I’ll do later is file it in a book I have creating your own writing space.

    Thanks for the tips. I’ve bookmarked your site. It’s WONERFUL!! Wow, what great inspiration.

    Congratulations on the release of your new book. I’ve not had the opportunity to read your work yet, but they look really, really interesting. What a possibly-true world you have envisioned.

    And I love your cover!


  31. Thanks for visiting Robin.
    And yes, just like Julie, I loooove that cover 🙂


  32. Lisa says:

    Hello! Thanks for stopping by! I do love the book cover!


  33. Nicole North says:

    Candi, about writing on a treadmill, a lot of people tell me they can’t do it for that very reason, motion sickness. I do get motion sickness if reading while riding in a car. But not writing on a treadmill, thank goodness. It can really get the creative juices flowing.

    Robin, glad to hear you’re okay.


  34. Hey John and M-C: That could be a slogan for a t-shirt:

    Writers do it better in bed.

    Love it!


  35. John Roundtree says:

    Hi, Julie! Yes. LOL

    We’re passionate about our craft.



  36. Oh!! too cool John. Light bulb!

    We could have a workshop called:

    Being Passionate about the Craft

    with a t-shirt for a small price for all attendees (price included) that has on the front:

    Writers do it better
    in Bed

    and then on the back have the workshop title:

    About the Craft
    Workshop (or Seminar)

    with the ‘P,W C, and B ‘ in that big curly fancy font–


  37. Jenn says:

    Hi! I’m here to post on possibly winning a copy of the book 🙂 I’m not much of a romance novel kinda girl, but after supporting Marie through her challenge to win that contest in my own special way, I really wanna give romance novels a try and I’d love to start with something that is well written, as Marie seems to think!


  38. John Roundtree says:

    Hi, Jenn:

    Thanks for coming. Everyone is welcome at MuseTracks. You’ll absolutely love Robin’s novel, so if you aren’t the lucky winner I’d encourage you to dash to your favorite bookstore to get your copy. You’ll quickly become a fan.

    And it’s nice to hear you’re eagerly anticipating Marie-Claude’s debut novel as well. We’re as excited as you are! You’ll love her story – fast paced, filled with passion, but if you like a story with mystery and thrills, you won’t be disappointed. Her Hero and Heroine along with a deliciously evil antagonists will leave you craving her soon to be completed sequel. –John


  39. Thanks again, all. I have already sent out the fountain pen cursor to one of you. Also, I was sure that I’d revised and updated this so I’m a little embarrassed about the “floppies”, which now, of course, are various sizes, shapes and colored flash drives…

    Though, to be honest, my office desktop still has a floppy drive and I still have floppies….



  40. Robin, would it be possible to email me the fountain pen cursor? Or does it cost?


  41. Julie Reece says:

    Hi All,
    First time to the site, lots of great info and so cool so many RWC crit folk here enjoying sucess. Gives us newbes hope! Good Luck in the contest! Julie


    • Candi Wall says:


      We really tend to have a lot of fun here, so please stop by often.

      Thank you for the positive thoughst on teh contest. It’s nearing the end soon, and all the contestants are very excited!

      Have wonderful day!


  42. Hi Julie,
    Thanks for dropping by! Yes I am amazed at the success so many RWC people have encounter since I joined a year and a half ago.
    It shows that if we work at it, we do make progress 🙂

    Keep at it and so glad you enjoy our site 🙂


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