Location, location, location! Where do you edit?


That would have been a great place to edit: the lobby bar at the Melia Cayo Coco in Cuba a couple of Januarys ago. Ah, it is to dream… Oh lovely breeze and birds weaved from palm fronds and entire days to read novels and sip on Mojitos, or whatever that yellow drink is in front of me. This is not an #amediting photo. I steadfastly did not edit a word for two weeks. This is reading for pleasure, and I refuse to hashtag it.

I’ve edited in many an odd place, and some highly conventional ones. I often edit here in my home office if I’m working with dense prose and I’m using Word on my laptop:


Don’t let this photo fool you into thinking I’m some kind of Organized Person™. My desk is rarely this tidy. You can ask Stu. I do find, however, that it’s the best spot to work when I need a minimum of distractions. If my door is shut, Stu knows that I’m working, and I’ll for sure come out soon. But often I’ll leave it open, as I like hearing him moving about the house, making coffee, reading the paper, and being near me. Nothing pleases me more.


See that patio out the window? It makes a great editing space:


For many years, this was my editing spot of choice.


I spent nearly twenty years going on retreat to a place that I find no longer serves me creatively, and I’ve peacefully let it go. I’ve returned there to launch books, but otherwise, the place served its purpose in both my writing and editing lives and I’ve calmly and contentedly let it drift from my life. The last time I was on retreat there, I remember looking out of the window I love from the room I love, over the landscape I love and thinking, “I don’t need this any more.”

I think it’s vital in the short time we have on earth to recognize when places are no longer necessary to our wellbeing or creativity. That’s healthy.

A big part of letting that place go was the finding of this undisclosed retreat location.


Yes, I’m withholding the name and whereabouts of this place because, frankly, I like having the entire wing to myself. If you recognize it, nod sagely, and please refrain from spilling the beans.


I probably get more editing done here than nearly anywhere else:


Rain, sunshine, hail, sleet, snow, tornadoes, whatever the weather: City Hall Park is glorious from the fourth floor of the Red Deer Public Library. The café on the main floor whips up a delicious decaf London Fog, and I can sit here for hours. It may be a quiet zone, but that doesn’t stop the chronic coughers and cell-phone blabbers from ignoring those signs. Enter the miracle of earbuds and my white noise app. I live close to the library, and often walk down to spend the afternoon grappling with poetry or a vampire novel, or whatever I’ve been hired to edit.


I have an oddly-shaped office. It was once a normal-sized guest room, but the man who built it put an addition onto the back end of the house sometime in the 1970s. As a result, my office is a very odd 6x18 feet. Effectively, it’s two rooms. My desk occupies the south half, and this is the north half:


I’ve read and edited a lot of books in that corner.


But of all the fantastic spots I’ve used over the years, nothing can ever top this. Add a fire later in the day, and it’s perfection:


I’m grateful daily that I can work wherever I find myself. Except Cuba. I can’t imagine working in Cuba, though I did see people who were yelling “Buy low! Sell high!” into cell phones with data that had to be costing them a small fortune. I’m not those dudes…


Where do you edit your work?

Kimmy Beach2 Comments