Ideal writing space

There’s the physical aspect of the ideal writing space, and the emotional one.

I am a Human Factors engineer, which is a discipline in the Industrial Engineering department. Part of my training was in safety engineering and ergonomics; to pay attention to the environment surrounding the worker, and try to manipulate it in a way that is most conductive to the worker’s safety and productivity. So when I imagine the ideal writing space, my mind automatically checks a list that includes adequate lighting, noise level, proper posture, air quality and temperature, etc…

However, once the technical stuff is out of the way, I start to really pay attention to my surroundings. The key point that matters is what makes me feel comfortable, emotionally. It could be sitting at a desk for hours, facing a window overlooking the ocean—my favorite and rarely happens, or taking up the kitchen table with family members mingling about, or spreading on the floor in the living room with the TV on, or lounging on a lawn chair on a nice breezy afternoon. It doesn’t matter. The ideal writing space is whatever is ideal for me during a creative cycle. And depending on the subject matter, sometimes sitting in an uncomfortable chair, or in a painful position, helps bring forward a negative emotion that is needed for the kind of scene I am trying to express. Feeling trapped, for example, is an emotion that I tap into when I am least physically comfortable. Even skipping a couple of meals to get that urgent feeling to grab something is something I often do. I don’t think I could write about something emotionally disturbing if I am reclining in a Lazy Boy chair with my feet up, feeling cozy and secure. The same holds true for the other side of the coin. If I am writing about something uplifting and easy going, then I choose the most physically comfortable position or location, put on music that brings me happy memories and go for it.

Lilas Taha is a writer at heart, an electrical engineer by training, and an advocate for domestic abuse victims by choice. She was born in Kuwait to a Syrian mother and a Palestinian father, and immigrated to the U.S. as a result of the Gulf war in 1990. She earned a master’s degree in Human Factors Engineering from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. There, Lilas met her beloved husband and true friend, and moved with him to Sugar Land, Texas to establish a family. She is the proud mother of a daughter and a son. Instead of working in an industrial field, she applied herself to the field of social safety, working with victims of domestic violence.

Pursuing her true passion for creative writing, Lilas brings her professional interests, and her Middle Eastern background together in her debut fictional novel, Shadows of Damascus.

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