is two guys collaborating to write on writing and collaboration.

Mar 18, 2009

A Place to do Your Thing posted by Martin


I have a studio in downtown Seattle where I write. It’s in a ragged historical building — once an infamous club and now a hip hair salon. It is less than fancy. It has a window, a door, is painted funny colors. There’s power and light, and thanks to a line-of-sight neighbor, I can piggyback an open wireless that makes me sign a EULA once an hour. I have an electric kettle, a table that my grandfather and father made and which I ate nearly every childhood meal on, and thanks to Mr. Beeson, I have a pinboard and a white board.

At home, I have an office. At work, I have an office. Why did I choose to pay $175 a month on a third place? Because I want to write every day.

Of course I don’t write at work. I work. At home, I used to write quite a bit, but it’s a small apartment and that space is shared with a person that I want to pay attention to when we’re around each other. And oh crap, I have to do the dishes and when am I going to watch that movie, and I wonder if I should go and dig through that stack of bills?

What I needed was a place to go shut the door where I am the only inhabitant. A place that is solitary, but not locked away from the world.

For a while I would write in coffee shops, libraries, steal time at home. Sometimes I would be on a tear and get a lot of work done, sometimes I wouldn’t. When I read Walter Mosley’s brilliant This Year You Write Your Novel his advice hit home. Write every day. He says:

If you skip a day or more between your writing sessions, your mind will drif away from these deep moments of your story. You will find that you’ll have to slog back to a place that would have been easily attained if only you wrote every day.

I dedicated myself to doing just that. Christine, who has kept a painting studio in the building for over a year, recommended that I reach out and see if they’d rent to a lowly writer. Now I’m surrounded by painters. When I’m good (which, lately, has been a challenge) I come after work each day and write for an hour-and-a-half or so. It’s almost exactly half way between home and work.

On Saturdays, Mr. Beeson and I have a standing 9am meeting where we talk about our latest screenplay, swap music and read each other bits of our fiction. On Sundays, depending on what’s going on, I will spend all day locked up and dreaming up wicked fates for my characters.

I love my office. It’s a dedication to the goal of writing, and a physical space that stands for one purpose. If I were wealthy, my fantasy would be a vintage detective-style office with a name painted on the glass door, but for now I’m happy. I’m a few floorboards away from the waxing studio, and surrounded by painters. There is always a line to get your hair done. I can walk out the door and be in the city.

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What is Spitball!?

Spitball! is two guys collaborating to write about writing and collaboration. We're writing partners who have worked together since 2000, and placed in the top 100 in the last Project Greenlight for our script YELLOW.

Currently, we are both working on multiple screenplay, short story, and novel ideas independently and together, and collaborate on this blog.

What Spitball! used to be

Spitball! started as an attempt to collaborate on a screenplay online in real time. From January 2006 to July 2007 we worked on an interactive process to decide the story we were going to make. A full postmortem is coming, but you can find the find all the posts by looking in the category Original Version.

During this period, we affected the personalities of two of the most famous spitball pitchers from the early 20th Century. Look at our brief bios for more info about this, and so as not to be confused as to who is talking when.

We rebooted the franchise in early 2009 in its current form.

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Our Twitter account, where we note when longer articles are posted. While we're at it, here's Kent and Martin's Twitter accounts.

Kent M. Beeson

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Kent M. Beeson (aka Urban Shockah) is a stay-at-home dad and stay-at-home writer, living in Seattle, WA with his wife, 2 year old daughter and an insane cat. In 2007, he was a contributor to the film blog ScreenGrab, where he presciently suggested Jackie Earle Haley to play Rorschach in the Watchmen movie, and in 2008, he wrote a film column for the comic-book site ComiXology called The Watchman. (He's a big fan of the book, if you couldn't tell.) In 2009, he gave up the thrill of freelance writing to focus on screenplays and novels, although he sometimes posts to his blog This Can't End Well, which a continuation of his first blog, he loved him some movies. He's a Pisces, and his favorite movie of all time is Jaws. Coincidence? I think not.

Martin McClellan

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Martin (aka Burley Grymz) is a designer and writer. He occasionally blogs at his beloved Hellbox, and keeps a longer ostensibly more interesting bio over here at his eponymous website. You can also find him on Twitter.