Monday, June 8, 2009

Writing Spaces

The rest of this month we're going to focus on external writing factors--your writing space, colors, rituals, attire--you name it! How do our surroundings affect our writing? Can we tweak them to improve our flow?

Where do you write?
A dedicated spot for writing is very important. By claiming one area of your home as your writer domain, you tell your family and the world that writing is important to you. It may be a corner, a closet, an abandoned bedroom, or a covered porch. Plant a flag and declare it yours. You won't regret it.

I've lived in several homes over the years. My writing space depends on our lodgings. I've written at a card table, our kitchen table, and any other space I could spread my notes and laptop on. I've learned I'm more productive, and a nicer person, when I have my own space, a place to leave all of my writing related goodies. Currently, I've claimed our fourth bedroom as my office. My Office. Has a nice ring, doesn't it?

Let's get real about "my office." Is it really mine? I share it with an active, and sometimes noisy, guinea-pig, my cat's litter box (don't ask), and a clunky treadmill. The family computer also sits on one massive desk where the family crumbs and clutter tend to accumulate.
The other desk houses my laptop and other writing paraphanalia. No one is allowed to touch my laptop. Hey, a girl needs to set some boundaries!

I really must describe the student desk for you to fully appreciate it. My parents gifted me with the beaut when I was in high school. It's a standard, wooden, out-of-date desk. I loved it from day one. It made me feel grown-up, on top of things. It's moved everywhere I have but is showing age. The front edge boasts teeth marks from a not-to-be-named toddler. The drawers are rather cluttered, but I can find what I need. Someday, I'll have a streamlined, matching office set, but my chipped, dull brown desk is perfect for now.

The rest of the office? Builder-white walls, several random pictures, two mismatched office chairs. A large closet, a few bookshelves, and tons of books. Files spill out of every nook and cranny. Stacks of notepads, a bulletin board, and a big window overlooking the backyard complete the room.

Oh, there are handweights too, because yeah, I'm always doing bicep curls--ha! ha! Let's just say the dust on those bad boys is about an inch thick, much like the treadmill.

My office is unpretentious, mismatched, and homey. If a host of an HGTV show came in, she would shake her head and declare it an ugly, if tidy, disaster. Next year, I'd like to clear it out, paint it, and only put office related items in, but something tells me the guinea pig and cat-litter won't budge. Take that HGTV!

What about you? Do you have a space to leave your writing tools? Do you have an area dedicated to you, the writer? If yes, does it work for you? If no, do you feel you'd be more productive if you had one?

Join me on Wednesday when we'll look at what I have on my writing desk.


Get Motivated! It's Monday!


  1. I love your description of your office! I had a similar one like that back in PA --complete with a treadmill and pull-out couch. In this home. I'm blessed to have a real office in a den and my husband put cabinents in there. But I have my old desk we bought and refinished 32 years ago when we first married. I can't part with the huge monstrosity it is!
    But where am I writing now? In my oversized chair in my TV room!

  2. Ha! My "office" is a little part of my bedroom. I like to sit in a comfy chair with a big ottoman with my laptop and write away. I have a desk (an old lab table from a school that I refinished) but I don't have a good chair to sit at the desk and write. It makes a difference to me to have the quiet. I love to shut the door and light a candle and then loose myself in the story.

  3. My office is in shambles. Everything is still in boxes, including the desk and a new bookshelf. hahaha... We were in the process of switching the office and my daughters' playroom when hubby had shoulder surgery. *sigh* One day I'll have my real live office complete with a huge whiteboard. hehehe...

  4. I'm struggling with this right now. I write in our is where our one computer is kept. While I can be close to the kids, I feel like I'm not taken as seriously when I try to write sometimes. Am thinking of a laptop.
    ~ Wendy

  5. Terri: Huge, monstrous desks delight me! My grandparents had a roll-top desk I'd play at for hours. Someday...

    Sherrinda: Quiet is vital. Your space sounds homey. I can picture sipping a dainty cup of tea and just relaxing.

    Ralene: Oh, I'm sorry. Nothing worse than an office in shambles--and a hubby with shoulder problems to boot! Maybe a piece of chocolate would help?

    Wendy: I wrote in the playroom at our last house until one day I snapped! I could not take the mounds of kid-stuff piled up on my desk every time I turned around. My husband bought me a laptop and I set up on a card table away from the playroom. I feel your pain!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I do have an office...but it is a working space for both my writing and my part time job. The nicest part about it is NOT the ugly paint job or the mess piled up in the is its location -- down in the far corner of the basment where it is quiet.

  7. I do have my own office which is truly mine!! The one place I do call my own.

    But due to unforseen circumstances, I mostly write upstairs at my kitchen table and keep all my writing stuff in the office for easy access. I'll do some preplanning down there, etc. but the actual writing is done upstairs where the pups are close by.

  8. Your posts always make me smile.

    I have an office (I'm a company bookkeeper for the family business) that is full of computers and file cabinets and bookshelves. The room has become the hub of the universe in our home.

    But when it comes time to least over the past few months...I head to the local coffee shop for some Earl Grey and an escape from all the house/business/life stuff that overwhelmes me.

  9. I actually don't have a space... which might be a bad thing, now that I think about it. With a laptop, I find myself writing in my room, in our office, downstairs in front of the television. There are no boundaries. It all sort of just leaks into one another - life and writing.

  10. Tess: Quiet, precious quiet. Much more important than pretty paint!

    Eileen: That's the beauty of writing--you can choose the best place to write. And right now it's upstairs.

    Erica: Oh, yes! I love to get away. There's something alive about a nice coffee shop. I love the hum of the conversations, the homey colors and low lighting--and of course, the coffee!

    Katie: Life merging with writing. Beautiful. Unfortunately, I become a snapping turtle with too much noise when I'm trying to write!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  11. I have a combined bedroom/office. It's a very large room so I don't feel cramped at all, though I still manage to leave clutter around!

    Strangely enough, though, I only do my research and "business" work on the writing in my office, but the actual "writing" I do on my laptop, which isn't connected to the Internet, and I usually do that sitting out in the living room, on the deck, or on my bed.

  12. I claim the dining room table. I'm easily in the hub if anyone needs to find me. And I can keep an eye on everyone playing and working!But I also have a tiny bit of space too! I'd love an office, but at this stage in my life with kiddos everywhere all the time, I'd probably never use it! Someday. . .

  13. Ugh, Blogger is being mean to me. I already wrote a nice little comment and it didn't post it. Oh well. My writing space is in the living room. Not the most inspiring place but it works for now. I am looking forward to the day when the kids are old enough to give me a little more consistent writing time :D And then...then I plan on having a lovely office or at least a designated writing area that is less distracting.

  14. Melissa: Sounds lovely! I don't think it's strange at all to have two different writing spaces--it's kind of a right brain/left brain thing. Research in one, creativity in the other. Perfect!

    Jody: I agree, you need to be in the center of the activity. If you did have an office, it would probably be crowded with the family!

    Cindy: Uggh. I can't stand it when my computer or blogger acts up. Your living room sounds just right at this point. The kids probably have more to keep them busy and are comforted by your presence.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  15. At least it's tidy. ;-)

    My office space is convenient and travel sized. I have my lap top so I can type while waiting for the kidlets to fall asleep. It is my dream one day to have an official office, in our library once the husband finishes school. :D

  16. Danyelle: Aren't laptops amazing?? A portable office--love it! The thought of an office in your library makes me smile. I hope that happens soon for you!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  17. Jill:
    Can we get some photos, please? I'd like that.
    My writing space is messy, but only because I share with my husband-- HA!
    I'd love to have my own room and desk, but will need to wait until my son moves out next month.
    I agree that environment affects your muse, even your attitude.
    Thanks for this wise post,

  18. Jeanette: My camera, unfortunately, has been in Iowa since Easter! I've finally gotten it back! Are you going to start redecorating your son's room the day he moves out? Ha! That would probably be wrong, huh?

    Thanks for stopping by!

  19. I love your office! I don't have a space. I usually follow my children around the house with laptop in tow:) I do keep asking my husband to build me a little studio that could also be used as a guest house/homeschool space. Whenever I mention this he just looks at me as if I'm speaking in tongues...guess I'm not getting my studio anytime soon:)

  20. Kara: That's too funny! And you got me to thinking...if I didn't live in an area with harsh winters, wouldn't a little backyard hut be perfect??

    Thanks for stopping by!


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