Tag Archives: writing space

The Office. Er, Fort. Fortroffice?

I needed a writing space. Stephen King told me I did, and I do not disobey Mr King without good reason.

The space can be humble (probably should be, as I think I have already suggested), and it really needs only one thing: a door which you are willing to shut. The closed door is your way of telling the world and yourself that you mean business; you have made a serious commitment to write and intend to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

-Stephen King, On Writing

Until a few days ago, my writing space was in the living room. I didn’t have the whole room to myself, just my desk in the corner. That was fine when AJ was working nights and I was alone in a silent house… except that it wasn’t. There was always a mess on the coffee table to be cleaned, dishes in the sink suddenly screaming to be washed as soon as I sat down to write, unmade beds chanting horrible and ominous things in the bedrooms.

You see, there was no door I could close. I needed my own writing space, I just didn’t know where to find it.

Cassandra Page posted last week about her new writing space– an actual study, if you can believe that. I said there was nowhere for me to have writing space, except for the stinky basement. True, we have a small bedroom that houses the desktop computer and the assorted geekery (read: toys) that AJ and I collect, but it’s not my space, and there’s no room for my desk.

And then I started thinking about that stinky basement…

I couldn’t take the only enclosed room. That’s the playroom, and AJ would go insane if that mess moved out into the open. I couldn’t take the TV area beside the stairs. That’s the “boy cave.” So where to put my girl cave?

Hello, storage area!

Holy carp, it's even worse than I remembered. O.o

Holy carp, it’s even worse than I remembered. O.o

Fine, so it didn’t look like much. Fortunately, I’ve spent a bit of time over the last few years developing my imagination and learning to see possibilities.

I was going to make this WORK.

Now, obviously I couldn’t just move things and stick my desk in the corner; that would leave me no better off than I was in the living room. No, I needed walls, but my traditional construction skills are somewhat lacking.

Good thing I double-majored in box-stacking and blanket fort-building in kindergarten. I knew that would come in handy some day!

So I stacked me some boxes, unpacked and threw out some basement-smelling cardboard boxes, put everything back into the bins, and built a wall. I stacked the Christmas decorations in one easily-accessible corner, and covered the inside of my wall with the prettiest vintage bedsheets I had lying around. I stole an icky rug from the cats’ eating area, vacuumed the hair out of it, and laid it down. I set up the dog’s old kennel in the corner to make a table to spread my papers out on.

Eew. Needs a tablecloth or something.

Eew. Needs a tablecloth or something.

I took a space heater from upstairs, brought down a Scentsy burner, put up a picture, and stole my glider-rocker back from the boy cave, because they don’t appreciate it like I do.


I stole borrowed a bookshelf AJ wasn’t using for much in his workout area, and brought another down from my space in the living room.

All I needed was… The Desk.

Yeah, I capitalized it. It’s not the biggest desk out there, but it’s 2×4 feet of heavy wood, handmade by AJ’s grandfather, plus a rolltop. Oh, and AJ was away this week, so I had to empty it, flip it, get it down the stairs and into my room all by myself.

Cue ominous music

Cue scary music

Nooooo problem. *flexes pathetic muscles*


And there we have it. An office built out of storage bins, blankets, and my own stuff from around the house (though I did treat myself to a new lamp, white board, and corkboard, because DAMMIT, I HAVE WALL SPACE!)


I’m so proud of my blanket/box walls. 🙂

Only one problem remains:

I still have no door.


Anybody have some extra, pretty sheets lying around? No? Looks like I’m off to the thrift store…



Shannon Thompson posted a while back showing her impeccably neat workspace (which she admits she’d just finished cleaning- I like that honesty), and asking to see other people’s. Mine was a big ol’ mess at the time, but now it’s… well, it’s as good as it ever gets.


Fancy, eh? I love the roll-top desk; my husband’s grandfather made it, and it’s brilliant for hiding the mess that’s usually all over the flat bit. The shelves, in theory, keep my stuff organized. The drawers stick a bit, but I blame that on the amount of crap I keep in them.

It’s not perfect, but it works.

But it’s not the desk itself that’s important, is it? It’s the other stuff. I know a lot of people like a clear space, free of distractions. I am not those people (or even just one of them, for that matter). My desk is covered in things I need and things that make me happy- things that inspire me, gifts from friends, pictures of people I love. It works for me. Wanna see?


That’s my zombie woodchuck there. He has nothing to do with anything in my work (not until book three, at least*)- he’s just hanging out because he makes me smile (mostly because whoever designed him didn’t mean for him to be a zombie, but he so obviously is). That lunch box there holds stickers, valentines, and other fun stuff I can send to people in the mail. The little guy on top was an early birthday present- adorable AND makes me think of friends. That amazing pen-holder is a mug that my mom painted for me. Let’s ignore the bills on the shelf and move on…

The kingdom of Mid-Desk! Wondering about the ponies? They remind me of a couple of my characters. Don’t ask why, they just do. No, my stories are not about horses. Above them you’ll see a pile of tiny notebooks. They’re for notes. Also headphones, because we all need to block the world out sometimes. I can write with music; for reading I use the White Noise Ambience app. Hand creams, absolutely essential in the winter… oh, hey, and dental floss! I was wondering where that went.


To the left, to the left… Less relevant stuff, mostly- thisspace isn’t just for writing. A doll head in progress and pony bodies, insert evil laugh here. That huge book is a Literature textbook I borrowed from my mother-in-law; the glass doorknob is from our last apartment. I love it- I might start collecting glass doorknobs some day. Ever held one? They feel great. Um… Oh, notecards, going back to sending stuff to friends. Also some outgoing mail, and a rock that a friend who I miss very much decorated for me.

Wondering where the books are? They have their own shelf right next to the desk.

Books about writing, my four larger notebooks (we’ll look at those another day, why not?),  novels I’ve read recently or will be reading soon- hey, there’s another whole post right there! Don’t mind the bottom shelf- that’s kids’ books and two Narnia DVDs… Which are totally for the kids. *ahem*

So there you go. No, I’m not opening the drawers for you; the contents have nothing to do with writing, and I’m afraid that if I open them they’ll never close. Also not going to show you my other workspaces- the kitchen table, my bed, and the couch- because they’re the next places I need to clean. Ugh.


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