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.

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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*

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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!)

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

Only one problem remains:

I still have no door.

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


Workspace

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.

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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?

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

*THERE WILL BE NO ZOMBIE WOODCHUCKS IN BOOK THREE.


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