Q4U: A Room of One’s Own
We writers tend to make a big deal about the physical spaces in which we write. There are countless blogs and websites that feature photos of writers’ workspaces, and I admit I love looking at them. There have even been entire books full of photos of writers’ desks. I guess it’s fun trying to see what we can learn about a writer just from looking at his or her desk.
Most of us are dreamers, too, and so we spend time envisioning the perfect writing studio. Ah, I could be so productive if only I had a… (loft with a view of the ocean, desk the size of Montana, whatever). A couple of weeks ago an article in The Guardian dared ask, Does a room of one’s really help you write a great novel?
One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I can get restless sitting in the same place everyday, so I’ve got three desks in different rooms of my house (one of them being my office). Another thing I’ve learned is that I need a fairly uncomfortable chair in order to be productive. One of my desks has a super comfy “executive” chair and when I’m sitting it in, I’m more likely to lose focus and start hanging out on social networking sites. I lose track of time. Strange, but true, so most of the time I sit in the uncomfortable wooden chair (above) at my rolltop desk.
So tell us about your writing space.
Do you have a dedicated space for writing? What’s it like? What kind of workspace do you dream of? Do you think you need a room of your own to produce good work?
Bonus question: Know of any more good websites with photos of writers’ desks? Include a link in the comments.
Have a great weekend!
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>I have a desk, but don't use it. I like to go out to write. I blogged about it here: bit.ly/am58yW
>I have a dedicated studio for writing/drawing and most of the tabletops are filled with miscellaneous stuff, so I end up working in bed, on buses, at other people's places.
Lunch in Paris author said she wrote her entire book in a Paris cafe – that's what I need for sure.
>No dedicated space in my cramped house with 7 kids…Just my dining room table. It is a little frustrating, but at least I can keep an eye on things. Unsurprisingly, I get very little actual writing done. LOL
>My writing space is a cluttered desk in the corner of our living room . . . or sitting in the car with my laptop. Not ideal, either of them. I dream of a room of my own where I can surround myself with things that inspire me . . . and maybe a view of the Maine coast. Man, if only . . .
>I have a dedicated 'office' in my house where I sit for at least 3 hours everyday to write. I am going to redo the space this summer and make it the writing space of my dreams..I actually need more shelves and a nicer paint color. I have an extra computer in the space so when the grand kids are over they can write with me..(or play games) and like so many others said my two little terriers always seem to be at my feet when I am in there..I also always take a notebook wherever I go..just in case..
>I completely refinished an old sturdy desk in what the paint sales man said was a 'historical' color of blue. Then found the perfect nook to place it; a walk in closet. Decorated the closet with pictures of outdoor scenes and WW2 era photos (my book time period). Made it perfect.
Where do I write?
My couch! Nope, have yet to write in my writing nook. 🙂
>Right now, my writing desk doubles as our tv viewing station, since we watch movies on the desktop. In a few weeks, however, we are moving into our first house, and the room I have devoted the most time in fantasizing about is my future writing room.
While I will have to share the space with the guest bed, I've picked the front corner bedroom, looking out onto our quiet neighborhood street. All the houses resemble ours, built in the 1940s by returning GIs, and the neighborhood has a tired sort of charm. I plan to position my desk near the front window, and let inspiration take its course!
And the color. The room will be periwinkle blue, and I have photographs of some of my favorite places (the ocean, Italy, etc) ready to hang up beside my desk.
Counting down the days till this dream becomes a reality! And maybe, just maybe, my productivity will improve!
>I have a great desk in our family room, right off of the kitchen. I can keep track of where everyone is without getting out of my chair! Of course, these distractions are sometimes not conducive to writing, but then again, without these distractions, I would have nothing to write about!!!!
>Oh, I'm envious, Rachelle. I want your room, including the dog. What a sweetie.
And I've always wanted a roll-top desk! So cozy.
But, for me, actually, it doesn't really matter where I write. I just need a computer. My only requirement is quiet. Any noise, including music, distracts me. Actually other people distract me too. I like to be alone while I write. And I like a computer that's fast. But the desk itself doesn't really matter.
Although I wouldn't say no to a mountain cabin with a hot tub, jacuzzi and mini-bar. In fact, when I become a primadonna writer, I think I'll demand one. 🙂
Hope everyone's having a fun weekend!
>What I really care about before I write is having a relatively clutter-free desk. So I clear my space before I dive into writing. Of course I'd like my own writing studio facing the ocean, with a large antique desk.
>Computer, comfortable sitting place, music that inspires and light. That's all I really need. However, a tree house like this would be ideal: http://www.oshatz.com/text/wilkinson.htm – I've also always wanted to put a desk inside the canopy of a huge evergreen tree.
>My two requirements for a writing space: a desk and chair and lots of light! (Okay, that was three. But hey, I'm a writer, not a math-person.)
>Thanks for sharing your workspace, Rachelle. I was pleased to see a Labrador under the desk. When I'm working that's our black Lab's usual spot, too. I'm blessed to have the office space left over from when I ran a home-based business. It's a converted bedroom with a window that overlooks our rural back yard. (http://wp.me/phaYw-86)
In the summer I often take my laptop outside to work on the deck. I focus best in a quiet spot. Bird song doesn't disturb me but spiders occasionally do. (http://wp.me/phaYw-i)
My favourite writing retreat is our tiny lakeside cabin in northern B.C., a six hour drive from home. (http://wp.me/phaYw-ic) It's a wilderness area with no electricity or internet access but I have about five hours of battery life on my laptop and we have a generator for recharging.
I love seeing other writers' personal writing spaces. Have you explored Roald Dahl's writing hut? (http://www.roalddahlmuseum.org/discoverdahl/exploring/default.aspx)
>I enjoy hearing how other writers write. Two of my favorites were about Ernest Hemingway, who wrote in a garage next to his house… in the attic which you had to climb a ladder to get to… and he wrote standing up. He didn't want anyone bothering him. It seems like I heard someplace that Fitzgerald wrote standing up as well, but can't verify that one.
And then, Mario Puzo wrote "The Godfather" on a door placed over two sawhorses in his garage in Connecticut. When he achieved bestseller status and the movie was made, the studio gave him an office in LA and he found he couldn't write there. So, he went back to the door over the sawhorses and was able to write again.
I write in a room piled high everywhere with books and an overflowing trash can filled with coffee cups…
Blue skies–Les Edgerton
>What I love about my laptop is that my "office" can move. We live in the Smoky MOuntains of WNC and every room has a beautiful mountain view, or ridge view. I like to sit outside on the porch and write when it's warm. I do most my writing in the "Study" but when it's really cold, I move to the living room where the fireplace is.
Sometimes I create "nests" – where I have stuff all around me -*smiling*
>I have to be comfortable in order to be productive. If I'm not, nothing gets done because I just keep thinking about how uncomfortable I am. I get the most work done in a recliner or stretched out on my bed. And no – I don't fall asleep while working! (Okay, well, once I did.)
For professional work, like freelance writing or blogging (hehe), I have to be at my desk. Maybe because that's when I feel most writerly, even though it's not when I produce the most work. Or maybe it's because that's where the computer is, I'm not quite sure.
>I'm interested to see how many of you write with paper and pen. Ideas, schedules, to-do, lists and outlines…that's it for me. I nearly never write (proper) on paper. Sad, with all the sumptuous journals out there!
>At least one dog at my feet is a prerequisite for writing.
>I finally have a dedicated writing space. It's not much … but it's a start. Though I confess to still spending many early morning hours wrapped up in my quilt on the corner of my couch with pen and paper scratching out thoughts and questions, wonderings and – at times – wanderings. But, I do love my little space … you can see the pictures of it here … http://tlu2010pics.blogspot.com/2010/03/march-14-tls-new-office.html
For a description of that early morning quiet writing space, read here … http://www.pleasingtoyou.com/2009/08/its-quiet-in-my-house.html
>Love the Lab!
I have two writing spaces in my house. An office upstairs with a hard Ethernet connection and phone and another downstairs in what used to be the living room with no Internet or phone access (the wireless LAN doesn't seem to work) and lots of natural light. I tend to do copywriting upstairs and my personal fiction and nonfiction writing downstairs.
But my favorite writing space is a cabin at the Highlights Founders home in Pennsylvania – small desk, uncomfortable wooden chair, and great view. (www.highlightsfoundation.org)
>First, I love your Lab! We have a black one. I always write in the same spot–can't think with too much confusion going on and could probably never concentrate in a coffee shop. I have an upstairs loft in our log cabin. We live in the woods. I can see trees. That's all I need. I feel like a bird in her nest. 🙂
>hey there, i am a very messy writter i have stuff all over my room and all over my house, it really makes my mum angry. . woops. . . lol I have another space were i first found out that not everybody spreads their creativness across a entire house, it is on Tara Moss' blog, a fellow Aussie writer
>I migrate around the house with my lapdesk and laptop, but I do have a dedicated room: dedicated to my dogs, who have taken it over http://pamelahutchins.wordpress.com/about (scroll down a little). My favorite spots, beside my dogs' office, are in front of the fireplace and in a giant nest of pillows on my bed. I need to keep moving to keep the words flowing. Thanks everyone for sharing. I love looking at all the posts and pics!
>Yes, Jim. That is cool!
>I built a secret writing room accessed through the back of my youngest son's closet. It's so cool! Here's a pic from Linda Baldwin's post on author's writing spots: http://tinyurl.com/yglcpqm
>All I need is pen and paper, and preferably two hours without interruption, but I make do with what I have.
I refuse to even dream having my own writing space. I have three kids and live in a 1000 sq. ft condo. I can't even pee in my own space!
>Sadly, no I have no room of my own to write, and make do with a corner of the living room. When I really need to get work done, I go to either the local B&N, Starbucks, or library, for once I decide to write my family gets VERY talkative. sigh.
>How timely–today I just purchased two tables and a couple of storage cubes with a drawer and shelves. I am going to fashion a new workspace in my bedroom. Tomorrow I put it all together.
My very favorite picture of a desk was one I found in the Billy Graham Museum last year while I attended the Write-to-Publish conference. Billy Graham's desk was just as cluttered as mine is. That really made me feel good, especially since I officially accepted Christ while watching one of his crusades on tv many moons ago.
>We've been living with my in-laws for a year. A year. Whew! I have no space of my own anywhere! And with the bad internet out here, I've resorted to pen and paper that I can take with me anywhere, and I've found it to be inspiring, and refreshing, and I write more clearly and effectively that way – wherever I happen to be or find privacy! We're building a house and I'm planning shared creative space with my designer husband with lots of photos of places we love!
>I sure hope I don't need a room of my own to produce good work. Right now, with three kids and three bedrooms, I use my laptop and write on the bed, the couch, the car, the doctor's office–where ever I am when I get a few minutes to write.
>I write in my underwear with my two dogs by my feet, demanding cuddle time, in a clustered room with a computer on a messy desk. My dogs are my muse.
>Before I was married, I had a desk in my bedroom that I wrote at if I needed very heavy, intense concentration. But sometimes, especially if my mom or sister was playing the piano, I'd move myself and my paraphernalia into the living room and take over my brother's favorite chair. :0)
Now that I'm married, I have 8 hours a day when my husband's at work to write, do housework, read, whatever…and I also move restlessly to the couch, the bed, the desk and wherever. I'm also discovering I write much better when its noisy than when its a silent apartment. :0)
>Airports and airplanes are actually my most productive places to write. But I'll write just about anywhere. My favorite place is probably curled up in a chair when the rest of my family is fast asleep. For some reason, I can't write at a desk — probably because I already spend my days behind a desk. When I put on my writing hat, I want a new environment!
>I have a desk that's kind of a plank of varnished wood suspended between two wooden, what would you call them, cubbyhole cupboards? How it all got there is way too long a story, but it's basically like a library carrel, the kind that's between two rows of shelves. It's also in the hallway, so yeah: Room of One's Own, no. Oh, and the chair has a padded seat but no back.
I write there till I get real sunlight-deprived, and then I go out and write in the living room, on the second-least-comfortable chair, which is in a corner looking out at all the windows so there's no glare.
I think my second-least-comfortable chair and your desk chair have a lot in common, Rachelle. I think what we really look for is a sort of happy medium. A chair where you feel great as long as you sit up straight!
I think what a room of one's own symbolized for Virginia Woolf in her essay is having certain time free of others' demands on you. Our era compartmentalizes a lot more (all you need is laptop or headphones and they'll leave you alone!), so the room itself is no longer really necessary–unless we have kids, who don't believe in compartments they can't see! I don't yet. We'll see what happens… 😉
>Since my husband works from home he has claimed the office (which I guess is okay since he is the only one making money….so far…) and so I moved my old roll top desk into our bedroom. It is situated between two windows that look into our back yard and the hills beyond, and there is a (gas) fireplace nearby. It's a pretty nice place to work. But, like you, I have a very uncomfortable chair. So I often find myself sinking into the leather one in front of the fire. I can be pretty productive there, as long as I can stay awake.
>I have an artist's desk, a carryover from my brief flirtation with actually being an art student. Now it's my desk where I work if my laptop needs a charge. As for my dream space, well, I lust after Castle's home office every time I watch that show. (If only for the massive bookshelves and killer view of Manhattan.) I would love to work somewhere surrounded by my books, where all my research materials are within arms reach instead of buried in boxes two rooms away.
some of us
all our own.
© 2010 josie richards
>I'm still trying to convince myself and others that I'm actually a writer. My full time job takes up way too much of my time (but I love it too), so I write when I can and wherever I can most of the time. When I really want to focus for an extended period of time, I take vacation and go away on my own to write. Once was a hotel room in Miami Beach and next (soon) is a nice little guest house on the beach in Southern California.
>I have a gigantic bonus room devoted to my writing pursuits. My wonderful husband discovered our house last year, and as soon as he spotted the room with its built-in shelves and gorgeous decorative window, he knew it was meant to be. He chose that room for me, and now it's painted in a color I picked with books lining those shelves. He made a huge effort to make it my space, and it is. I love it. I do my best work there, although I do sometimes need a location change for writing. But I'm so lucky that he put me before himself.
>I do most of my writing on my laptop at the kitchen table. Not really comfortable, not facing our view. It works for me. The joy I find in writing is all in my head anyway. 🙂
>I dream of mental privacy. A mental room of my own. Maybe when my kids get older? In unrelated news, I have that same rolltop desk!!! (Did that declaration really warrant three exclamation marks?)
>I wrote my entire first novel sitting outside on the patio with my feet propped up on lawn chair because we don't have an ottoman out there. I use a cooler as a side table for my notes. Classy! But I guess it works. I live in Hawaii so even when it was raining (I'm covered), it was still nice. Plus, my puppy LOVES being outside, so while I write, he runs around.
I dream of a big wooden desk in front of a window overlooking some sort of nature (so that would be the park across the street) as my writing area. My puppy might not be so happy, though.
When I'm not outside I use our kitchen table as my desk. It works for now! I've been hinting to my husband about the kind of desk I'd like so maybe he'll pick up on it soon 😛
>I have taken over the dining table, despite having a desk in a room upstairs. I find the light and the view of the vineyards keep me focused. The goat lady waves to me, the farmer leaves me fruit for my brain if he sees me at my desk. If I was upstairs, I would miss those treats.
I have four dogs and a cat that keep me company.
This was the first post on my blog. It shows you the view I look at on a daily basis. http://www.glynissmy.com/2009/04/time-has-come.html
>I have a big comfy chair that's just for writing or reading, but lately I prefer writing at the kitchen table by the window or out on the patio swing. Rather than finding the views distracting, they get me out of the "I'm at home and need to do x" head space and into the day dreamy one that works for my writing time.
>When we decided to build our own house in the country, my builder husband suggested I draw the plan as well as be his labourer.
“What, me?” I asked with glee. I drew the plan alright, adding the gym he wanted, but I also added an office for myself. I didn’t tell him what the extra room was for, but he assumed it to be a dining room. Instead, I bought a computer and a desk and filled our bookcases with children’s books. I added a TV, video, sofa, cushions and lamps for reading time. I also collect unusual dolls, toys and stuffed animals and sit them on my desk.
Kangaroos and wallabies graze outside my window and ducks wade in our dam. There are meadows, hills and gumtrees in the distance and I have my dear old dad’s picture, smiling at me from my desk. Ah, bliss!
Now, I’ve added tubs of toys and a potty for the grandkids when they visit. They are my inspiration as well as the animals in my garden.
I’ll be adding a picture of my desk to my blog sometime soon.
I also love looking at other writers' desks and offices.
>My "writing space" is most often my room, though sometimes I venture to a coffee shop for a change of scenery. Usually my desk and room are a mess, and sometimes that helps… but sometimes it needs to be clean for me to focus.
As for a view, I'd love to have one, but I am also afraid I would respond the same way Chevy Chase does in “Funny Farm.” I get easily distracted. (Though perhaps if it’s a north facing view…)
Someday, when I eventually settle down somewhere, I'll designate a specific room for my writing and call it my office/library.
>I used to write on a couch with a laptop table, but my legs started going painfully numb. It was a numb that didn't go away after I stood up or changed my position. Turns out I have problems with my nerves. So sitting for any lenght of time is out.
I lay on my stomach on my bed and write there. Its not ideal..lol.. but its getting the job done.
I do dream of having a chair and ottoman, in the corner of my room that I can sit or .. lounge out on,but I dont know if it will work for me.
>Years ago when I was newly married I found an antique writing desk with leather inset and hand painted scrollwork at an estate sale. I ran home to get OK from my husband to buy it (no cell phone and not much money in those days). By the time I raced back to the sale, the desk was marked: SOLD. I was devastated, as was my favorite aunt who taught me to love antiques.
Two days later my aunt was at the grocery store where she bumped into a friend. Her friend mentioned she had purchased this antique writing desk over the weekend and sadly it was too big for her room. My aunt bought it on the spot, right there between the artichokes and the asparagus.
>I've taken over our big oak dining room table as my main writing space as I need a lot of room for my forensics texts and my piles printed scientific journal articles. I just need things to be handy, I guess. It's also a centralized location, so I can be writing or researching while cooking dinner or helping with homework or just be within easy call of my daughters.
But that being said, one of the things I love most about writing on a laptop is the range of places I can go to write — the University library or out on the campus green at lunch, sitting on my front porch or the living room loveseat or propped up in bed. I think the variety also helps to keep the writing fresh; it's not always the same old grind in the same old location so I never tire of it.
>One of two humble spots in our rent house:
1. A card table in the bedroom, stacked with books and paper, with just enough bare space for my laptop. The card table chair is most uncomfortable.
2. The tall kitchen table with high chairs, so my feet dangle while I write. Makes me feel like a kid again writing my silly stories and poems. 🙂
>I usually write on my back porch, on aging patio furniture, with my three dogs keeping me safe from squirrels.
>I actually am blessed to have my own room/study for writing. However…I hardly use it. 😛 It's easier for me to write on my netbook on the couch or even out of the house, like the local bookstore/coffee shop. If I use my study, I tend to get sidetracked by all the things on my desk and the fact that the study is generally a "junk room" where all of the stuff we don't have places for ends up.
I really should focus on using that room though…the desk is awesome and I have so much storage I could use. And hubby's bribed me…he's told me if I clean the room up, we can actually paint it the color I want (currently it's baby room yellow, as it was the previous owner's kid's room).
I have precisely 17 square feet behind the piano, of all places. In it are a semi-comfortable chair in which I sit to write with mechanical pencil on a yellow legal pad. Next to the chair is a temporary side table. It is temporary because it is made of the year's supply of copy paper I buy when it is on sale for 'back-to-school' specials. So, of course, it shrinks over time. In front of my chair sits a bookcase with everything else I might need–reference books, works in progress, and files I'm into a lot. I then have a small TV tray type table my son made that slides up to my chair when I'm using my laptop. On the other side of the piano is my filing cabinet with my printer on top of it.
Do I always work here? No. You will also find me at the kitchen table, the Lazy-Boy or the library.
>An actual ROOM of my own is a distant dream…I'm happy enough if I can find a space where I can be alone for a long stretch of time. Its extremely difficult for me to start writing if I know I'll be interrupted, and its almost impossible for me to write if I'm in the same room as my husband!
>I have a messy desk (with an uncomfortable chair, not the best plan ergonomically speaking) in the corner of the living room. Sometimes I write in the armchair with my partner (also a writer) across from me, or at a coffee shop with a group of other writers. Their presence keeps me focused, but I do my best planning work when I'm alone.
My favourite place to write is on retreat. My critique group rents a different cabin every summer and we do nothing but write for five or six days, while looking out at a lake or a forest or a pond. Love it. I dream of having a place like that to write in all year round.
If I can't have that, here's the next best thing: I stayed at a B&B that had a tiny bedroom up a half-flight of stairs behind the kitchen. Because of that physical separation, it would make a fantastic writing room. You'd go up the stairs and leave one world behind and enter the other.
>I have several spots set up for writing, and which one I use depends on who's home. Dining room, couch, bedroom.
A few years ago I did wall off a portion of my barn attic just for writing, which I still use occasionally. It's nice and quiet, almost too quiet. Sometimes while I'm up there I wonder if the rest of the world exists.
I had heart palpitations looking at your beautiful set up.
>As a writer, I live in two worlds: the world I'm writing about at the moment,and my real world of family, home, and work.
As writer's, we must live in both, one foot in each at all times.
We have a nice large home office in our basement that we've dubbed, "The Rabbit Hole". My husband's desk is at one end, and mine is clear across at the other.
When I go down the "rabbit hole",(the basement stairs), I enter the other world I live in, my world of writing. There is nothing to distract me, it's just computer and me, research, and sometimes a dog or two at my feet. Sometimes I'll write with a lit candle or two for the mood.
I like to write this way because I can leave it there when I'm done for the day, but return to it at anytime I wish. It doesn't distract me from my real world upstairs, and my real world doesn't distract my writing world down in the "hole".
To remain sane, I have to keep it seperate.
I do agree that with laptops, you can write anywhere. It's just hard to defeat the distractions of the real world above.
>I write in two places at the computer in my office and at the dining room table where I can see the garden outside.
As for my office, it may qualify for the messiest place prize … piles of paper around all the edges plus four full file cabinets.
>Top writing places lately:
1. At the top of the stairs (the top floor being the "desk," the stairs being the "chair").
2. Sitting in the bathroom on a stool, leaning against the closed door, while I wait for my 5yo to finish playing in the bathtub.
3. On the window seat.
4. When warmer weater comes…outside! On the grass, barefoot.
>Although I can take my laptop anywhere, and often do, my favorite place to write is at the library. After I drop the kids off at school, I head to the second floor and settle into the big upholstered chair next to the stained glass wall. The sun shines in and warms me as I write, bathed in quiet blues and greens.
>At my present home, my writing space is my bed. Occasionally the desk in the other room. Mostly my bed. I have visions for the writing ateliers to come, but they all include beds. 🙂
>I have a desk that could better be described as lots of pieces of random wood that I battled into a desk-like shape, nailed together… and then nailed into the wall – just in case. It's not just a desk, though. It also contains an extremely dusty portable television and an old Xbox, which (if possible) is dustier than the TV. Also somehow shoved onto this desk are tons of books, paintbrushes, pens (some which have no purpose whatsoever as they have run out of ink), candles, ornaments and, of course, my beloved laptop. It may also be noted that every vertical, square inch of wood is plastered with pieces of art, photos or notes. There are also several lever-arch files that contain notes and are stuffed in the hidden under-belly of my desk.
>When we moved to this house our beautiful office furniture didn't fit. The current office furniture is a hodge-podge and I'm not crazy about it. There's no view, just the side of the neighbor's house. A view would just distract me.
I share the room with my husband sometimes (usually he's at work)but plan to decorate with a writing theme one of these days–pictures of antique typewriters, a shelf for my antique inkstand, hang my writing awards, etc. Someday, when we can afford it, we'll buy new, matching office furniture and more bookcases. Always more bookcases. Meanwhile, I'm just happy to have a room!
>Well.. I could sit in the sitting room upstairs and have a view of the dordogne river at the end of the garden.. BUT I prefer to sit on my sofa in my converted basement cave which is now a kitchen/snug. Three dogs sit at my feet (flat coated retriever, Bearded Collie and a Gordon Setter).. they also provide useful distraction along with twitter button which is just to delicious to resist..
>I have a laptop so I work in the living room while family life goes on around me. The computer rests on the coffee table and I sit on the couch, competing for space with our two cats. I'm lucky that I seem to be able to write regardless of the TV being on, or my son playing with a noisy toy.
In an ideal world, I'd love an Irish cottage, preferably up in the Wicklow Hills, a cozy little room with a view onto the garden, an I-Pod speaker thingie, churning out good writing music and a limitless supply of good coffee, decent Irish Whiskey and Jolly Ranchers candy.
>in all seasons but winter, I sit in a dining table chair, with a laptop table I bought for 20 bucks in our 3-season porch. With screens from floor to ceiling and a beautiful view of trees I find it the most relaxing place to write. (In winter I don't get much done)
>The corner of my couch works for me, but I think that's just because when I'm home is the only time I'm comfortable, and the couch is the only piece of comfortable furniture (the bed is a little too comfortable). I write elsewhere if need be, but my couch is pretty quiet compared to the outside world.
>My home office features an array of decorations that includes crossed swords, shields, a medieval-looking desk and matching dark-wood bookcase, to name a few items. It's creative and inspiring. But sometimes I need a change, too, so I head over to Panera Bread with my laptop!
>One of the reasons I’m not too picky about where I write is because when I’m writing, reality dissolves and the scene closes around me in its place. Anyone who reads my blog knows I spend a lot of time writing in Ellen’s café, with the smell of the pastry shop wafting in from out front, the sound of customer’s eating, with the sun streaming in the large windows in the morning or the indirect light in the afternoon.
But I can’t always write in elegant places. I’ve written while aboard a train as it derailed. I’ve written in a room that smelled of urine. I’ve written while looking out over a sea of people and listening to their screams as they were shoved into hell. I wouldn’t be able to tell you were I was physically at the time because the memories of those places are much more vivid and seem so much more real than wherever my seat happened to be.
>I don't have a dedicated writing space. I write whenever I have time. In my room, outside, in the car, on a train, in a classroom. All over.
>I have two writing places. The primary is our home "office", where my wife used to work as a medical transcriptionist. It is arranged so that the computer is fairly near the center of the small converted bedroom, but the double windows to my left open to the front yard of our small town parsonage. I do all of my novel writing at this desk. Our black cat, Missy, often curls up at my feet
I only work on my novel on my days off. I consider it my second job, but I do get to write in my sweats and T-shirt!
The second is my regular church office where I work on my magazine assignments, sermons, and Sunday School curriculum. You can see that office in my profile picture.
>I have a roll top desk that looks almost identical to yours, but since I don't have a laptop I don't use it for writing. My desktop computer is on a cheap but spacious desk upstairs in what the realtor called "the library." It's barely big enough to hold my desk, two file cabinets and a lamp. It's really just a narrow, open hall overlooking the stairwell, so I use headphones to block out the sounds from the rest of the house. Has a geat view of the woods, but I'd love to have a laptop so I could write on my deck or enclosed porch. Someday.
>I'm on the road right now, so anyplace I can plug my laptop in works for me. I found an outlet on one of the beaches, and thought would make a great "office", what with the great scenery in front of me. However, that was not the case. Too many distractions. 😉
>I have an office with a big ole desk, and fairly comfy chair. . . but, I really love writing while sitting out on the patio in one of those lounger chairs!
Then I can smell my citrus trees, feel the warm, desert breeze, and breath in the fresh air.
I've been known to sit out there seven or eight hours straight…and even until two in the morning. . .
Great post, this is fun hearing about how other people have their spaces.
>My room is pretty much what I need. It's a study with bookshelves, a door that closes and a desk with a PC and printer(what more could I need?).
The chair is office functional (not too comfy, or I'll fall asleep in it), and the desk is covered in paper. This may sound like a mess (and is!), but it's all previous printed drafts, notes and competition entries.
I don't need the room but it's familiar and quiet, but I always carry a pad and pencil just in case though.
>I'm a stay-at-home mom, so the two days a week that all three kids have somewhere to go, I take advantage of the opportunity to get out of the house to tackle my writing. (If I stayed at home, I'd be distracted by dirty dishes and laundry and such.) So on these days, I hop around to the various coffee shops and restaurants in town that offer free Wi-Fi. I like being around all the people, but since I don't know them, I'm not distracted by them. I get lots of work done this way while also enjoying coffee and food that someone ELSE gets to prepare and clean up!
>Right now, I write at my kitchen table. Since we recently redid the kitchen, It's my serenity place, so it works well. As soon as I can convince my hubby to add another room onto the house, I envision a writing room with a metal circular staircase going up to a loft where I will write.
My secondary place is once a week at the Starbucks in town. I seem to get more work done there without the distractions of little people who are always asking for juice, food or to button or unbutton something.
>For some reason the link did not work – sorry! For photos of my cringe-worthy office and the explanation of how it came to be, just click on my name.
>The picture of your desk shows one of the reasons why I don't use mine very often … the dog gets in the way. :o)
My desktop computer doesn't get very much writing time out of me. It's mostly used for paying bills and farting around on the internet. My laptop is the one that gets all my creative stuff.
For me my real office is my iPod. As long as I have that to help me block out the sounds from the real world, I'm good to go.
>I have an office and I still end up writing here!
I write best in the deep dark.
Steven King was amusing on this, comparing his "success" desk with his snug corner under the eaves.
>I wrote a blog post recently about my space, or lack thereof. Photographs included. Prepare to cringe. http://whatwomenwritetx.blogspot.com/2009/10/room-of-my-own.html
>I use my small square kitchen table. On the right is my son's playpen and on the left is my daughter's highchair.
I keep a big fat notebook under my keyboard so I type on a slant.
My kitchen window is gigantic, half covered by a forest green sheet (yes I'm that person), and looks out on a gigantic sandbox that my complex kids play in.
I can write, cook, entertain my son, feed my daughter, and have nice scenery all in one go.
>I have a 6 month old golden retriever who lays at my feet under my desk. Ah, the love of a dog.
I have a desktop computer, so I do all my work here.
>Working from Starbucks everyday would be ideal, however I cannot afford Starbucks everyday. I usually work from my couch which doesn't always work out for me. Occasionally I drive to my parents house and work from their couch. I need to switch it up from day to day. I'm not an office person. I'd rather write sitting on the floor.
>My writng space is in the living room where my three little boys yell, fight and throw toys on the floor. Writing happens here at night when little people go to bed and on nights I don't soon follow.
>I would love to have my own space–maybe an office with a view of a garden. I live in a small city apartment and I mostly write on the family computer or on my netbook. I think I could be happier and more productive if I had a space of my own, but…Perhaps this summer I'll take the netbook outside and write in my backyard (it's tiny but has tall walls like a secret garden).
>I'm the opposite when it comes to the comfy chair. Because I have a bone disease, sitting in a hard, upright chair quickly becomes uncomfortable and I get distracted by my discomfort. When the kids are at school, I write on our comfy sectional couch with my laptop. My "office" is a table in our bedroom with a padded rocker next to it. I sit there on Saturdays, when I work all day while my husband has kid duty. I have a sign I Velcro to my door that says "Mom at work. Do not disturb."
The NY Times real estate section had a feature several months ago on a novelist (I can't remember who!) who had a home office plus a separate writing room. Her writing room had its own laptop with no Internet access, a bed with a plain white spread (where she sat with her laptop), and no pictures or decoration at all. She used her home office for the business of writing and household management, and the distraction-free writing room for writing. That would be my ultimate set-up!
>I ditto Lisa Jordan's recommendation of Deb Raney's writing room! Click on the link, you will LOVE the pics!
We built our house 16 years ago, and basically designed it ourselves. (Yes, with an architect's help, but with all our great ideas thrown in.) We own a web design firm, so both of us work from the house. Usually, we work in the same room, which was designed to be the home office. The windows look out over the old-fashioned front porch and the neighbor's pond, a cool view.
But I also have a wonderful built-in-desk, designed by us, in the long hallway between the kitchen and laundry room. The idea, when the kids were young, was that it would be CLOSE to them and whatever havoc they were causing in the kitchen and CLOSE to the dryer when it buzzed, but a bit separate, too. I love it!
On a lark one day, I set up a third workspace in our bedroom. I call it my Deb Raney Wannabe desk.
If I can find the cord for my camera, I'll post pics of my hall desk, too.
Fun topic, Rachelle!
>"Another thing I've learned is that I need a fairly uncomfortable chair in order to be productive."
Wow. I thought I was the only one. In fact I never like sitting in a comfy chair.I'm almost always sitting in an upright chair or on the floor even to "relax."
But definitely when writing–it's a great way to focus.
>I have no 'dedicated' writing space–where my laptop happens to be is where I write. So, I write at my kitchen table, on the couch, in bed, even going down the road on a trip (with husband driving of course.) Most of the first two drafts of my current project that I'm putting the finishing touches on were done sitting in the drivers seat of my pickup truck–on lunch break from my J.O.B. at the time.
If I had my druthers, I'd probably have an office (I do have an office, I just don't use it) but it would have a view. As it is, my office looks over my driveway and into two neighbor's yards. If it could look out at mountains… which are difficult to find in my home state of Kansas!
>I love the idea of an office and hope someday I get one, but right now I can write anywhere. 🙂 As long as I have my trust laptop with me. LOL
>I have my office, which I absolutely love. An armoire desk, a wall of bookshelves, my favorite art pieces here, there, and everywhere, my collection of pewter wizards, pictures of family and animals, and all that jazz. But, I normally write at the kitchen table where I have a view of the backyard and all the critters that like to play there – rabbits and squirrels, a chipmunk or five, cardinals galore, sparrows, finches, chickadees, woodpeckers, bluebirds, robins, and more. Then there's the hawk that comes to visit every now and then, a deer passes through, and a wild turkey or two. Nope, don't live in the country, just the outskirts of the city, but nature seems to co-exist pretty well. Oh, and there's a raccoon that comes to visit every now and then. Yeah, I know, I should be writing and not staring out the window, but it provides comfort. : )
>I have my own room now with my writing desk. It is the best thing I've done since 1) marrying 2) having first child and 3) having last child.
So.. number 4 on my list of best things.
Own room. Fab. Utterly fabulous.
>For many years, my writing space was a rickety card table. I'd unfold the table, set it up wherever, and unpack my manual Royal typewriter. I graduated to an old kitchen table, then a desk shoved in a tiny corner of the living room. Today, 20 years later, I've got my own office with almost 280 degrees of windows overlooking the gardens. Am I more productive? Not sure. Happier? Yes!
>I have an office and I like it in the morning when the sun streams in the single small window, but later in the day I can't bear to think the sun is shining while I sit in shadows.
Most of my biggest and best writing didn't take place in my office, but in my master bedroom and at the library. My mother-in-law moved in with us for a season and my office became her room while all of my stuff moved to our bedroom. During that time I wrote an entire curriculum, but it was okay because the master bedroom has four big windows with sun streaming in at all hours of the day.
I love the library because- you guessed it- of the large windows that allow me to write and look out on a small pond while sunshine warms my hands. Also, I love the quiet, but with other people quietly working in the same place. I don't like to feel alone, even when I write.
>My office is my laptop! Ah, technology, I can take you anywhere!
I do technically have an office that I'm typing in right now. But I've been known to take my laptop everywhere in the house and even outside of it.
Whereever my laptop is located, there shall I write!
But in a dream world – I would live in a house like that house in Alaska in The Proposal and I'd have an awesome scenic view of the mountains.
>I have a small office with a roll top desk and wooden chair (mine has arms). I am the most productive when I write in that dedicated space.
However, I do have a laptop but I'm not as productive in any other room.
>Wow! I have that desk! Ours was made by an Amish family. We even have that chair.
>I love looking at pictures of peoples' writing studios. Deb Raney's studio (click on Deb's Studio) is gorgeous.
Love your roll top desk, Rachelle!
Most of the time, my office tends to be the large overstuffed leather chair with matching ottoman in the corner of our living room. Sitting there with my MacBook allows me to be accessible to my family, but if I need to focus on a scene, I put in my earbuds and listen to music on iTunes.
I have a writing desk in the corner of our large bedroom where I keep my writing books, files, and printer, but it's such a mess right now that I haven't used it in a while. I need to get it cleaned up so I can storyboard my next novel.
>I do have a desk where I do a good bit of writing. It's just a plain ol' writer's desk on one wall of my bedroom. There really isn't room for it… but we made room:-) Funny though, I think I worked better at times when I was sitting w/ my laptop on my rocking chair in the living room (if the kids weren't around of course) or lounging in bed with my laptop desk. I think partially because I sit at a desk ALL day long with my day job… so coming home and sitting at a desk… yeah, not so appealing! I think it'd be different if my day job was writing (ha, I know, dreams…)
>I have a wee writing cabin.
My husband built it — and the kids pitched in.
Scroll to the first picture to see the completed cabin here.
There is nothing like having a place to go write at the end of the world.
When I was on deadline for my first book with Zondervan this past January, I lived in the little cabin, it's little electric fireplace flickering away, the wind moaning away outside.
The words come in the quiet.
I'll never be able to thank my husband enough for giving me a whole home of my own for words….
>I have had different office spaces through the years, and I love the one I have now, but I covet a door. I think I'd leave it open most of the time, but the option to close it would be a luxury.
My dream office has big windows a wrap-around desk with lots of shelves above it. It has a 17 inch Macbook on it too! I like to dream big!
>I have a beautiful roll top desk that I love… and never use. It is covered with all sorts of clutter that I don't know where else to put. I can close it and no one sees, but opening it could easily trigger an avalanche!
I write sitting on our couch in the living room with a laptop. I am smack in the middle of the television playing sports, my girls playing/fighting, and my 12 year-old Australian shepherd rubbing her head against my feet like a cat.
I manage to tune it out pretty well. Our house has an office. For now, it serves as a playroom but, someday,*sigh* someday.It will be mine.:)
>I don't have a desk, but I do have my own laptop (finally). I write everywhere, literally. On the couch after the kids are in bed, locked in my bedroom when the kids are awake, at the library, Barnes & Noble, or even while sitting in the car waiting for the kids to finish whatever.
I find the most important thing for me to maintain focus is to be away from the TV and the kids. Love them to pieces, but they will completely ignore me until the laptop takes position on my lap, then they suddenly need my services.
>I love your dog! We have a yellow lab puppy who naps at my feet while I write on my corner of the couch. I know I've been ignoring her too long when she pokes her head up and puts her nose in the spot between my leg and the arm of the couch. Sometimes she gets the keyboard, which can be kind of funny.
>I haven’t noticed that it particularly matters where I write. I’ve got a room that passes as an office and I wrote quite a bit in there, until I bought a laptop. Most of For the Love of a Devil was written on a plane somewhere between DFW and Hartsfield-Jackson International. After my traveling tapered off, I wrote either from the Lazy-Boy or from the dinning room table. But I ended up with an old table that my grandfather used as workbench. I restored it to almost its former glory and it is sitting in my living room because I haven’t cleaned up the office enough that I can move it in there yet. So, my laptop is sitting on it. At least I can watch the basketball games while I write now.
My dream writing spot would be in the big room of a large house with a wall of windows overlooking a valley covered with trees. Or a gazebo sitting next to a spring fed stream. I doubt I would write any better that way, but one can dream.
>When we moved three years ago, we took a small bedroom and set it aside as "my" office. Three years later I have to pick through everyone else's stuff to get to the desk, which is usually occupied by someone other than me. I have a bunch of boys, so I'm thinking I need to paint the room pink and put up a bunch of flowers and stuff to keep them away. My only problem? I hate pink and it would probably keep me away too.
>Every morning from 6-8AM I go to Panera Bread Company and write with a chocolate chip muffie (as a guy, I hate writing that) and hot tea.
I hope to one day have a quiet place at home that my six children won't penetrate. I'm eyeing a coat closet in our bedroom that has a window.
>I write wherever I can. Thank God for my laptop. But if I want to write in silence (well, relative silence anyway. I have three kids and run a daycare.) I go to my garage.
No desk, just comfy old patio chairs and a little table. I have a space heater in the winter, and the moles to keep me company. **Shudders** My husband has promised a 'real office' with a real desk as soon as I sign someone's dotted line. How nice of him.
>In a fit of insanity I went and bought myself an imac a few months ago. The thing is gorgeous. I have nowhere of my own to put it though, so it lives in the dining room, on the dining room table.
We have a small box room upstairs which is tiny. My husband's computer is up there and I would love to turf him out but that is his nook where he can escape my thousands of books!
>I think that roll-top desk in your picture is the same my grandmother had at her old house… brings back so many memories! I wonder whatever happened to it…
My writing space usually ends up being my bed, though I move around to various places with soft cushions and blankets and at least one spot with a ceramic seat and a nice large hole in the middle. Yes, TMI, but why waste that time? 😛
>Right now I sit on the couch with a tv tray to place my laptop on because we don't have space to write. It's okay but a bit uncomfortable. I have found my grandmother's house a better place to write because there is an uncluttered desk with a good chair that is at the right height so it doesn't bother my back. I can write anywhere but it would still be nice to have a decent place to sit and write.
>I do have a desk. An old fashioned replica in the style of those that have hidden drawers and compartments from the Federal era. I do love the mystery of hidden spaces. But I don't HAVE to be there to write. I write pretty much anywhere. It's not so much the where but the quietness and the free time and space. And it's actually not "write" but "compose."
I almost always have a dog or three sleeping around me when I write. I think we all feel comfortable during those times but, maybe, I need them more than they need me.
But in all actuality, most of my "writing" is done away from the desk and keyboard. I do most of it in my head while I am giving massages. The creativity just flows. Finally, I need to sit down at a keyboard, any keyboard…any where and get it out of my head as ephemera and into form to be maniputlated in the most suitable way.
>I have a desk about like Rachelle's photo where I do my writing on the computer. Rarely I'll write elsewhere.
Once God spoke a strange name to me…and told me to give him $500 cash. It ended up being a very poor missionary about to board a plane with only 42 cents to his name. He needed $500 for food and lodging for his family on a 5 day stop-over in a city on their trip to New Guinea.
Ten years later I was about to write about that happening for my book. STRANGELY, I was compelled to handwrite it in our living room. The split second I marked down the final period; I heard a noise. I glanced out to see the mailman slamming my mailbox shut. I walked out to find a letter from that missionaey. He said,"After 10 years, God compelled me to write you a second letter of thanks."
I was happy to write somewhere different, to receive that sign from God. Then, I was back to my computer.
>I forgot to add, my golden retriever (who I just had shaved) looks just like your lab. He's by my feet no matter where I'm writing. He's good to bounce idea's off, and he hates my first drafts almost as much as I do.
>OK Rachelle, I've got desk envy now. You've got three to my none. I write at the kitchen counter (where I tend to stray onto social networking sites), the dining room table (where I am prone to have bouts of genius ;), and the couch (where I occasionally view reality TV and somehow manage to leave it out of my WIP).
Have a great weekend!
>My current writing space is wherever I happen to be when my baby boy falls asleep for longer than five minutes!
I do have a little desk in our bedroom I use to write. Although I'd love a roll-top desk!
>Right now, my writing spot is in the kitchen, at the table, because I can look out at the water. When I move next month, I have no clue where that will be!
>I have what my husband jokes as "the sewing room". There is no sewing machine in it, no needles or thread. It's just my office. I've painted the room a horrible avocado green and it has no view. The lack of view is a good thing though. If I have something wonderful to look at, I do.
In winter I love to sit on the couch, open up the windows and write in the warm sunlight. I also like to take my trusty pen and notepad and go on picnics where I to "power write". That is, I just hand write a whole bunch of ideas and thoughts without worrying about how it's spilling out.