How Does Your Writing Space Stack Up?
What does a writer need to write? What kind of writing spaces do authors create? The UK’s Guardian takes a look inside more than 50 authors’ offices in a series called Writer’s Rooms. Each author describes their space — complete with little quirks and hangups — accompanied by a picture. Some are clean, some not. Some are minimalist, some almost baroque. All offer an interesting peek inside the minds of their creators, including folks like Martin Amis, Alain de Botton, Seamus Heney, Margaret Drabble, and John Mortimer (who, as the creator of the drinkingest lawyer around, won’t surprise you with his admission that he keeps a shelf of drinks handy).
I have a home office hewn out of a walk-in closet — I built in a wall-length desktop (at 32″ high — I always find typical desks, which are usually 30″, a tad too short for my tall-guy knees) and some wall-mounted bookshelves to supplement the closet shelves already there, threw in some storage cubicles, file cabinet, and another bookshelf for good measure, and replaced the inward-opening door with a curtain. When it’s clean, it’s gorgeous, but since I’m the kind of guy that is afraid that he’ll forget about anything he can’t see, it’s not usually very clean.
To be honest, though, I’m a write-anywhere kind of guy. I do probably 60% of my writing on my laptop at the dining room table or on a reclining chair in the garage (where I can smoke), and another 20% or so in various faculty lounges at the different campuses I teach at, or on my Alphasmart in bed, or even on my Palm in waiting rooms and park benches around campus. That leaves my home office for only about 30% of my sum total of writing, which is a shame, really. If I kept it clean, I’d probably spend more time there, don’t you think?
I will, of course, spare you the trauma of seeing a picture of the space. I’m trying to be helpful here!
I am so not a write anywhere kind of guy. Tried it, consistently failed. Give me my office, my chair, my computer, I’ll be sweet. 😉
I think the “Writer’s Rooms” link has a ” at the end that shouldn’t be there. Can you check it?
Thanks, Fritz. It was actually missing the quote at the front, so the one at the end was un-matched. Fixed it now.
Joel: I’ve moved so many times in my life, and have always had such a chaotic schedule, that I’ve had to become a work-anywhere guy out of sheer necessity. When I lived in NYC, I would write papers for grad school on my Palm IIIe while taking the subway to work, my left hand hooked around a support pole and my right hand furiously scribbling Graffiti into my Palm Pilot. You gotta do what you gotta do!
That said, I spend more and more time lately in my closet-turned-office. We’re moving soon and I’m really going to miss my 6 square meters of bad feng shui. We have my bro-in-law and his two kids staying with us this last couple months, and my office has turned into a sanctuary of sorts — my poor laptop misses me!
The published members of the Rose City Romance Writers (Portland, OR chapter of Romance Writers of America) are currently blogging about their writing spaces. Come take a peek at:
Offices are great. There are some kinds of writing I can do anywhere, but not the more involved types – ie anything that requires concentration.
I feel you on the Palm Pilot. Tried using my iPaq to take notes in a class on compression (the processing you use in Pro Tools when mixing audio, not the techie kind) but not good when the engineer talks that fast.
I have a nice little office in my house by the front door. This way I can come right to the door when a package or service person arrives plus watch the kids come and go. I’d like it to be a little bigger.
Regardless, I think it’s helpful for full-time freelancers to have a space to go so they feel like they’re in work mode. When I don’t feel well, I just rest on my bed with my laptop. Quite comfy.