Although I’ve occasionally written something longhand in a notebook, if I write anything at all when I’m away from my desk, it tends to be notes – an aide memoir about a thought which popped unexpectedly into my head, or an item to be researched at a later date. I’ve also trained myself to think that it’s writing time when I’m sat at my desk.
That said, there’s very little about my desk that says “a writer works here”. My desk is very much a multi-purpose space – somewhere I do my day job providing support at an IT company, where I sit while doing my second job providing life coaching to my clients via Zoom, where I do all my personal and home admin. It’s also where I process my photographs, where I write my blogs (one life coaching, one personal, and this one), and it’s where I write fiction.
One wall of my office is lined with bookcases, positively groaning with books and yes, there’s a fair few on the craft of writing and publishing (perhaps one day I should review them). But there are also books on a variety of other topics (hence the groaning shelves). My office also stores the large pool of camera equipment I share with my partner.
But there are writerly aspects…
I’ve a simply beautiful antique writing slope which my partner bought me for Christmas a few years ago, which I really want to set up somewhere it can both be displayed and used for it’s original purpose. It currently sits on some shelving next to my desk and, whenever I see it, it makes me smile. I really rather like the idea of getting a quill or some form of dipping pen for it’s inkwell. One day…
Despite the fact that I now write my stories straight to screen, I have two large pots of pens & pencils – multiple colourful ballpoints and felt-tips pens, as well as many an ink pen. To date, I’ve three shades of ink – black, magenta and jade green. I love them all and feel sure I’ll be adding more, for they are gorgeous and I really enjoy the feel of writing with ink onto quality paper – it has a way of slowing down my thoughts, and that causes quite unexpected things to appear.
That leads nicely onto the dangerously swaying piles of notebooks on my desk – one pile of small (A5) and one of large (A4). There’s a mix of soft covers and hardbacks, ring binders and fully bound, all in multiple colours and patterns of cover. I intended to implement a system for their use, but have failed miserably to date. Instead, I regularly flip through them, either looking for something specific, or just to check what I may have forgotten (quite a lot as it turns out).
One item which really gives me the “I’m a writer” feels is the old black Anglepoise lamp sitting on the right-hand corner of my desk. It sheds a lovely warm pool of light across my desk, and creates a cosy atmosphere which feels more writerly than business-like. To add to the cosy atmosphere, when its time to do some writing, I put on one of my father’s old wool cardigans – oversized, rolled up at the wrists, and with holes which need darning. I’ve no idea if famous authors wore such things, but I feel more writerly when wearing one.
There’s also always a mug of tea – either Chai or Earl Grey – for tea is my fuel. In the background are the latest drawings from my grandchildren, and I try to keep space in the corner for a small sprig or two of something in a little glass vase from my daughter.
To the side of my desk, I have an inspiration board leaning against the wall. It’s filled with a selection of images and words cut out from magazines, together with a sprinkling of gold stars (someone sent me them and they seemed just the thing to add). It’s there to remind me of the life I’m working towards… one in which a writing shed plays a starring role.
What’s in your Writing Space? If you don’t have a dedicated space, what might make somewhere your ideal Writing Space?