I am fascinated by other people’s work spaces, maybe even a bit obsessed, especially if those people are writers. (It’s second only to my addiction to examining the bookshelves in every house I visit).
I love taking a peek and seeing whether the setup reflects my view of them or their writing. Like the romance author whose clean-lined minimalist home office, all spotless metal and white surfaces, surprised me by being pretty much the opposite of Barbara Cartland pink fluff. Or the environmental /earth-mother writer whose cluttered but completely charming corner is crammed with natural objects, family treasures and pieces of quirky art in just the way I would have pictured it.
Maybe you share my obsession? If not, you might want to skip this post. Because it’s all about my current writing space: what’s there, what’s missing, and how it all works together. I’ve done my best and most productive writing here, and I’ve spent the past year or so refining just what gets to stay and exactly where it lives. I absolutely love it. So, if you’re still with me, welcome to my little writing corner.
The location is our spare room. My husband has a desk in here too, and there’s a wardrobe and a sofa bed for guests. But this is the important bit! My very own creative space that no one touches but me.
Please ignore the walls – when they finally get finished is out of my control. Everything else, however, is just the way I like it, including the big window just out of shot to the right. When I’m sitting in my chair, I can see a section of my garden, and I feel this is essential. I plunk myself down each morning while it’s still dark out there (shout out to @6amAusWriters on Twitter!) and as I write I listen to the birds and enjoy the first light of dawn along with them.
Let’s take a closer look at the other components. Warning: I am going into the level of detail I’d love to see from other writers (obsessed, remember?) Feel free to skim if you’re more normal.
Well, it’s huge – 120cm wide and 80cm deep. We bought it second-hand for my son when he was in high school and this was his bedroom, but he left it behind and now it’s mine, baby, all mine! It’s old and shabby rather than antique, but it fits all my stuff on top and has 4 drawers that go all the way back.
My HP Pavilion laptop running Windows 10, and a second screen – an old AOC monitor we had lying around. I love having dual screens. I set up my Scrivener file on one and any relevant notes, webpages, spreadsheets etc on the other, and away I go. I also have a wireless keyboard and mouse as a result of The Great Coffee Spill of 2020 that wiped out my laptop’s built in ones. Still looking for a replacement.
So, so many books! Here’s a breakdown:
This is my Leuchtturm 1917 dotted Bullet Journal, without which I would be totally lost. It has all the non-writing things I need to remember, plus multiple lists, habit trackers and a daily log of appointments and jobs that I get to tick off once they’re done.
Here are the spiral notebooks I use in my morning routine every day: Morning Pages, Prayer and Bible Journal, and Writing ‘Treadmill’ (where I log hours, number of words, scenes and chapters completed, etc.). I used a spreadsheet for the last one for a while, but right now I’m enjoying the physical version. The other piece of paper is a list of what I want to analyse as I go through each scene of this revision.
The smaller notebooks here are ones I use for making notes for short stories, blog posts, courses I’m working through or books I’ve read, ideas for current and future novels, and so on. Yes, I am addicted to notebooks. The three tall binders contain “story bibles” for my novels – the green one for Greenhaelan, the Blue one for Skalsinger and the copper one for Charm Shaper. Inside are printouts of my character profiles, maps, timelines, information about the world and the magic system, and so on. Again, I have these things as computer files, but sometimes I prefer flipping through a binder.
IN AND OUT TRAYS
Hidden away at the back and not pictured separately because they’re boring. These are not writing related but are just for general household organisation – bills and other paperwork I need to process. I use the desk for that too.
Let’s be honest, this is just a small portion of my stationery stash – there’s’ a lot more in the drawers. But I use these in my journals and I just love seeing them every day. On top are pens, pencils and felt tip markers. Washi tape, scissors, glue, erasers and sharpeners live it the clear drawers underneath.
QUIRKY OBJECTS AND ORNAMENTS
None. Honestly, I tried, but they get in the way, both on the desk and in my head, and I don’t need them, not here. Everything in this space is about reading and writing and that’s the way I like it.
Again, doesn’t work for me. I have nothing against writers or artists who need messy desks to feel creative and productive and comfortable, I’m just not one of them. I’d never want to work on an empty, sterile surface, mine is pretty full as you can see, but everything has a place and goes back there when I’ve finished using it. My husband’s desk is just the opposite, covered with unstable piles of papers, books, cables, gadgets, CDs, coffee cups, and the odd piece of headwear. We share most things, and I’d give him a kidney if he needed it, but I’ll never willingly share a desk with him.
I left the best for last. Every time I gaze at this it puts a smile on my face. And it makes me feel like a real writer, even a creative artist. It’s half corkboard and half magnetic whiteboard and I rearrange and change it at times, but at the moment it contains character pictures for Skalsinger (the novel I’m working on now) on the left, and images on the right that relate directly to the story (eg the painted caravan and the soaring albatross) or just give me the right feels (the pastel chalk drawing of magpies by Shaun Tan and the beach photograph I took when we were camping). I used to use the whiteboard part for To Do lists and word counts, but this is much better. I spend a few moments with it before I settle down to write and I’m immediately in the world of my story, and happy to be there.
So that’s it, more than you ever wanted to know about my writing space. I’d love to see other bloggers do a post like this. Or just tell me in the comments: what do you love about your workspace?