Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dreaming of Pretty: Writing Desks

When I was in my last year of university, my early Canadian literature professor invited the whole class to his home for a potluck of traditional Canadian food. I made an apple crisp that, by the time I arrived, didn't look so crispy after sliding around in my back seat for way too long. Towards the end of the evening, he lead us down to his basement. It wasn't a particularly high basement and not brightly lit. It wasn't particularly beautiful in any way. Except for this: it was full of books. Snaking aisles of books stacked on makeshift, overflowing bookshelves, one after another, after another. And, tucked into the corner, a desk. It was all he needed: a room full of books and a little desk.


When I first embarked on my NaNoWriMo journey (NaNoWhat? Catch up! I'm writing a novel!), I had big plans to turn our dining room into a writing room. After all, I need a good place to write, right? For the first few days, I did write in the dining room. I dragged my pretty upholstered chair up to the table, piled it high with pillows and encouraged the kitty to sit on my lap while I typed away. It was a good place to write: separated from the house, but not so far away that I felt alone, away from the distraction of the TV, but no so far from the steady spousal presence watching said TV. 

I got a lot of words written in those first few days, on that first weekend.


And then, I started taking my laptop along with me to work, bundling it into my bag, pulling it out on the subway and writing like mad for my 20 minute jaunt north. I get a lot of words written this way, so many, in fact, that in the evenings, I only need to write about 300 words. Somewhere along the way, I stopped sequestering myself and started pecking away at my word count in the evenings while watching old episodes of the X-Files on Netflix with the Husband. 

Then, on Sunday, I attended a write-in I was invited to at the Random House offices in downtown Toronto. I sat in a proper chair for four hours and didn't get a sore bum. I sat at a board room table of an appropriate height. I plugged in my headphones and listened to some random Songza channel. Four hours. 3600 words. I left with a new appreciation for an appropriate writing environment.


Unfortunately, as pretty as they are, it's not likely that any one of these offices or writing desks would cut it. Ergonomically comfortable chairs are not what I call attractive. My little club chair doesn't cut it, being both too short and too squishy to sit properly at a desk. One day, when I have a dedicated office space, I'll invest in one of those ugly, uber-comfy office chairs. I'll fill the room with books and all the other little things that make me happy but don't necessarily fit into the scheme of the rest of the house. 

Do you have a dedicated office? What do you need in order to be the most productive, the most creative you can be?

12 comments:

  1. I write my blog posts (no NaNoWriMo jaunts for me!) at my "dining room table", which is really just a folding ikea table. I have a hard wooden chair with a hard cushion, but it suits me just perfectly! I sit there all evening with no pain. Maybe less-squishy is the key?

    PS- I have an ergonomical work chair. It is amazing but I agree that they are not pretty....Plus is cost like $1200 :|

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  2. Martina@ BuildingbeautyNovember 20, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    I don't have a dedicated office (yet) but some day I hope to have my own studio (right now my drafting table and easel have taken up residence in the basement bonus room). In order to create & produce at my best I need to be sequestered from the rest of the house & family unit. I need to get into the proper mind set, which doesn't have room for distractions. Comfort is a key element, but so is light (and deadlines).

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  3. A room full of books with a tiny desk sounds like the most wonderful space to work. I currently blog & work from either the dining room table or family room couch. Depends on my mood and how much I need to get done haha

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  4. I too dream of the day I will have my own dedicated work space at home. for now, both Bryan and I have our desks set up on one side of the living room (couches and tv on the other side). It's distracting and not ideal. But great on the days that one of us works from home and the other works on campus (or, somehow, we're both working and not participating in leisure activities such as watching tv). One day, I hope to have a larger desk with room for both computing and writing, lots of book storage, and a comfy reading chair!

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  5. I don't know if less squishy is the key. I have wood dining room chairs but they most certainly don't cut it. My own office chair at work isn't terrible, but I can't stand it for too long.

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  6. Ah, deadlines! That's a whole other point, and probably playing a huge role in my own ability to be creative so consistently the past 2.5 weeks!

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  7. My prof's space was not huge, but that's exactly what it was! Just books and a little desk. He was in no way interior-design minded, but it was seriously beautiful just to see so many books together!

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  8. Ha! Funny! I'm pretty well the opposite! I want a SMALLER desk. I do all my writing on a laptop, so all I need is a space for the laptop and my coffee cup. I wouldn't want something TOO small, but too big just gets full of clutter. Total agreement though on the lots of books and the comfy reading chair! Or, even better, a reading couch! Thanks for dropping by! :D

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  9. I only have an office at work, where I sit in what I call my 'Dr. Claw' chair (Inspector Gadget anyone?). It suits my very non-pretty, typically corporate office and I like that the back is so high it kind of helps block out any distractions. It's also good for leaning back, scrunching up the brow and possibly spinning in a circle while searching for the right words (my job requires a lot of writing, though not the novel kind). Wow, I think you just made me miss my ugly office chair ;)

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  10. My house is pretty small, no room for a dedicated office. boo. When I was going back to school I set up a space in my dining room, at the table. I hated it because it needed to be packed up so we could have dinner. Ideally I would LOVE to have a space lined with books, inspiration boards and my own girlie dodads and whatsits that I love that my hubs doesn't want displayed elsewhere. I would super love to have my own room/nook where I could have all my scrapbooking/cardmaking/crafting goodies out, my printer set up and just room to play.

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  11. The sad struggles of tiny-home owners... We don't use our dining room much so, in theory, I probably could just steal the whole space for my office. Except, no doubt we would then want to invite a whole bunch of people over and I would have to dismantle everything again. One day, we will get our own little nooks!

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  12. I want a Dr. Claw chair! Even if it's not pretty.

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