While I prefer to spend my writing time at local coffee shops, spending all that money on coffee really adds up. And unfortunately, there are no 24 hour coffee shops in Milwaukee (that I know of) so sometimes I have to do my writing at home.
My wife and I aren’t rolling in money so right now we’re still renting a 1 bedroom apartment and I doubt that will change anytime soon. Because of this I am not lucky enough to have an entire office to myself for doing writing work.
But my wife was kind enough to give me full ownership of the desk in our living room, as well as partial ownership of the bookshelf next to it. I’ve been working on transforming it into a space that inspires me to get work done.
So, I’m not gonna lie, this desk isn’t great. It’s not the most sturdy and the height is awkward for typing (though it may be my height). For years this desk was a breeding ground for stray papers - post it notes we’d had for months, junk mail, old grocery lists - pretty much everything we didn’t know what to do with ended up here. As you can see though it is now a clean workspace, and that’s forced us to not let our papers pile up as well.
I have a large open space for my laptop with extra room on either side of it. I usually have a cup of coffee beside me as I write, since it seems I can’t focus without it. This still gives me space for a notebook if I need it, though usually I only use one when I am editing.
Along the wall of the desk is where I keep my writing essentials. I have post it notes and pens for practical use, but most of the stuff on my desk is for inspiration. The Writer’s Market book isn’t for me to reference yet, as I am still writing a first draft, but seeing it is a reminder of what I am working towards. I picked up the wooden sign at a TJ Maxx so I could look at it when I was struggling and have a good laugh. I plan to add some type of plant in the far right corner as well, once I get back from my trip to Japan.
This desk was meant to hold a keyboard, but we’re a laptop family. Instead I use it to hold items I may like to reference on a regular basis.
This is where I keep printed copies of my critiques. I also have an editing textbook I was assigned in college stored here for easy reference, as well as a book of writing prompts for when I’m simply lacking inspiration.
Since the computer desk is very small, I use the neighboring bookshelf to hold some of my materials I use regularly for writing. The most important of these are my binders and notebooks. I keep a lot of material here including outlines, character notes, and plot ideas. For one of my novels I even have a map I (poorly) drew that I have to reference almost every time I work on the book.
I also keep all my writing textbooks from college here. Well, the ones I liked. I don’t usually use them, but it’s nice to have them closeby. They have a lot of good writing advice. Sometimes when I am writing I know there’s a problem but not how to fix it, so having these reference materials can be a huge help.
I’ve tried to utilize my wall space as well. In the future I’d like to add some shelving to give me more storage space, but strictly speaking I’m not supposed to so that’s on the backburner. For now, I’ve hung two framed illustrations of Sherlock Holmes’ flat. I adore Sherlock, as I’ve mentioned before, and I adore these prints.
I also have a whiteboard. How exactly I use this whiteboard changes depending where in the writing process I am. Right now I’m about 75% through my first draft of FanFact, so I’m keeping note of things I need to go back and change on the whiteboard. Sometimes I use it to track plot points. Other times, when I’m swamped, it becomes a To Do list.
So these aren’t technically a part of my writing space, but usually they end up being there. First off, coffee. I really enjoy coffee. Expensive coffee, cheap coffee, flavored coffee, fancy coffee beverages, I like it all. Right now this is my favorite coffee cup. It’s very thick and from a local coffee shop, so it gives the illusion of being in a cafe.
I also usually have a throw blanket with me. I like to be comfortable, and just having a blanket wrapped around me or in my lap seems to make me more productive. My two favorite throw blankets in the apartment are this Christmas one (it’s huge and super soft) and this Sherlock one (it’s Sherlock).
Music. Some writers love it, some hate it. I’m sort of in the middle. My favorite ambiance for writing is quiet background music along with the sounds of everyday shuffling. I like to use the website Coffitivity to give me the background noise of a cafe. I’ve found it makes me a lot more productive than just listening to music with my headphones on. It provides the exact amount of background noise I need to sit down and focus.
I hope you liked my writing space tour! I’ll be heading to Japan next week so don’t expect any new blog posts for a couple of weeks. If you’re interested in seeing my adventures in japan, feel free to follow me on Instagram!