After thirty plus years of writing nearly 300 books, and occupying more office spaces and writing studios than I can even recall, I’m planning for what I hope will be my final writing space. Not to be confused with my final resting place! I currently write in what I lovingly refer to as ‘the dungeon.’ Because we’re building a new home and living in a studio apartment, my office space is carved into what is actually a book storage room. Dark and dreary and not exactly inviting. So as our new home move-in date approaches, I’m considering how to arrange my new writing space. What do I really need?
Over the years I’ve amassed a lot of writing related ‘stuff’ that requires space. Stuff like bulky reference books, outdated electronic gadgets, obsolete filing systems, plentiful paper products, dust-collecting writing awards and so on. But how much of this do I really need? How much do I actually use? Like other parts of life, I’m in the less-is-more phase. In the same way I’d like to declutter my mind, I hope to declutter my office. I realize it won’t be easy, but the reward (I hope) will be a serene space that allows room for dreaming, imagining . . . breathing.
Because we’re all wired differently, our ‘perfect’ writing spaces should be different too. Some writers are inspired in a noisy Starbucks. Others seek the silent isolation found alone in a parked car. Some writers require a neat orderly space, others thrive amidst creative chaos. Some of us need windows, others prefer a blank wall. So the question is: What kind of space best fits your style and your needs? How do you like to work? What inspires you to create?
Not that we always have the luxury of occupying an ideal space. I remember early in my writing career when we were remodeling and the only niche available for my little writing desk was next to the refrigerator. It was summertime and my boys were big teenagers with big appetites. The distractions were ongoing, but it did keep me cool. I know other writers who’ve made do with kitchen tables, closet offices, back porches . . . even a woman who put her kids in shopping mall daycare then occupied a public bathroom stall with her laptop on her knees as she pounded out a book. There’ve been times when I wrote by my husband’s hospital bedside, or in a waiting room while my son got medical treatments. Basically I think a writer who wants to write can make any place work.
But as I plan for my new office, my goal is simplicity. An ergonomic writing chair. A generous desk space (which hopefully won’t get too cluttered). Bookshelves for my books. Some limited storage, which will be carefully used. A small bulletin board for reminders, some pleasing art and design touches. And most importantly, a comfortable chair for daydreaming—because the perfect writing space is really in my head!
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over 200 books with sales of more than 7 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and contemporary romances. She and her husband live in central Oregon.
Learn more at www.melodycarlson.com.