I’ve had many a writing space over the years. My first? The wood desks my dad made me and my brothers, and the kitchen chairs we sat in as we wrote and did homework (being in a family of five, it was my nightly duty to bring my chair to the four-person kitchen table). In college, it was a huge, metal teacher’s desk that the previous tenant didn’t have the inclination (or muscles, apparently) to move out. I jazzed it up with marble-print shelf paper. I then moved on to a Target desk that was housed in my bedroom, yet again, until I married and it moved into the husband’s office (for about three months until we figured out we weren’t the two-desk-office-sharing type) and then into the spare bedroom. But now? Now I’ve hit the writing mother load. I have a beautiful desk from Office Max; it’s L-shaped and black with a hutch and a matching filing cabinet. It’s beautiful and functional and I can still work even if I have five piles of notes/books/pages scattered about it. Sure, it still shares space with a bed, but it’s in a couch that is quite cute and functional when it’s not a bed. I also share space with a treadmill, but as I’ve discussed earlier, that treadmill has gotten me through many a brain-fart. Oh, and on occasion, I share it with a toddler who finds amusement in chucking books off shelves and pressing the record button on Mommy’s voice recorder.
What makes Susan’s office her haven? Photos of loved ones, of course. But what are the five things that make this uniquely me?
1) A big, wide blotter that is made up of white, unlined paper stretches across the desk surface my computer isn’t on. I doodle here, sketches of heroines and heroes and best friends and villains. Write down telephone numbers to vets and plumbers. Figure out how many words I have to write per day before my manuscript is due. You’d be surprised by what a great mathematician I am—I’ve surely practiced enough.
2) My iMac. My beautiful, white, CPU-less iMac. I love it. I love the expanse of frame at the bottom of it, where I put writer’s quotes, writer’s advice (e.g., writing a recipe that your heroine would call her favorite meal), and a picture of a New England home that I see my “first draft” heroine living in (my heroine has changed, almost 170 degrees, and she no longer lives in that house). I can’t believe I settled for a PC for so long.
3) A bookshelf beside my desk with writing books, YA books, and biographies that help me flesh out characters (some of these bios include people who matchmake, who build casinos, who wave red capes at bulls, who follow cheating husbands, who put make-up on soap stars, who can fire a rifle from a roof top and, uh, hit a soda can–yeah, that’s it).
4) A satellite radio receiver, for those days that I need a radio station out of London playing some stress-relieving pop for me and my baby to dance to.
5) A framed quote: The harder I work, the luckier I get. And you know what? A truer statement has never been uttered.