Over the last few months, my office has become a catch-all for craft supplies, gifts, donations for fundraisers, and research material. It was a slow process that often happens to creative types. Why is it that we only really notice the proverbial state of affairs the day we decide to sit down and start work on our next project?
Years ago, I read a book that changed my life and confirmed everything I inherently knew to be true but was too afraid to say out loud, much less admit to anyone. Reading “On Writing – a memoir of the craft” by Stephen King taught me more about writing than any class ever could. I loved it so much, I bought the audio version on cassette so I could listen to it in my van, which I did. Often and with intensity.
I had this romanticized ideal of how and where I would write. A beautiful oak desk (don’t all writers want an oak desk?) in a little room, away from the rest of the house and lined with bookshelves. I would spend hours there, toiling over research material and crafting perfect sentences that would lead to perfect paragraphs, then on to perfect chapters until the perfect book lay waiting to be revealed to an unsuspecting audience who would be blown away by my brilliance.
So I set up my little office in the back corner of the house. Substitute the antique oak monstrosity (hadn’t considered how I would pay for it, much less get it through the door) for a lovely glass-topped desk from IKEA. Add a bookshelf from Wal-Mart, filled with my collection of books on Faeries and Celtic Mythology. Put up some shelves to hold my stereo and CD collection, and there you have it. THIS is where all the magic will happen!
A lot of stuff has been written in that office. Some of it will end up published, other bits will never see the light of day. Overall, it’s a great space and exactly what I wanted. Recently I found myself ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work and instead I was stalling out. I dreaded wasting an entire day cleaning the office and making it ready to work in again. Then I remembered something I learned from Stephen King. Your desk should be a place with a purpose and that purpose is writing. I felt very strongly that one of the things that were causing me issues is the very reason I chose the space to begin with. The office is at the back of the house. Very easy to avoid, very easy to load up with things I don’t want to deal with. What I needed ( at least for now ) was to come home and BAM! Be reminded of the task at hand. To integrate my desk into my space in such a way that I couldn’t avoid it and (more importantly) would WANT to spend time there.
So I took 15 minutes, cleared off my kitchen table (another clutter magnet) and set up my new desk. It isn’t oak, but it’s a solid wood table. It has two windows so I benefit from tons of light. It’s also in close proximity to the kettle, which is of utmost importance.
I share my home with 3 Italian Greyhounds and a Whippet, all of whom prefer to spend their time in the kitchen/living room. The last time I worked in my office at the back of the house, I set up dog beds and invited them to join me, but they weren’t interested. Now, they can mill about and keep me company while I write. I don’t know why I didn’t consider this before.
Sometimes the magic happens where you least expect it.