Monday, October 8, 2018

5 Important ingredients to a writer's office

I've had my new office for about a month and a half. But my point about writers and offices doesn't start there.

My first office was a folding table about 2 1/2 ft. by 18 in., an old TV stand with a shelf and my daughter's dingy purple desk chair.

I would move the assemblage to the front of my living room near the window in spring and summer and to the back of the living room a few feet from the gas stove in fall and winter.

It had two positive qualities: portability and the shelf in the TV stand. I used this arrangement for four years along with a lengthy extension cord. I did not complain.

In August, we visited a consignment furniture store.

We've bought our china cabinet, two bedside tables and a dining room table at this store in the past. Walking through the shop is one of our favorite monthly activities.

I was walking one way, my husband the other when I heard him call my name. He waved me over.

Along one display wall stood a set of wall cabinets, solid wood, cherry finish, near new condition: five bottoms with doors and drawers, two uppers with shelves, one each with cubbies (aka wine bottle slots); let's call them cubbies.

"This would make a great office for you."

I'd given the pieces only a vague glance. Now I looked closer. He gave me my space, backing up and leaving me to my imagination.

It took me about two minutes to realize I was not leaving the store without them.

Then behind me, my name was whispered, a sense of urgency in the quiet word.

I turned. Instant, total, "I must have this!" sprang into my mind. If I had to choose -- this piece was it.

Mounted on the wall across from those amazing cabinets was a miracle.

I had been telling my husband how much I wished I had a white board or a magnetic board or even a pin board to plan my novels on.

Eight feet of combined planning board spread open before me. On the inside of the doors, right and left, were fabric covered pin boards. Dead center: a magnetic white board. Above, a pull down screen. Below a tray for markers, eraser, pens and pins.

I wasn't leaving without it. I would sacrifice the cabinets to have this somewhere in the house. I didn't care where. There's a huge blank wall in our downstairs bathroom.

Time to look at prices. All pieces were on their last week of sale -- lowest price each was going to go.

It took two trips, but we got all ten pieces home.

My new office in the living room has three walls. One has six cabinets, three uppers, three lowers. The second wall has three lowers and the planning miracle. Third wall has three boxed kitchen floor-to-ceiling cabinets to give me privacy (temporary). My desk is a 4x2 folding table and is backed by a bookshelf facing the other way.

So what are the five essential ingredients to a writer's office after 1 1/2 months:
  1. a flat surface sufficient to hold one laptop computer, an upright organizer, bottle of water, notepad, ipad and a cup with pens and other oddments. 
  2. the back side of a bookcase for sticky note to-do-list
  3. a planning board (with multiple planning modes)
  4. cubbies
  5. a writer
Please note: there was no mention of portability or a shelf.

Extras:  supplies for said planner board, books and various electronics neatly organized in drawers, cabinets and shelves.

My final advice. Find yourself a consignment shop. There is bound to be some fool willing to sell a miracle planning board.


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