19th Aug 2010 in Personal, Writing
I’ve tried desks. They don’t work for me. I resist sitting down at the desk. I resist going to the desk. Sometimes I resist even going into the room where the desk is kept.
But I have a little white MacBook and the battery lasts for hours and so I carry it around the house with me. Portability means no excuses.
Say I spend the morning working at the kitchen table. By coffee-time (which, as you know, is around 11am) I’ll decide that this cushion isn’t soft enough and my bumcheeks hurt, or that the edge of the table is too sharp and my elbows hurt, or that the light is too dark and my eyes hurt. It would be very easy to stop at that point. To go and watch some daytime TV or vacuum the carpet or rearrange books for no apparent reason.
But the laptop can be in any room I am in, so I take it with me. I take it into the front room and write on the comfy library chair for an hour, then I take it into the bedroom and sit up in bed for an hour, and then I take it into my girlfriend Susie’s studio and plug it into her giant graphic designer’s computer screen and work on that for an hour.
When I’m writing I’m like a bratty toddler – the only way anything gets done is bribery, threats, and a desperate avoidance of boredom. By changing my surroundings and moving around my (rather small) flat, I manage to alter the scenery often enough that I don’t get bored.
Picture #1 is the kitchen table. I usually start my day here because it’s quiet and the table is big and I can make tea often. The right side (with the notebooks and paperbacks and empty cup) is my side and the left (the neat one with the fruit bowl) is Susie’s. I feel that the neatness of our sides of the table serve as metaphors for our respective brains: hers is tidy and healthy, and mine is just a chaos of loose papers.
Picture #2 is the bed. I only work here during the day because Susie and I have a strict no-laptops-in-bed rule. It’s nicest in the afternoon when the sun slants in and warms my feet. The obvious problem is nap temptation.
Picture #3 is the library area in the front room. It’s good to work here in the evening because the lamp gives a soft glow and being surrounded by books always inspires me. I can also use them as bribery: “Edit another 500 words and you can read something!”
Writers and creative people, do you work all over the place like me? Or do you have a dedicated workspace? Show me!
I find your house a remarkably easy place in which to work, but I guess a lot of that is the novelty. I am like you, taken to an extreme– I constantly need bribery and different places to work.
I carry around an alphasmart so that I can really work anywhere. Some of the more unusual places I’ve written short stories or parts of novels: Guano Point at the Grand Canyon, in a treehouse, on a riverboat, ontop of slave-trading fort ruins, at Nashville’s replica of the Parthenon, on airplanes with divorcees spilling their gin between the keys, in changing rooms waiting for friends to just hurry-up-and-pick-something, at a pancake house, next to a spring where many people see the Virgin Mary, etc.
I do have a favorite cafe that I use when I’m in Nashville, and I usually sit at the same table, but that only works because they have unlimited iced tea and I can smell burning bagles from my seat. Also it is right next to a park in which I can go write when the weather cooperates.
Sitting in an office or at a desk without any sort of extreme bribery makes me feel far too violent for words.
This is my workspace this week!
I got back to Berlin two days ago and there was a new desk here, which pleases me. But in less than a week I’ll be in Oslo. And after that Edinburgh. And so on. I just need my tiny computer, and preferably a desk – for the sake of my posture – but I frequently make do with sitting crosslegged on the floor in an airport, or using the fold-out tray on a train.
This is how mine often looks :
Move the sofa out the way, point some posh lights around and it becomes :
Yay for transforming the work-place 😉
Curse of the disappearing HTML! One more attempt: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4119/4906870053_6626ebf6ee.jpg
I have a ridiculously short attention span, so Ive found the best place for my writing is some place where there is nothing else to do but write. Until I discovered mac freedom (http://macfreedom.com/) I thought that could only be a state library or log cabin in the mountains.
Now I’ve found as long as there is no internet, no tv and no friends to distract, I can pretty much write anywhere my macbook is.
Your flat looks lovely. I definitely wouldn’t make taking a writing tour through those rooms.
I have a desktop PC so I have a dedicated writing space, desk and all. (I’m upgrading to Windows 7 and getting a better motherboard/processor and I’m shamelessly excited.) I personally love it. I am so still, I become so subsumed in the process that it’s similar to a trance. A portable device (laptop or Kindle/Ipad) wouldn’t provide that sort of forced concentration, so I don’t know if I would like it exclusively. I would like one for times when I can’t be at home but want to write, and writing in bed sounds divine. The more options the better, I’m thinking.
“I definitely wouldn’t mind taking…” Oops!
[…] Kirsty posted about her writing spaces in more detail on her blog last year. Find the post here. […]