I always envisioned that when the day came that I was finally working on a book, I’d have, you know, an office. Or a desk. Or some sort of dedicated work space where I could spread-eagle books and pile up papers and Post-Its like I imagined real writers do. So it is a slight disappointment to me that now that I’m two months away from my book deadline, this is what my workspace looks like:
But mostly this:
One of the reasons it’s been fairly easy for Quinn and me to pick up and move so often is that my work is portable. Despite the book project, it still is. Most days I begin in a chair next to the fireplace (particularly toasty in winter), then settle in after lunch at the sofa in the front room. Phone interviews go best at the kitchen table. None of these locales has a particularly awe-inspiring view, unless you count blue jays and a few towheaded daffodils in the backyard, FedEx trucks and people walking to the bus stop out front. I read blog posts about how and where other writers work, and I think I must be doing it wrong. Where’s my beautiful view? Shouldn’t I at least be setting up camp in a Starbucks?
Writing without a desk feels somehow shameful. Not real. But honestly, besides several notebooks smudged with handwriting and a portable file full of newspapers and real estate listings, everything that matters is on my laptop. I’ve written almost 80,000 words in Scrivener, to which I am now a devoted convert. For the most part, I don’t clip articles by hand with scissors but digitally into Evernote. (I spring for the premium version.) I had early visions about creating dramatic paper outlines on my wall, then realized what worked best for me were keeping files in Scrivener named “Map of the book” and more recently “Stuff to add.” It’s not grand or writerly. It’s not Ben Franklin in the bathtub or Michael Pollan in a cabin he made himself by hand — and about which he wrote a lovely book. Nothing here is particularly photogenic. But my deadline is in two months and I’m not quite ready to kill myself, so it must be working.
Like this post? Share it!