Office space vs Creativity

Before I became a published author, I used to write at a former printer stand that didn’t have room for my legs so I ended up all twisted up. It was also in the middle of the living room and everyone would have to go past to get to the kitchen or the bathroom. Given that I write sex scenes, I was forever shrinking my screen down whenever I heard footsteps approaching, which was far too often for my focus. My dream was that once my kids were grown up and moved out, I’d take over one of their bedrooms and have a real business-like office. Well, two years ago that happened. I tore the ugly green 1970s multilevel loop carpet out of the room and had hardwood installed, painted the walls a nice neutral bright color, set up shelves in the closet, and bought a honking big desk complete with a big cabinet to store swag above, and two lateral file cabinet drawers to store all my legal stuff. By the time we were done, I had this beautiful office all to myself, complete with a door I could close.
completed officeGorgeous, isn’t it?

It doesn’t look like that anymore. It’s covered with receipts and papers left over from filing my taxes (we didn’t have to have them in until the end of April)–and yes, I really need to get them filed back in the proper drawers, along with receipts for this year’s taxes that I still have to enter onto my spreadsheet. There are also tons of sticky notes covering every surface with reminders about what I needed to take to New Orleans for the RT Booklovers Convention. (I’m actually still on the road from the convention–we’re driving in from Cinci this morning and won’t arrive home until much later tonight.) One Mother’s Day, even though I knew I had a black thumb I made the mistake of asking for a peace lily because I really wanted greenery on my desk and I’d heard peace lilies were hardy and practically unkillable. Yeah, I killed it. And a year later, it’s still up there on the hutch in its poor bedraggled dried out state. Basically every surface of that lovely desk is covered. I clean it off at least once a week, but paper seems to breed like dust bunnies…

Oh, and that door that I can close to keep distractions to a minimum? Yeah, the cat has figured out how to open it. He loves to climb all over me, and his favorite sleeping spot is on my keyboard instead of the cat bed I bought for him and gave a honored spot on my desk. And whenever my son or hubby drops by to say hi, they ignore the “writer working” sign on the door, and then when they’re done distracting me, they forget to close so the dog can join the cat.

What I’ve discovered, however, is that desk says “business” when I’m sitting at it. It makes me think about the taxes and swag orders and marketing. It does not help my creativity. So I ended up installing what I call my “comfy chair” which is a wing chair with an ottoman beside the desk, and had my hubby hang another monitor on the side of a bookcase so I can sit there and not see all that paper and worry about the business side of writing. I use a different laptop, one that I haven’t installed any games on. And I swear every day while I’m sitting in that chair I will not get up to check my email or Facebook or Twitter. In theory, it works well. Until I got a smart phone and realized the charging port is within reach so I can check it when I’m supposed to be concentrating on my writing…

I told my husband the other day, I want an office away from the house, one like Emma Thompson uses in Stranger Than Fiction. With just a desk and nothing else around to distract me. Oh and a coffee machine. Mustn’t forget that. Except I bet I’d still find a way to procrastinate.

Which I can’t do because I have to finish writing Wrangling the Past, the follow up to yesterday’s release No Accounting for Cowboys. Okay, so that’s a shameless self-promotion, but yeah, I’m going to be seeing a lot of that desk in the coming month…


Office space vs Creativity — 8 Comments

    • It took me a while to figure out what was happening, Samantha. Now I’ve finally realized that the desk means business, I hate to admit that I may need to get away from it in order to write. Talk about counter productive.

  1. Minus the pets, this is totally me. I have a great space with a door and two large windows and a nice view of a woodland. I also have a husband and son that don’t quite “get” the meaning of a closed door. They also don’t seem bothered a bit by my typing madly as they talk to me.

    Despite all of that, my easily distracted mind is usually the real culprit.

    • “They also don’t seem bothered a bit by my typing madly as they talk to me.”

      I know, right? Mine are exactly the same…and yes, my easily distracted mind is also usually the real culprit as much as I like to blame all the rest.

  2. Hey Leah ~~ actually I totally love your office. But I also relate to the messiness and not being able to get anything done. As long as you keep putting out books like these last 2, I truthfully don’t care if you write standing on your head. LOL You know I love your work and all your books. I’ve downloaded No Accounting for Cowboys but haven’t read it yet. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for this singing cowboy.

  3. Leah, your office looks so beautiful, and neat. The only time I write away from my desk is when I’m lucky enough to go to a writing retreat, or when I’m plotting a new story. I seem to have work on plots and character sketches with pen and paper, usually in a comfy chair. I truly love my messy desk and find I’m productive there. Maybe if I was neat and tidy I’d have trouble writing!

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