Monday, June 11, 2012

What's in Your Workspace?

Crystal Laine Miller's post over at Hoosier Ink, inspired me to write about my workspace. While I like organization in theory, I'm more on the lines of organized chaos.

My workspace is a full office, complete with a large L-shaped desk, another desk with bookshelves towering above it, desk chairs, a credenza, filing cabinets, and bookcases. I not only write here, but also manage my small business and my life.

The long and the short of it: My office is my purse exploded.

What are my requirements for successful writing:

1) Quiet. With the fire alarm horn across the street and heavy traffic, silence is more of a wish than a reality.

2)  A snack and something to drink. For some unknown reason, these two items keep me tethered to my desk and reduce my tendency to wander around the house.

3)  Lots and lots of paper and pens. My computer functions well for my WIP and the Internet, but I need paper and pens to capture those elusive bits of inspiration. I'm also a compulsive list maker. It's the only thing that preserves my sanity.

4)  Books. I love being surrounded by books. I can't get enough of them. While my new Kindle is convenient, it doesn't provide the same ambiance as a bookcase filled with my favorite fiction and non-fiction tomes.

5)  Prayer/My Bible. Everything flows from my relationship with the Lord. Without His inspiration, writing may happen, but it lacks the power to change lives. I've said this before, but it bears repeating: I want my words to be containers of life.

Writers: What kind of atmosphere is essential for your writing?

Readers: Please describe your absolute favorite place to read and tell us why.


Karen Lange said...

I had to laugh at the comparison to your office and purse. I think my office is about the same way. I am a neat and organized person, but you wouldn't know it by looking at my desk. Like you, the term "organized chaos" fits here. I think it is partly because I wear many hats - from hubby's carpenter biz bookkeeping to my WIP, online teaching duties and personal finance, a little bit of everything (except laundry) happens here. I have been meaning to neaten things up one of these days...:)

Happy Monday,

Wendy Paine Miller said...

#1 is huge for me. The rest come and go. Give and take. I have to go with the flow around here. Can get crazy & messy & unorganized w/ three kiddos about the place.
~ Wendy

Cindy R. Wilson said...

I like that you say your work area is your purse exploded. Usually our purses have a little bit of everything and most definitely what we need to function and feel comfortable, so this makes sense :)

I love my work area but it's not very quiet or very big. This makes me think smarter about how to get it to hold all my stuff, and I do like a challenge :)

quietspirit said...

I decided this morning that I have some work to do in my writing room. I need to find a way to store some out of season stuff in the closet. I'd like to get rid of the chiffarobe in here. I have a bookcase to the left of my desk. To its right, I have a small table with my printer on it. As I sit in my computer chair, to my right is a small entertainment center-actually a series of shelves.To my left is a love seat with a hide-a-bed. I like to use my NEO or read as I sit there.Behind me on the back wall hangs a western-style shelf with a place to hang quilts or blankets. Below it, on the floor sit two totes I need to somehow move into the closet.

Nancy said...

I either read on the couch or in my extra bedroom, often late at night. I like a quiet atmosphere.

When I write, I like a clean space and extra paper sounds like a great idea.

Loree Huebner said...

Sounds like a great place to write/work, Susan.

Number one is a must when I'm reading out loud.

Although I have a desk in the office, I do tend to write on my laptop in bed most of the time. I have my notebook by my side.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen - Yes, you've nailed it. I've got so many projects going at the same time that neatness flies out the window.

Hi Wendy - While I don't have kiddos underfoot, living on a busy street provides plenty of noise.

Hi Cindy - Hmm, it sounds like the more closet space you have the more you fill it up. Perhaps I should reduce my workspace to get control of the messies.

Hi Quiet Spirit - We both have lots of stuff crammed into our workspace.

Hi Nancy - Comforting is key when it comes to reading. I also like sitting on the couch. I also have a wingback chair in my guest room that provides a nice reading nook.

Hi Loree - I don't like writing on my laptop. The keyboard and mouse pad frustrate me. I do use it when I'm away or in another room, but I'd rather be at my good ol' desktop. Yeah, I know. I'm old fashioned.

Susan :)

Melanie N. Brasher said...

a snack and a drink is important for me as well! Love this list, Susan.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Melanie -

I try to keep it healthy with water, but I confess the other part of the snack is usually a sweet.

Susan :)

Ruth Schiffmann said...

"My office is my purse exploded." - I love that line. I think it pretty much fits for me too. My desk becomes a collect-all for little scraps of paper with scribbled notes. But it is definitely organized chaos. If I clean up, I can't find anything =)

I also find that a snack and a drink keep me at my desk longer. (My preferred snack is M&Ms)

Rhonda Schrock said...

"My office is my purse exploded." Ha! Great line! :)

I, too, have an L-shaped desk. I love it because it makes a bitty corner office out of a larger stairway landing area. I can see all who approach, if they're friendlies or otherwise. :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rhonda -

I like lots of desk space, so the L-shape is perfect.

Susan :)

Carol J. Garvin said...

I prefer a quiet, distraction-free space for my writing. I have an office of my own, left over from the days when I ran my own business, but I seem to spend more time writing in the family room with my laptop. That may be partly because the wall of windows overlooks the woods at the back of our property, and that's a serene, inspiring view.

But I do like my office, too. It has a tall narrow window overlooking the back deck and garden. Filling the adjacent wall to its left is my desk-and-table combo that holds all the practical stuff -- computer, scanner, printer, phone, etc. About a year ago I did a post on the assortment of desks in our house, and there's a photo of the office desk there ( ).

To the right of the window is a tall bookcase, with a basket for magazines tucked at its base. At present, the wall behind me is spanned by a work table (the industrial folding kind) meant for my scrapbooking projects, but in reality it's become a catch-all for books, papers, music and whatever else I refuse to put on my desk! When the table wasn't there, that space contained my swivel rocker... a comfy spot for manuscript- or bible-reading, or for anyone who happened in with conversation in mind. Right now the chair is in our bedroom and I'm not sure if it will ever return to my office. Depends if I ever finish that scrapbooking project!

JD said...


If your office is your purse exploded, then it is perfectly organized because it has everything you need handy, like our purses. :)

My office has a desk, cabinet, PC, telephone, book-lined shelves and plenty of paper, since I prefer to put pen to paper when my eyes get tired of staring at a computer screen. Oh, and it also has some space for my preschool-aged daughters to visit me and dance around on the carpet as I type. :)

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Carol - Oh, I'd love a view like that!

Hi Janette - LOL! My chiropractor just shook his head when he picked up my purse. Too heavy. Yet, there's nothing I can eliminate.

Susan :)

North Jersey Christian Writers Group said...

Hi Susan!
Love your illustration - a purse exploded!!! Mine too, but mine is not an office. My writing space is a corner of my living room. But my living room had been rendered useless when we built a family room addition on the back of the house. I have redeemed it!

On my fireplace mantel is a collection of rocks. This is the most inspiring part of the room because each rock represents a special miracle or event that God brought to our family.

For a picture and two post I wrote about "MySpace" check out:


Love you lots,

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Susan -

I love it that you "redeemed" the living room. Great phraseology. Why don't you turn the entire space into an office?

Actually, my office was designed by the builders as a living room. Who says you can't re-purpose a room?

Susan :)

Gina Gao said...

This is a really great post. I could really relate to what you were saying throughout.