My writing workspace

Writers pride themselves on where they work. Some writers work in coffee shops or libraries. Others in kitchens or offices. I love my home office, where I do most of my writing. It is one of my favorite rooms in the house and I thought I’d provide a guided tour of my workspace for everyone to see.

We begin with the view from the entryway:


One drawback to my office is that there is no doorway. I think the room was designed to be a living room but we have a small TV room in the back of the main floor that we use as a living room, and a large family room downstairs so there is no need for a living room in the traditional sense. The above photograph shows my office looking in from the entry way to the lefthand side of the room. This next photo shows the right side of the room:


Now that you’ve seen the overall space, let me take you on a tour, moving clockwise around the office.  Our first step is my desk, which at the moment, is in a fair amount of disarray:


No, you are not seeing things. That’s three computers you see on my desk. To the left is my work laptop. The MacBook in the center is my writing laptop and behind it is my 7-year old iMac, which acts are our home server and is still kicking after all these years. Those piles of magazines you see stacked haphazardly on the right side of my desk are all of the issues of Astounding I’ve managed to acquire so far for my vacation in the Golden Age. I have yet to come up with place to store them in some more appropriate fashion. The desk faces a blank wall, which I like so that I’m not distracted by stuff right in front of my eyes.

Just to the right of my desk is the big bay window which lets in plenty of light:


That picture makes it look darker than it really is, but you get the idea. There is no central ceiling light in the office and at night, with the light on my desk, it can be pretty dark so I recently bought that standing lamp you see to the right and that has made a huge different. That floor rug is also a fairly recent addition.

Continuing around, we come to my globe:


This is the only physical map I have in my office, but I’ve always liked this globe, which is one of the few things I’ve bought from Sky Mall. That’s Atlas beneath the globe, holding the world on his shoulders. Next to that is the typewriter I inherited from my grandfather:


It’s a Royal Quiet DeLuxe and when I was much, much younger, I wrote some of my first stories on this thing while visiting my grandparents. Fortunately for all of us, nothing remains of those early efforts, but the typewriter survives.

When we moved into the house nearly a year and a half ago, I purged a lot of books from my shelves. I think something like 200-300 books were donated to the local library. Since then, I try only to buy eBooks. The exceptions are books that I want to add to my science fiction collection. The books you see on these shelves make up that science fiction collection, along with numerous history books and science books. Here you can see the first set of shelves:


Half of that first bookcase on the left contains Piers Anthony books from my days in high school when just about all I read was Piers Anthony books. Beginning on that third shelf down, however, and covering almost all of the rest of the shelf space you see are my Isaac Asimov books, including many rare ones, and even three signed books. Oh, and that’s my degree hovering between the shelves. Next, you can see where I sit when I read my books (or magazines):


Most of the time, one of our cats, Maggie, gets that seat before I can get to it. And the Little Man thinks it’s loads of fun to go and play hide-and-seek behind that chair. Also behind that chair and to the right you can see more books. That is actually a full wall of books, containing the bulk of my collection:


I used to keep all of the books organized alphabetically by author, and then chronologically within an author. They are still alphabetical by author, but the chronological secondary sort hasn’t survived the last two moves.

Lastly, on this whirlwind tour, there’s the printer and file cabinet:


Since going paperless, that file cabinet has become less useful for filing, but it does make a good stand for the printer. Just to the right you can see a sliver of the entryway to the office and we’re back where we started.

This is by far the best home office I’ve ever had, and it the most conducive space for writing that I have been in. They say that you have to set habits and get used to writing in the same place every day. I’m not sure I completely buy that, but I will say that when I am at my most comfortable in front of my keyboard, is sitting here at my own desk, in the early morning hours before the sun has come up and the only sounds in the house are the whoosh of the heat coming through the vents, the gentle hum of the computer, and the occasional chirping of birds.


  1. Jen, my desk is not that neat right now. Click on the picture and then click on it again to zoom in and just see how messy it is. (The work laptop is hiding a pile of paper.)


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