Help Me Design a Writing Space!

As I mentioned earlier, I have moved cities: I’m still in more northeastern New England, but in a more built-up area. Among other changes, I have a much larger office than I had before, with two nice big east-facing windows. I also have almost no furniture, having gotten rid of much of it in the process of winnowing down old and junky possessions in preparation for the move (a remarkably liberating experience, I must say!) Right now, I’m using a desktop on a small square table, and a laptop on a TV tray.

I’m already putting together plans for a standing or even walking desk, for the day or two a week in which I’ll be dayjobbing from home. But because I have so much space, I was thinking that I would like a dedicated writing desk. Having never had such a space, it occurs to me that I don’t really know what I want from one!

Right now, my writing process tends to be laptop-centric: my laptop has the most comfortable keyboard for long-term typing, and has programs like Scrivener installed. It is also the machine I usually access the Internet from, which is occasionally unfortunate, but it does mean that all of my research is right there. I do a fair amount of drafting by hand, depending on where I am in the process, and also try to carry index cards with me to jot ideas down. There have been times in the past when I’ve liked working on a nice big sheet of newsprint or  a whiteboard, but have not had space for that previously.

I’m leaning toward having a broad/deep work surface where I can push the laptop back to have room for pen and paper, or remove it entirely (either to a side tray or a shelf over the desktop) to work with a piece of newsprint. Maybe a couple of short shelves on either side of the desk; maybe a couple or drawers. Another possibility is some manner of easel standing next to the desk, or a whiteboard or corkboard over it. I really like the look of rolltop desks, but I’m not sure how well one would actually work for me. Room for a cup of coffee would be nice, though I do try to limit my consumption of alcohol and caffeine while I’m writing (I try to avoid associating any chemical with writing, lest I one day have to stop/curtail it, and then find that I can’t write without it) I think I’d rather sit with my side to the windows instead of sitting facing them, though glare on my screen might make me change my mind.

So, while I look at furniture and whiteboards/corkboards/easels and other options, I’m curious about your workspaces. What do you like about them? What do you find conducive to your writing? What do you wish you could change?

4 thoughts on “Help Me Design a Writing Space!

  1. Personally, I love an L-shaped desk where the computer is in front of me but I can turn to the side and write in a notebook. I have a mouserug which I use for my coffee or whatever instead of worrying about a coaster. In Spain, I also have an oil burner to help me feel like I’m somewhere else although I’m not sure that works. Glare is a real problem. Get a pull-down blind on the window and that way you can have the view when you are drafting and cut it out when you need the machine.

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