Last updated on September 20th, 2019
I have an office in my home. I currently live in an eleven-room farmhouse dating back to the late 1800’s. My writing space was originally the far corner of the laundry area at the back of the house. That room was always drafty and cold (only one hot air vent). When my daughter moved out of the house to go to culinary school, I moved my sewing room out of the 12’x16′ upstairs room (a glorified closet-storage area). I then wallpapered, painted, and wainscoted that oblong little room into my warm and wonderful office.
The wallpaper is a purple, black, and turquoise stripes with gold vertical lines. With my husband being an engineer who can see anything crooked (and complain about it forever), I took the time to plum every strip of wallpaper. Yep, every strip. The result? Fantastic. And that’s despite the old house’s plastered corners being misshapen. The ceiling is white and I have a paddle-fan for summer when it gets hot (the room is under the attic).
The wainscoting and wood trim strips are a deep, dark purple. Purple is for passion and my passion is to write and create lighthearted stories and tales of phantasy realms and stardust worlds (with or without a romance but always an adventure with a happy ending).
Both walls are lined with the furniture that by just turning my chair around puts me into contact with what I need, be it a resource book, the desk, or the computer.
I believe in ergonomics. When it comes to sitting for hours on end at a computer, desk height is a major factor. I have a custom made set of bookshelves with a countertop across them. That countertop happened to be purple because it was supposed to be part of my remodeled kitchen, but someone at the shop botched the length of the countertop and it was too short. On that ten-foot desktop are my two printers, computer tower and its monitor, along with a lot of space for working on a story.
The door is at the long end of the office. Across from the door is the only window and the hot air vent. Hall lighting and sunlight do not affect my computer screen. Neither does the overhead light that’s part of the ceiling fan. In other words, no glare.
So, what else is in the office? An oak desk with pigeonholes stuffed with folders, sheet protectors, tablets, and an assortment of note-taking items. Even the top has more dividers and a re-purposed plastic drawer serves as my Follow Up file. A file cabinet is filled with short stories and research files. Bookshelves go to the corner and hold binders with the data I’ve collected on writing good fiction as well as notebooks about medieval life and about the future worlds I’ve created.
There had once been a chimney in the corner but I had it removed. To maximize the corner area, I installed video cassette shelving, two together on the bottom and the third on top. All are filled with my keeper books on how to write good fiction. The board over the top of the two bottom sections provides a shelf for my clock and my grammar books.
On the short wall, shelving holds paper and stock for my two printers.
Lastly is an old oak table with three drawers. It was made by my husband’s great-grandfather to house linens for a dining room. I’ve repurposed it as storage and the top holds two paper cutters, a typewriter, the telephone, the pencil sharpener, and often a stack of baskets for the various projects I’m working on.
The most unique items in my office are My Office Minions — Dave, Tim, and Stuart — from the Minions movie. They were a Christmas gift from my daughter. Oh, and a Minion’s calendar has pride of place over my desk.
Is the room neat and orderly, spick and span tidy? It was when I moved in, but that didn’t last long. And when I got a puppy, Mojee, I installed doggie beds. Trouble is, Mojee likes to move those beds about and she is always cluttering the floor with her toys and half-chewed bones.
So, how neat is your office space, that is, if you have one?
Catherine E. McLean‘s lighthearted, short stories have appeared in hardcover and online anthologies and magazines. Her books include JEWELS OF THE SKY, KARMA & MAYHEM, HEARTS AKILTER, and ADRADA TO ZOOL (a short story anthology). She lives on a farm nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains of Western Pennsylvania. In the quiet of the countryside, she writes lighthearted tales of phantasy realms and stardust worlds (fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal) with romance and adventure. She is also a writing instructor and workshop speaker. Her nonfiction book for writers is REVISION IS A PROCESS – HOW TO TAKE THE FRUSTRATION OUT OF SELF-EDITING.
To learn more about Catherine’s book Revision is a Process and enter the giveaway click here
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