This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I always enjoy seeing pictures of where other authors write. It's usually a beautiful, book-lined study with a window overlooking a leafy garden or an orchard, or something. They have a stylish, state of the art Apple laptop on their Victorian writing desk, and when they need to retire to think, it's often on an antique chaise they picked up at a French flea market.
By contrast, I write in a cave and my desk came from IKEA.When people visit my writing room, their first reaction is usually 'How do you stand it?' I have to admit, my office wouldn't be to everyone's taste. It's cold and dark all year round (even during last year's scorching summer I still had to keep my light on). There’s a narrow strip of frosted window that overlooks our next door neighbour's brick wall. Inside the office is just as spartan. There are barely any pictures on the walls (not even the corkboard so beloved of writers, including me). My desk is big enough to spread out, but devoid of everything but my computer and a solitary pot of pens and pencils. As work spaces go, it makes a monastic cell look positively cluttered.
It wasn't always that way. I used to write in our spare bedroom, but I had to move because I'm easily distracted and I used to spend too much time looking out of the window at the neighbours' comings and goings. If I wasn't doing that, I was admiring the myriad 'inspiring' pictures I had on the walls (it's amazing how long you can stare at an inspiring picture without actually being inspired to do anything. As work avoidance techniques go, it's right up there with Farm Heroes).
Also, although working from home seems like an ideal lifestyle choice, what it actually means is that you're never actually not at work. Even when I'd supposedly packed up for the day, I could still feel the siren call of my desk from upstairs.
So we came up with the genius idea of partitioning off the garage and turning the back of it into an office. This means I have to physically leave the house to go to work (even if my daily commute does only consist of six steps). I have everything I need in there, including all my references books, although the bookshelves are behind me, so I'm not tempted to spend all day 'researching'. As I said, it's not to everyone's taste, but it's an absolute necessity for someone with zero self control, like me.
Now, if only I could break my Farm Heroes addiction, I might actually get some work done…
Nightingales at War by Donna Douglas is published by Arrow and is out today.