The Evolution Of My Office

When I moved back to my parents I asked them if I could make the spare room into an office. They were happy for me to, so I got stuck in. The room was a typical spare room and just had lots of bits and pieces put in it. It wasn’t a mess but it wasn’t anything more than somewhere to put things that didn’t have a home, and weren’t often used. So there was a little sorting out to do but not much got done until I got a desk.

I knew I wanted a desk with draws and a nice surface space. I also wanted a light wood colour, I’m I sucker for soft tones so I knew furniture wise that’s what I’d go for. The desk I found has the draws but also shelves on the other side. The desk I found at Argos I fell in love with. Not only did it have draws on one side the other side had shelves. It also had a nice surface space and I was able to get it in a light wood that I like. This was the first piece I bought and I had it built and in place against the chimney stake pretty darn quickly. Thankfully we already had a desk chair, so that wasn’t something that needed to be bought.

Getting the desk up was essential for me as I wanted to get writing on it as soon as I could.

I later had to move the desk to under the window due to a water leak.

A fresh coat of paint was desperately needed! This was my bedroom for a very long time and the last time I decorated it I thought this shade of green was a good idea…… Fortunately I still had some of the cream colour I’d painted my bedroom in a few years ago. So I got painting, and yeah. I had enough paint for two coats, which wasn’t anywhere near enough. The green was still showing through. I might have used a little adult language! Again, a little bit of luck. My parents had this awesome colour that they painted their room in last year. Three coats of this (thats five coats!) and the green was not only covered up, but this colour (I can’t remember what it’s called) looked good. I liked the deepness to it, and found the colour to be quite calming.

The shelves on the desk are a great little bit of space, but they are not enough for my library. Now, my library has shrank over the years. I’ve cleared through a lot of the books I either had no intention of reading, or had read and would never read again, or the book just didn’t leave a lasting impression. My change of taste has also changed, so I’ve got less books but still more than would fit on the desk shelves. So I got two new bookcases, again from Argos. In addition to these two bookcases my aunt gave me a wall unit. This has shelves and a cupboard at the bottom. This unit is beautiful. In addition to giving more storage it’s got a great character to it. I was going to put two of these three in the alcoves either side of the chimney stack. The problem I ran into was that there was homemade shelving in one of the alcoves. Originally I was going to get some new sheets of wood and between me and my dad we were going to cut some new shelves for that alcove (my dad is fantastic at that sort of thing). But I decided to get units to go in the spaces. Now, the problem I had was I’d left the wooden supports where there were. Yes, this is me being lazy and thinking I didn’t need to take them out. These simple wooden supports have been there for probably twenty years, and yeah. Boy did they take some work to get off the damn wall. God bless hammers! I did have to do a little touching up with paint after they were off, but you wouldn’t know it.

I ended up putting the two bookcases in the alcoves. Partly because I like the symmetry of having the matching bookcases either side of the chimney stack, and it looks natural.

I put the wall unit on the opposite wall next to my wardrobe. Again, this works for me. It compliments the flow of the room.

Storage is important. I’ve had a lot of years where I’ve had lots of stuff squeezed into wherever I could fit them. The wall unit with the cupboard has been a given me a lot more options then I’ve had before but I’ve also got three plastic storage units. One of these has four deep draws and the two have a lot of slim draws. These two I’ve got copies of my work in. From hand written drafts, to printed drafts with red notations on, through to little slips of paper with notes on.

The one with the deeper draws has everything from A4 writing pads(I have a lot of these), to old tech, to various knick knacks. It’s a lot more organised than it ever has been.

As you can see, all three are lovingly decorated!

You can see the random items in the wall cupboard.

I have a little flexibility on where I put these, and the file storage ones have moved around the room a little. They’re now settled behind the door by one of the bookcases. The deep draw one is by the wall unit, in a spot that was almost made to measure for it.

Although these don’t really match the rest of the room, they’re really useful. I am trying to steer away from having so many plastic items, partly because I’m drifting away from plastic a little, but mainly because I don’t like the aesthetic of them anymore. I like these lighter wood tones for how they look and the feel they give to a room. They give a warmth I enjoy. In a perfect world I would replace these, but I don’t have the finances and in all honesty, there’s nothing wrong with them. I’ll replace them one day, but probably when they’ve started falling apart.

There are three other pieces of furniture in the room. Firstly, my wardrobe. This is in the office because it’s just too bulky to be in my bedroom. It’ll fit, but it shrinks the space a lot. I’ve made use of it though. I’ve got a calendar on it, but I’ve also got pictures of loved ones on it. This serves as an inspiration to keep growing, and moving forward and following my dreams.

The other two are matching chest of drawers that my parents had. I’ve got clothes and a few knick knacks in them. Nothing writing related inside, but on top they’ve got my printers and ring binders. The printers here isn’t idea, but it’s not a massive imposition.

I will replace these at some point, when I have the cash. They’re old and my folks had them for a long time but they’re not the most sturdy any more. I will need space for clothes, so I think I’ll end up buy one large chest of draws, maybe two depending on size and and how much space I’ll need.

Next to the chest of draws I’ve got this cute little cloth unit that, again, a few knick knacks in. This was a super impulse purchase and I love it!

The magazine holders are a very recent edition, that I’ve got notebooks that are in use.

I would like to get some new curtains at some point. These are the old ones from my bedroom, and are okay but a little short for the window, and I’d like to get black-out ones as they’d keep the sun from hitting me of a morning. How the house is positioned means the sun smacks the front of it till about 10, 11am and if I’m working there it does feel a little like an oven. Even with the curtains I’ve got up! As the mornings are times where I work a lot (day job permitting), it’s something I’d like sorted before next summer.

I’ve spoken about the layout a few times in this post, and in all honesty I can’t really have it in too many other layouts. I’m sure with different furniture I might be able to have it set up differently, but I like it how it is. The desk should be the centre piece of the room. It’s an office, where I do most of my writing work. So it’s the centre piece. I can easily get to my printers, to where printer paper is. With a turn of my head I can see my dry/erase board. I’ve got easy access to any writing files I’ve been putting together easily enough. Even things like where I’ve got my bins is easily accessible from the desk.

I’ve got a little room to pace around if I need to think. I can look out the window when I need to give my brain a breather.

The only real space that isn’t optimised is a wall cupboard that is part of the room. At the moment it’s just full of bits and pieces, but there’s not a lot I can do as it needs air to circulate otherwise mould starts building up. Long term, I’d like to be able to use the space better, but again it’s one of those things that isn’t a priority but something I’d like to get sorted out one day. Because I can’t really use that space at the moment I’ve got my bin in front of it. If I do need access then it’s easy to move the bin.

The centre piece. The desk. As I said, this was against the chimney stack and I was quite happy with it there, but due to a leaky roof which resulted in water coming through the ceiling and down the chimney stack. Don’t worry it’s all been fixed now and is good. But I’d moved my desk as soon as the leak was discovered (thankfully nothing was damaged). That’s why it got moved to by the window. I was intending to move it back to the chimney stack, but it works better where it is. It’s the focus point of the room. I did move it back against the chimney recently, but I think I did this just to confirm that I prefer the layout as it is.

I’ve got natural light, but it’s also under the light in the room and I’ve got an LED desk lamp for when it is winter and generally darker. Believe me, even with the light above my head it is still very dark in this room.

Something I was thoughtful of when I started making the spare room into my office was making it my space, having it represent me and for me to feel super comfortable when I’m in there. I do feel lucky in that I can write pretty much anywhere but having a space that is just for that does help focus, and it makes me feel like I’m at work and I am more productive when I’m in there. Another positive I’ve discovered is if I am not feeling the work I can force myself to crack on and hit a target a lot easier than I have done in the past.

The balance that I think I might find a little difficult is having those touches of myself in it, but also keeping it semi-professional so it doesn’t turn into a space where there is too much that will distract. I think I’m going to be able to do it. It’s pretty well rammed into my head that this is a working space.

I am a big advocate for NaNoWriMo. I’m a Municipal Liaison for my region and having it represented in the office is very important to me. NaNo introduced me to writers in person for the first time, outside of my former writing partner that is, and meeting all these people have brightened both my life and my writing career massively. I have made some fantastic friends, had some amazing conversations and so much laughter!

I’ve got a few framed inspirational quotes on the walls of my office. I saw these in a supermarket and the one on the front of the pack is one that I strongly believe and thought it’ll be great seeing that each day.

I have a cork board and a dry/erase board on the chimney stack. When I placed them they were above my desk but as I’v said earlier about the leaky roof, the desk isn’t there anymore. But I left the two boards there. They are easily accessible, but I will admit I don’t check the white board often enough. I need to look at it when I walk into my office to start work each day to make sure I’m still on target. But I generally like where they are both placed.

The white board has all of the months goals on it, as well as a few little motivational words I put up when I put the goals down at the start of the month.

The cork board has a few personal notes from friends, random ideas, and a couple of random little bits and pieces on it.

I’ve also got a metal frame notice board. Like the cork board I’ve got personal notes on it, but I’ve also got some swag and decoration on it. I put this behind my door by one of the bookcases as I felt it was the best place for it, and I think it works there.

As the years go by I’m planning on adding lots of lanyards, and con tags and entrance brackets.

I do want to thank Armand Rosamilia for giving me a few little pointers, which I found really helpful. And most importantly, my folks for letting me make this space into an office.

So, there it is. My office. It’s not going to stay like this, I will tweak things. There’s furniture I want to replace. I’d love to get a nice rug for the middle of the floor. New curtains, maybe a little more art on the walls. But overall I love the space. It’s comfortable, warm, conducive to getting words wrangled.

Good Morning 29th April, 2021

Good morning folks, how are we all doing today?

I’ve had a couple of writing off days this week but am back on it today. I think I can get this edit off Penal Earth wrapped up today, which’ll be super is I can as I’ve got Black Blood scenes that I know I need to add clawing at my brain for attention.

I’m still getting used to my new desk set up. It’s nice having that extra space to have my laptop but I need to get used to it. I do like having the space to just push my laptop backwards when I’m not using it and not off to one side so I can write with a pen etc. I still make a lot of notes by hand, and am getting back into the habit of brainstorming with pen and paper.

Speaking of brainstorming, I’ve been working on a rewrite for a short story I wrote years ago. At first I thought it would be a few elements added to fill it out a little, but now it’s growing and I think it’s more novella/novel length story. So I’m seriously considering this being my NaNoWriMo project for this year. Yeah I said it, NaNoWriMo! (You ready for it this year *Chuck?). It’s never too early for me to start preparing for NaNoWriMo. I’ve found when I’ve got a novel for NaNo I need to be prepared for it. So that’s what I’m doing. (side note, I’m out of tea!!!!!!!!!).

I am going to get some words wrangled now. I’d like to have my writing done by midday as I’ve got bits and pieces to do in the garden with my dad and then a few other non-writing bits like tidying and so forth. I do have an appointment via phone this morning so it may be more 1pm that I aim to be finished with the words for the day.

Right, I hope you all have a fantastic day!

*in joke.

Good Morning, 27th April 2021

Good morning, folks, how are we all doing?

After some busy days I’ve got a lot to get done this morning. I’m going to spend half an hour editing after I’ve written this post and then it’s to work on other bits and pieces before midday.

I’ve already got a lot done, so it’s been productive so far.

This morning I have finally taken my desktop off my desk. It’s barely been working for months now and until I’ve got the money to get it looked at (which will be some time), it’s just taking up space. So I’m going to pop it into a cupboard until then. It is frustrating as its a good desktop and when it is working I use it a lot, but its not and I do still have the laptop so it’s not like it’s stopping me from working.

Right, that’s it for now. I’m going to crack on and see how much I can get done.

I hope y’all have a great day 🙂

18th December 2020 (Draft Done!)

Good afternoon folks. The draft for Penal Earth is done!!! I wrote 1924 words on it this morning and had it wrapped up in those words. Is it done done? No. Not by a long stretch. As I mentioned in a previous post I’ve now got to go through and start the editing process. I refuse to rewrite this one, again. It’s not happening! That way doesn’t work for me. Yes, it’s taken my dumb ass a long time to realise that, but I have now. So, better late than never.

The next stage will be to leave it until the new year and then start reading through it with a pen and paper and figure out exactly what I need to do to get it to where I want it. This is going to be a much deeper dive into editing than I’ve tried before and I hope I have the patience for it. I may just read through a chapter at a time so it doesn’t get tedious like it has done in the past.

Something I want to get in the habit of in the future is writing with a notepad to make notes as I’m going. Character names, ages, location names, and so on. Anything that is relevant. My drafts are full of XXX as placeholders when I forget a detail that I have put in earlier. I’m hoping it won’t slow me up too much, but if it does I might just read through what I’ve written at the end of the day and make those notes then, and tweaked any mistakes like grammar etc. at the same time. Until I try it though, I can’t say how it’s going to work.

Yes, I did dance around my office!

I really want to refine my process next year. Figure out what is the best way for me to work and then grow on it. It’s all about progress and growth. It doesn’t matter how many words I write in a year, if I never finish anything then it’s all pointless. I won’t be growing as a writer, and as a human being. I do have goals for next year, I’ve typed them up and pinned them over my desk, I might have also written a few goals for 2022 down as well. I might be pushing myself a bit too hard, but I need to know what I can take. I will have failures, but I’m also going to have victories. I need to learn from both in going forward or those same mistakes are just going to be repeated and, like writing a million words, absolutely useless if I’m not finishing anything.

I’m going to take the afternoon off and do some gaming and decide what I want to work on next. I’ll likely get back onto Black Blood but I’m always more productive when I’m not just cracking on with one project.

Rock on folks!

Taking Positive Steps

Thinking about the goals I wrote down yesterday something has struck me today; I need to learn how to make the most of my time. I’ve talked briefly about this before, but it really is something I need to master. The next few months I’m going to be trying to optimise my time. Between work, writing, family, friends, and downtime I need to be productive when I have the time. Something I’ve recently written on my dry/erase board above my desk is ‘Make Writing Time Sacred’. This is something I definitely need reminding of. To try and make that happen is that when I’m sprinting (writing intensely for a set period of time) not to do anything else. Just write. I’m getting better at that, especially when I don’t have much time available. Very little can’t wait twenty minutes. If its an emergency, I’ll respond but how often do we really have emergencies?

My office door

I’m exercising the same mentality with blog posts. I’ve got notifications I need to respond to, but they can wait. Don’t get me wrong, if its a private message I’ll respond between paragraphs, but I don’t want to stop mid paragraph.

Something I am good at is procrastinating. If it were an olympic sport, I’ve be wearing the fucking gold medal! I would be the world record holder and destroy all who come to take my crown, but am I like that anymore? No, I don’t think so. I’m getting my butt in the chair a lot more than I used to. Even though I’m blogging from my bed right now, with a movie on, I’m trying to do all my work from my desk in my office. That’s what it’s there for, and I write more. I write more when I’m working from my desktop (when it wants to work which isn’t often, I do need to get it checked out, but when I have the cash).

The office is a work environment. It’s got fewer distractions, and it’s set up to work. I can write anywhere, but it’s so much easier having that space to write. I can shut the door and get cracking. I’ve got all my notebooks, printer, and very little non-writing items in there.

I’ll take some updated pictures of my office soon, seeing as it’s all but done when it comes to the layout and furniture.

I’ve got my wardrobe in there, which I’ve got covered with pictures of my loved ones. It’s the first thing I see when I walk into the room and it’s an instant inspiration. They help drive me but it’s not just that which is pushing me forward. I’ve had both the worst and best year of my life. Because of the worst I’ve finally addressed my mental health and the help I’ve got for that, along with great support from my loved ones and professionals has meant I’m feeling more focussed and capable now. I would never have been able to think about my goals for next year in the way that I have done without these changes in my life.

What I’ve learnt the most is that I dictate my moods. If I’m feeling down, I now know how to pull myself up. If I can’t do it myself, then I can reach out to loved ones and they help me out of it. We can’t control what happens around us, but we can control how we react to it.

The anthologies I’ve been published in.

This post went way off in a direction I wasn’t expecting! But I hope you enjoyed my rambling!

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Fifteen

Wow, halfway through the month already. I’ve had a chill out day today, which I need to stop doing. I need to get up on a day off, have breakfast, get dressed, get writing. Simple as that. No thinking I’ll watch an episode of this or that (today it was The Queen’s Gambit, which was lethal as I’ve all but watched it now). I still got 2317 today, but I could have got 3000 words done, if not 3500. I know I have the ability to do that when I’ve got a day off and I should be doing it. For the speed I can write at and the time I have, it is easily doable.

I was on a Facebook live event tonight with the Mando Method Podcast folks. It was a lot of fun and in the hour before it I managed to crack out about a 1300 words to add to the 1000 or so I’d already written throughout the course of the day. We talked about NaNoWriMo at the halfway point and how we were all progressing. We touched a few other topics as well. It was a lot of fun, its been a while since I laughed that hard. It was really good to talk to these folks in real time as well. Armand Rosamilia and Chuck Buda have been very supportive to myself and many other writers. Please give it a watch 😊

Grumpy cat stare!

I’ve got one more days leave before getting back to my normal working week, so writing time will be cut down. But I can still get all the words done I need to, and more. I’m going to set myself a target of an hour at my desk a day. That’s head down and writing/editing. I’m not going to set word count goals at the moment, I want to get in the habit of spending that hour a day at the desk. My biggest enemy is myself and in particular my lack of discipline. That is something I need to overcome.

Under The Weather is the third book I’ve been published in. With my story, The Snow, I knew roughly what I wanted to do with it but it took a few little twists and turns along the way, but it was never a difficult write. One major element did change in the story which changed the entire theme of the tale. I still think it works, and it’s one that I’m really happy with.

Well folks, that’s me wrapping it for the night. I’m gonna watch a bit of tv and then read a little before bed. I’m aiming for an early start tomorrow.

29th October 2020

Hey folks! 772 words today and planning for NaNo, as well as tidying up my office so it’s ready for Sunday evening when I get home from work.

In other news I can reveal what the secret project I’ve mentioned a few times is. It’s an anthology called Beneath The Leaves from Burdizzo Books to celebrate the birthday (I’m not saying which birthday but it’s a milestone one) for Em Dehaney. Here’s the link:

It was a massive honour to be included in Beneath The Leaves as Em is a fantastic human being and I think the work everyone has put into this shows that.

Horror movie and research 😊

I’ve not felt this capable for a very long time. I’ve got one element in my life which isn’t how I wish it was, but that’s not just something that I can fix with a flick of a switch.

Right, another busy day tomorrow. So I’m going to read a little of Beneath The Leaves and then bed.

Night folks!

Friday 21st of August 2020

Good evening folks. How is everybody doing?

I have had a good day, well aside from waking to see I had to do a forth coat of paint this morning. That green really was a bastard to paint over. If I could go back and slap myself sixteen, seventeen years ago I would do. That said, I think it looks good. I ran out of the paint I was originally using, so used some my parents had left which I actually like a lot more.

It felt good though, best part of two days of moving furniture and painting. It was nice to do something practical. The news I had Monday hit me harder than I realised and having something I was able to get physically stuck into that is something I needed. I’ve been doing something that will aide my long term goals with writing. I know how lucky I am having this space and I’m going to make the most of it.

As you can see from the pictures the original colour was very patchy after two coats. I’m okay decorating, but it’s not something I’m skilled at. That said, the fourth coat went on well this morning (sorry I forgot to take pictures), and I gave it a couple of hours to dry. I literally had just enough to do that fourth coat and two in the wall cupboard.

Once the paint had dried it was time to get the furniture in place. Although an office I need to have my wardrobe and a chest of draws in there. The wardrobe was the hardest to move just because of the weight but I got it where it’s going. Then slid the desk against the chimney stack and then a plastic unit by the chest of draws.

Raven investigating.

I had shelves in one of the alcoves which I couldn’t get to go back in, so my dad is going to get some wood and make me three more shelves to replace the ones that didn’t fit back in. After probably twenty years, they’d warped and it just wasn’t going to work. Having those shelves there will be handy, so I’m glad I’ll still have some there.

The green lampshade will be going at some point.

The layout was easy, one of the things I like is a nice bit of floor space. I don’t like feeling boxed in too much and how it’s laid out now I like.

I like the basics of this set up. Desk in the middle, printer to my left. You can see the brackets for the shelves on the left hand side alcove. That will pretty much stay like that. I’ll probably get a new unit for the printer to go on one day but it’s not a priority. The shelves I’m going to use for file storage.

On the right hand side in the other alcove you can see containers of paperwork. That is mainly old drafts that I almost threw out when I moved out, I’m glad I didn’t. I’ll find storage for them now I’m back here. That’s my history as a writer. I’m not going to just toss it aside. The sad part is there’s a lot more and when I was planning to toss it, a lot got mixed up. So I’ve got a lot to sort out at some point. eventually there will be a book case in that alcove.

Some new curtains will be added as well.

I really like this layout. I’ve got plenty of room to move and pace when I’m stuck. Once I finished getting it all sorted (the wall cupboard is still a bit of a mess but that’ll have to be sorted properly later on), I had a shower and got a little bit of writing done. Only 487 words but good words.

This evening I’ve also edited 16357 words this evening after I ate. This gets my zombie novella done with this stage. Tomorrow I’ll print it out and red pen it in the next few days.

I’m thinking about what’s going to be handy to have in here, I think one of the first things will be a dry/erase board, which I think I’ll put on the wall above my desk. I don’t really need much, but there’s things I’ll add to the space over the next few years that’ll be both for decoration/inspiration but also practical things that’ll aide with the writing process. I’ve got a few items to decorate the space already, which are things I have in my room. I’ve just got to choose which ones.

So, it’s a been a very productive day. I’m looking forward to taking advantage of the space and upping my productivity. I know how lucky I am having this space, I really do. I’m not going to squander it.

How about you? Do you have a space to write in, or is it a case of writing wherever you can.

Good Morning 21st August 2020

Woke up this morning and checked to see how the paint has dried…patchy. Very very patchy. So I’m going to have a bit of breakfast and then get that fourth coat on. I’m going to try and clear out that walk in cupboard and do it all in one go. Then it’ll be putting everything back where it needs to go, and then maybe get some words done.

Have a good one folks!

20th August 2020

Good evening folks, a quick little post tonight. I’ve been decorating what will be my office. I also had a phone call to take at midday and drop my car off and then pick it up from the garage. So not a whole lot of time today to write. But I did get 238 words done on a short story.

It was snatching words in two quick sittings, and tomorrow may be the same. The majority of the painting is done, I just need to paint a wall cupboard and then it’s done. I’ll do that once I’ve got the furniture back in and I can clear out the items in the cupboard. It’s literally a five minute job. The only reason I didn’t do it today is because I didn’t have room to put the items that are in there.

I’ll have some pictures in a post in the next couple of days. Today it’s a picture of another note book 😁

I dug the vibe and the energy of this one 😊