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.

13th July 2021

8550 edited on the vampire book today, plus added 111 words to it. Which brings that edit to an end. What I’ll do now is continue rewriting the section I started the other day and see how it comes together.

After that I called it a day with the writing. I had a few bits and pieces to do so I cracked on with those and come tomorrow I’ll be writing again.

In addition to the vampire piece rewrite I’ve got the story from NaNoWriMo 2019 to work on. I think those two will be my focus for a few days and the. I’ll likely do a read through of the editors notes for zombie.

Raven deciding I was a seat, and can you tell I’d not had tea when this picture was taken?

For now, I’m gonna watch a movie and then get to bed.

Have an awesome evening all!

Good Evening, 12th July 2021

Hey folks, I’ve done 6200 words edited on the vampire book, and just shy of 800 words written on a new short story today.

I’m nearing the end of the vampire edit now. Only two more chapters to go, not sure how many words that is.

The short story is one that I started in 2019 for NaNoWriMo and I feel like I can actually get it to somewhere that’ll be good now. I’d ran out of steam with it in NaNo 2019 but now it’s speaking to me.

I woke up this morning to a mouse on my floor, obviously Raven wanted to play overnight!

Overall, a productive day and a good start to the week.

Good Morning! 5th of July 2021

Howdy Folks! How are we all doing today?

After I blogged yesterday I was going to get a little work done on an upcoming blog post but I had a nap instead. I was hoping to get it done so I could get it typed up and at least scheduled today, but I don’t think that’s going to be the case.

I am planning on getting the vampire edit done this week. It’s less than 60k so I think I can. I am being flexible in things like this though. I’m taking into consideration the day job as well as other non-writing elements of life (like the little ball of black chaos that is known as Raven!).

I’ve been brainstorming a lot recently and I’ve got to set about transferring all those handwritten notes to the appropriate project files. I think some of what I’m getting from brainstorming is installing an element of a story in my head and when it comes to writing the story that element won’t be forgotten (hopefully!). But I don’t want to rely on my brain solely, I’ve got so many notes on the mermaid book now that I can’t guarantee I’m going to be able to recall them when it comes time to write the story (this’ll likely be my NaNoWriMo story for this year!).

A busy week ahead, and I’m determined to hit the ground running!

And here’s the ball of chaos being cute ☺️

14th June 2021

Good evening, folks.

Writing has been a struggle of late, and I’ve realised I can’t do anything with my Homestead story for the time being. So I’ve put that aside and started the next edit of Black Blood, as well as working on a short story idea I had some time ago.

I forced time at the desk today, I don’t like doing that but it was needed to get myself going again.

I edited 4600 words on Black Blood, and have set myself a goal of November to have that, and edit passes of Penal Earth and the vampire book done. I’m also going to try and work on some new short stories as well. I don’t want to start another big project until November. I’ve got plenty to work on until then.

😉

Right, I’m going to leave it there for the evening. I hope you are all well and managing to crack on with your art and lives in ways that bring at least a little happiness to you.

Good Morning, 24th 2021

Hey folks, been a busy couple of weeks, so little writing but lots of brainstorming. I’ve got four or five projects that I’m beginning to get a really good idea of what I want to do with them. I also re-edited my kidnapping story, despite the date for its anthology submission being long past, I can submit it elsewhere or self-publish it (I have plans).

I am very stuck on Black Blood at the moment. I’ve been trying to write a sequence which is vital to the story and I’m not feeling it. Maybe I need to think it out a little more, I don’t know, but at the moment it’s just not clicking. I think I’ve got a good basis for it, that it’ll work, but I’ve just got to suss it out. I honestly don’t think I’m far away from it, I think I just need one little element to slot into place and then it’ll come together.

I will also be looking at the two short stories I’ve been working on that take place in the Penal Earth world. One of them I think I’ve got a good core for the story, whereas the other one is a lot more bare bones and I haven’t found the real story to it yet. I don’t think I’m far off, it’s tickling the periphery of my conscious but it isn’t revealing itself just yet. I’m going to read what I’ve written of these two and then brainstorm.

I’ve not done this sort of brainstorming for years, and I’m really enjoying it.

Right, I’m off. I hope y’all have a fantastic day and week ahead.

Dizzy enjoying the sun and watching the world go by ☺️

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, 6th April 2021

Morning folks! How are we all doing today?

I’m a little tired but focussed. I have work later today so simple goals today. Basically a blog post and 500 words on Black Blood. As always I’m not going to stop at 500 if I’m rolling, but if its like pulling teeth then I will.

My head feels pretty straight again now. I feel I’m back on the right track again, and honestly I feel more focussed and capable then in a very long time. It’s nice having this week mapped out so I can just look at my planner and I know what I’ve got going on. It’s helped setting modest goals once more and I can even see an end in sight for Black Blood!

Right! That’s enough procrastination. Words don’t wrangle themselves.

Always inspiring

Good Morning, 22nd of March 2021

Howdy folks, how are we all doing today?

I’m feeling better than I did last night. Despite one very strange dream I slept well and this morning have written 372 on Black Blood and 826 on a story set in the Penal Earth world.

I’d hope to knock out a nice 1000 words on Black Blood today, but I really wasn’t feeling it. I can’t get my head in the right place to write the ending how I want it to play out. But instead of sitting and stewing about it I got stuck into another story. One that I’ve rewritten the opening for and am a lot happier about it now. I’m still not sure where I’m going to take it but I hope I’ve got a good footing to build from and have opened up another element of that world.

This always helps pull me from a creative funk.

I didn’t watch Day Watch like I was planning to last night. I was exhausted and the thought of watching something new, with subtitles (i don’t mind subtitles but I need to be more awake than I was last night), was a little too much. So I dived into some YouTube and then got my head down.

This week I’m going to get back in the flow of things. I’ve got lates for most of the week, so I’m hoping with some earlier nights I can get some energy built up again.

Good Morning, 17th March 2021 (2)

That is 695 words written this morning, and one character killed off!

It was a pretty straight forward session this morning. I managed to get rolling quite well, despite kitty interference, and the next scene my characters will really get thrown in at the deep end.

I’d like to be able to channel some of the bleakness I put into a story late last year, but where I’ve got through that part of my life I don’t seem to be able to draw from it at the moment. Obviously I don’t want to return to living with the sense of desolation I had back then, I work each day to prevent that. But I wrote some good pieces then and I think this story would work well with some of that vibe added to it. That said though, would it work for this story? This story has never had that depth of emotion to it, so it may screw up the vibe it has now.

But anyway! I’m at work and will be starting shortly. I always have a productive day at my day job when I’ve been able to get some words wrangled beforehand.