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.

29th of June 2021 – Stealing Words

Good morning folks, How are we all doing today?

I’ve got a busy day today so I’ve made sure I’ve sat down and got some words down before starting. I am hoping to get back into the writing work later on today, but it all depends on how I get along with other tasks.

I have written 456 words this morning on a story called Isolation (placeholder title). This short is now 1007 words long and it tied into a bigger story that I’m working on. More to come on that in the future once I’ve set some more foundations.

I am slowly getting back into the habit of what I think of as Stealing Words. This is where I will write a few words when I have just a few minutes. Like if I get to work a little early then I’ll type a sentence or two. Making sure I write on my breaks. Even if it’s a short shift with a short break, I can squeeze some words in during that time. Even if it’s not good, and I delete it later it’s still words written. Okay, I can’t edit like that. Brainstorming isn’t really doable for these snatches of time either. But writing a few words, for me that’s very doable.

Right, I’ve got to get cracking. I hope you all have a fantastic day! Please look me up on the social medias, the links are on the right hand side of the screen!

Rock on, Folks!

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 🙂

Good Afternoon 11th March 2021 & Filling The Well

Good afternoon, folks. Yes, I overslept till gone ten and then had personal correspondence to write. But now I am ready to work!

First up is a read through of Ashes with a red pen and then I’m going to dive into the Vampire book and get this episode done! Then I’ll paste the next episode into the drafting file and read through it so I’m going through as blindly as I did the last chapter.

I also want to get cracking on the ending to Black Blood, and figure out exactly how I want it to end. I’ve got ideas but I think those could change as I write. But we’ll see.

My desk is Still messy!

I did get some good ideas from the Netflix series, Pacific Rim: The Black. Overall it was a good seven episodes and I’m looking forward to see what they do in the future with it, but from a creative point of view it gave me some good ideas, which leads me on to talking about keeping the creative well filled up.

One of the things I do is rewatch what I’ve seen many times before. Sometimes it’s a comfort thing, other times its laziness. Sometimes I’ll watch something new like Superstore, which is good but doesn’t add much to my creative well. That needs filling to keep the ideas growing. I think when we’re young it gets a lot of ideas thrown into it, and it gets more filled the longer we don’t start pulling from it. I watched Pacific Rim: The Black yesterday and it gave me a ton of ideas, then I watched a movie called Surrounded about a group of YouTube type content adventurers whose seaplane crashes and leaves them in shark “infested” waters. (There’s only three sharks) and they have to survive being adrift and getting to this small island station thingy. Firstly, I don’t know why I watched this as anything with Big Water freaks me out! I hate the thought of being stranded in the middle of a huge late, or ocean, sea. Anything like that, which is probably why I like watching that stuff, but anyway. It was something new that I hadn’t seen before and aside from a number of eye rolling moments (I doubt sharks swim in an attack formation, or dead straight; and there was a few cliche moments and plot details there just to add conflict), it wasn’t too bad. I can always live with cheaper CGI if the story and actors grab me, and for the most part they did. I didn’t get a huge amount of inspiration from it, but it was enjoyable.

I need to watch more new content. I retreat onto what I know far too often and I need to change that. I’m not going to make a grand declaration that I’m only going to watch new things for the rest of the year because that’s crap! But What I am going to do is make more effort to watch new, or thing I’ve not seen in a long time or only once from here on out. I’ll talk more about them here as well, even if it’s just a passing mention.

I also have series to continue with as well. The Last Kingdom, The Punisher, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Jack Ryan, Altered Carbon, Game of Thrones, and no doubt a few more. I want to rewatch a couple as well. In particular Sense8 and Battlestar Galactica (the reboot). I’ve not sat down and watched Battlestar from start to finish in one go and feel it’s nearing time to do so. As for Sense8, it is my belief that Sense8 is the best TV show of the last thirty years. It’s years ahead of its time, and doesn’t hold back in so many areas and would never have been made if it wasn’t on somewhere like Netflix. It’s so ahead of its time in my opinion that it suffered for it and was cancelled after only two seasons, but due to fan demand Netflix gave them a two hour special to wrap the loose ends up. It’s not a series for the faint hearted, but I think it’s very much worth a watch.

Right, I’m off to get to work! Have a fun day, folks!

24th February 2021 (2)

Hey folks! Only about 400 words this morning. I had a few non-writing matters to see to, and I had a morning where I’m reminded of how good I can be at procrastination!

I have left the vampire story (that I’m still working on!) in a good place for when I look at it tomorrow.

I’m off work tomorrow but have a garden to start sorting out so I won’t be doing a lot of writing, but there will be time for word wrangling.

Right, off to work in a bit, have an awesome day folks!

I still love this poster from last years NaNoWriMo. I’ve got it above my desk so I just have to look up and get a touch of inspiration ☺️

8th of January 2021

Good evening, folks!

Just a quick post tonight. I’ve edited 2311 words tonight, 1202 yesterday and in all its about 13000 words edited for the month so far.

It feels like small steps, but forward steps. I’ve got a lot of work to do on this one but I can see how it’s all taking shape. I’ve got like five pages of A4 notes so far. I need to do better at figuring out which notes need to be written down and which ones are more overall as opposed to more specific notes.

The last couple of days I’ve been getting the itch to go and do something with Penal Earth. I really don’t want to touch it until I’ve finished this pass of Black Blood. So I might just knock out a short story, maybe even just a thousand word story. I think it’s a rich universe to play with so I’m sure I can come up with something.

I had to move some bits around in my office, this was Raven helping!

Right, that’s all folks! be safe, be kind, and be awesome!

Good Afternoon, 3rd of January 2021

Hey folks!

So today has been a slow one in starting. I dragged myself outta bed at 10am and I’ve felt tired, I’ve only just warmed up but am still feeling dead tired. I slept but I slept really badly, I think it was a very unsettled night for me. I’m trying to pinpoint why I didn’t sleep well, but haven’t been able to.

Needless to say, I’ve not got any writing done today. I’m set up to get cracking, but have looked at the next scene to look at and it’s one that’ll pretty much be the start of an entire sequence that will need all but a whole rewrite. So, I’m bloody grateful I’m not navigating that today. It’s just a read through and note taking. I’ll make edits, even though I’m not going to keep these scenes I think it’s a good idea to keep this editing mind on and it’s all experience at the end of the day.

Today’s work space.

I have written a few words today. Just a few though, for a project for a publisher that I’m looking forward to participating in. I’m still not sure how I’m going to get this story done just yet. I’ve got a good idea of the feel of the story, but it’s executing it and I haven’t really figured out the story yet either. This is the story I was talking about recently where I was saying I need to sit down and do some brainstorming.

I’m sure Raven will try and sit on my notes when I start working

Something I did forget to mention the other day was that I have submitted a couple of stories to an anthology. I had a mild panic when I thought I’d screwed up by not adhering to the submission guidelines, but after emailing the editor they clarified that I haven’t. So I’m relieved by that and I’m now eagerly waiting to find out how they’ve done.

Right, I’m going to crack on with this Black Blood read through!

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!

11th of December 2020

It’s mid afternoon, and I’m done for the day. I’ve edited the zombie book and written 1105 words on Penal Earth.

Penal Earth is definitely nearing its end now. I’ve got a few loose threads to tie up and a couple little doors to leave open and then this draft should be done. This is the last draft I’m doing. Yes, I’ll be going through and doing an edit but no more re-writing of this one.

I’ve ticked off the zombie edit on my whiteboard. I’d really like to be ticking off Penal Earth as well by Wednesday. If I do that it’s half my writing goals ticked off for the month, but I’m tempted to leave Black Blood for another week or two and see how letting it rest will let the ending evolve. I’m not entirely sure how I want to end it and I’m hoping a little break will help me flesh it all out.

Raven playing with a plastic spider on my desk.

When I was making the changes on the zombie book and found that I’m not always agreeing with what I’ve red penned. If this isn’t a case for leaving something for a little while then I don’t know what is. I’ve always said when asked for advice about what to do when a story is finished to put it away for a while but I always fail at that, myself. Today is further proof that I need to do better at sticking to that advice and not being as impatient.

Ever feel like you’re being watched?

I’m feeling a little burnt out at the moment and am going to spend the rest of the day chilling out. I’ve got an early tomorrow at work so I’ll be writing a little after that. Hopefully I don’t need to crash out like I did yesterday, but we’ll see.