Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: A writer’s desk is sacred ground. Some are covered in haphazard heaps of half-finished manuscripts, illegible notes, and stacks and stacks of books. Others are pristine – blank and clean like the unwritten page. What’s your fancy? What does your desk look like, and is it the way you like it, or do you wish you could settle in to work in a different setting?
Lisa J. Jackson: Oh my, I’ve just looked at my desk. And, wow! My desk is covered with oodles of various small pieces of papers that contain notes, story ideas, titles of books to get, Twitter handles of people to keep track of, account passwords, and a few notebooks and pads of paper. I have a few napkins and mints here, too. And pens! Wow, look at all the pens hiding under the paper! I do all my writing on my laptop, which is portable, so I seldom sit and write at my desk – which probably explains how the desk has become a catch-all for all these other things! I think I need to do some cleaning.
- My MacBook Pro – Only two years old and we’ve already (recently) been in to see the “Geniuses” at the Apple store for a new logic board, fan, and battery. I swear I will never go back to a PC, but sometimes the Mac romance does wear a little thin. Or, maybe, it’s just technology I have a problem with in general.
- My old-fashioned tools – “Scribbler” notebook (in which I write all my random daily jottings – phone call notes, quickie reminders, mind map outlines for posts, etc.) and my magic wand. (No, I’m not kidding – basswood, very plain, helps me think.)
- One of two kitty bosses – Miss Bella Mama Thunderpaws – taking her ease and making sure I don’t slack off.
- Notebooks & Sketchbooks – filled to the very last page with ideas, thoughts, scribbles, sketches, etc. … the kind I don’t want to lose, but am never quite sure how I’ll put them to good use.
- Piles of books and notes on the art & craft of writing – Notes from conferences, non-fiction writing books, notebooks full of bits of wisdom culled from other writers and various writerly sources. (Often where I go when looking for post ideas for this blog!)
- To be read (and re-read) book piles – Only two of the half dozen or so throughout the house.
- Unread Poets & Writers magazines – I will get to them. Eventually. (And until I do, I still have my podcasts …)
- My trusty thesaurus – My most valuable writing tool.
- Unpaid bills, unread memos, random business cards – All stuff that should be filed … someday … when I’m done writing.
Diane MacKinnon: Wow, Jamie, that picture is worth 1,000 words! Especially love the kitty house. My desk is much more mundane, although I love my actual desk. It’s made of cherry and it is simple and beautiful and I love when it is all cleared off so I can see the lovely wood. Usually the center is clear, with a few things to either side of the blotter. My planner, my journal, a few pens. When I sit at the desk I keep a few hummingbird mementos in sight. One hummingbird is carved from a dark wood and my husband brought it back from a trip to Costa Rica (where he saw many hummingbirds.) Another is a brightly colored hummingbird that is swooping down over a votive candle–that one came from a friend. Hummingbird is my totem and always reminds me that I am here for joy and hard work–and, especially when I’m writing, the two are not mutually exclusive!
Deborah Lee Luskin: It would have been easier to describe my desk than it was to figure out how to insert this photo here, but after Jamie’s techno-wizardry, I had to give it a shot. Even so, the photo is deceiving. It was taken eighteen months ago, when I was just starting Ellen, the novel I’m writing. Now, there’s no snow on the ground – and there are lots of piles of pages and books on my desk. But it’s too late to go out and snap a photo in the dark. I write on a laptop, with an extended keyboard, which I place on my lap with the computer on the desk. And I stare out the window. A lot.
I sit my butt at my desk every day, as such I have many, *many* projects going on at the same time. I *always* have a pile of books to read or reference on my right. Seriously, I’ve tried to get that pile down but in a spontaneous generation kind of way, it seems to grow on its own.
I also have my breast cancer pink timer, located on the corner of my desk. I use that tool more than anything as I’ll set it for 30 minutes at a time to reach a writing goal.
On my left is the pile of various loose papers that need my attention, as well as my calendar book. It’s a goal this weekend to go through that pile in order to get it down to a non-Vesuvius size.
The last thing that I have (besides my computer of course) is one of those single picture clip things. Each morning I write a to-do list on an index card and I clip it to the holder which then sits just to the right behind my laptop. It’s pretty hard to forget a task that needs to be done when it’s looking at you right in the face all day long.
Organization has never been one of my strengths. I tend to keep lists and do a cleaning purge when things start to fall over.