Monday, January 9, 2012

Office Envy

By Sue Ann Jaffarian

My desk 2009

This is a photo of my writing space taken on January 4, 2009. It's in a corner of my bedroom, which is quite large. As I wrote, I could hear traffic noise from Palms Boulevard three stories below and people arguing on the street. 

My desk 2012

This is a photo of my writing space taken on January 7, 2012. Same bedroom, same corner, same desk. It's tidier, has a new chair that the cats don't claw, and the tower has been replaced with a laptop. Across most of the top of the hutch are items sent to me by readers.  There are others, but they are out of camera range or in my office at the law firm where I have more room. The book to the left is a signed copy of Nose Jobs for Peace by Selma Diamond, who I consider my ghostly muse. My trusty, huge white board is still to my right. Three floors below, Palms Boulevard is as busy as ever. As you can see I haven't come far in three years. 

Well, that's not true. During the three years between these two photos, I've written 8 novels and 5 short stories at that very desk. But as far as location goes, I'm in a rut that doesn't look to change soon.

This week's question is to talk about a writing retreat that would inspire me to write my best book ever. I find it an odd question because my best book is going to be written no matter where I am. Writing comes from within, not from without. In the debate on nature vs. nurture, I'd say when it comes to writing, nature wins hands down.

Sue Grafton's Office
But it sure wouldn't hurt to nurture it a little, would it? 

There are two offices I envy. One is real; one fictional.  The real one belongs to Sue Grafton. I mean, just look at that awesome space!!! Miles and miles of counter tops and drawers, and a freaking big window with trees. I drool every time I look at the photo. I'll bet Ms. Grafton can't smell her neighbor's excessive use of lighter fluid on their barbecue, or hear sirens and city buses while she works.
The fictional retreat is the writing space Diane Keaton used in the movie Something's Gotta Give.  Although it was in her bedroom, like mine, it faces a fabulous window and was located in a gorgeous house in the Hamptons.
Office in Something's Gotta Give

I don't need to "retreat" to some secluded location to write. And, hopefully, I will always write my best wherever I find myself, but it sure would be nice to have a beautiful work space like one of these in a nice quiet cottage in the mountains or at the beach.

Maybe some day ...


gregkshipman said...

Lord love a laptop...

Now I see where the genius performs her genius-ity... interesting blog.

Being a mechanical engineer my home office was once the corner I could fit two willing desktops. Now with two laptops my 'home' office is the place I happen to be (home, office, hotel room...). Armed with my laptops and gaggle of jump drives I'm prepared to conquer the world... if it would only cooperate and stand still for a minute or two!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Good points, Sue Anne! I have a desk out on the lanai, but most of my writing gets done at the local Starbucks or on a plane or in the car or...anywhere.

When I was working full time, I would sometimes sneak away for one weekend per novel to plot at the local Motel 6 (it's not a Motel 6 in name, but definitely in spirit and quality).

Mostly, I write wherever.

Meredith Cole said...

After living ten years in the city, I finally got a real home office of my own with a door and everything. I thought it was going to make all the difference in the world to my productivity... but I still move around the house with my laptop. And the door might as well be invisible as far as my family is concerned!

Diana James said...

I have a roomy home office, but don't use it often. I find it confining. I love the flexibility of moving around with my laptop.

Diana James said...

I have a roomy home office, but don't use it often. I find it confining. I love the flexibility of moving around with my laptop.

Reece said...

Sounds like your current writing space is working for you just fine, Sue Ann. And don't let that movie office get to you. I've heard those movies by Nancy Meyers (It's Complicated, Something's Gotta Give) referred to as "kitchen porn" because all the characters live in such disgustingly great houses (and offices).

sharon D Moore said...

Okay I have to get my mind in gear and adjust. In my previous apartment, I had a separate bedroom to use as an office. Everything was spread out and (semi) organized but the environment (neighbors/neighborhood) made writing challenging. I had neighbors above, behind and beside me. Two thought their apartments were nightclubs 24/7 and the other practically ran a daycare overhead for every rowdy jumping, running, screaming, etc. child in town.
Fast forward to November 3011 when I moved into a house with a ginormous master suite where I have both my office and my bedroom. It all fits well with lots of walking around room despite my massive king-size bed and other furniture. I have tons of room and the environment is conducive to writing but I CAN'T SEEM TO WRITE b/c my office is in my bedroom! I get so distracted! :-( I see your office and realize that I probably don't need all the trappings that I thought I needed to write. Thanks for the visual. I will now attempt to alter my thinking.