Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Our writing spaces - an Alleycat open-home tour!

I'm undergoing a makeover of my writing area/ home office at the moment, and the process has made me think - what makes for a great writing space? 

Is it about creating an organized and efficient work area with everything you need at your fingertips?

Perhaps you're more interested in displaying images and words that inspire you, and picking a color scheme that makes you happy to sit down and dig into your work?

Is it about investing in an ergonomic desk chair, and positioning your computer screen at the right height to minimize eye strain - or settling wherever you're comfortable, even if that's the corner of the couch?

Separation from the rest of the family so you can concentrate, or the ability to be right in the middle of the action?

Clearly there's no one right answer to any of these questions. Our writing spaces are as different as our temperaments and writing styles. Some people prefer a more structured set-up with a desk, chair and writing books within easy reach; others are happiest to snuggle under their bedcovers with their laptop. 

Of course, there's usually a gap between our ideals and the constraints of reality, as well. Some writers would love a dedicated area to work in, but it's just not feasible given their current living arrangements. I mean, how many of us would love a desk with a sea view like in this gorgeous picture above - right?? Can't you just feel the inspiration flowing in on that ocean breeze? 

But this is real life, and writing happens wherever we can make the time and space for it.

With that in mind, I thought it might be fun today to offer a personal glimpse of where we write.

So kick off your shoes and come on in. The Alleycats welcome you into our homes to share our real-life writing spaces. 

Ang loves to settle in for a writing session on a comfy armchair with a chunky knit throw and her laptop:

This is Sherrinda's brand-new writing space. She's always written on the couch, but her son just moved out last week and she decided to turn his room into a guest/ writing/ art room. I love Sherrinda's inspiration board and that gorgeous whimsical chair - would you believe she picked it up off the side of the road and gave it a complete makeover with paint? (You can read all about that DIY project on her personal blog here!)

I love that Pepper has a beautiful artwork hanging over her desk, and a bookshelf within easy reach. What better inspiration than to be surrounded by books!

... but that's only one of Pepper's writing spaces! She also uses a treadmill desk. How cool is this??! What a great idea - as simple as installing a shelf to hold the laptop, so she can burn calories while racking up her word count.

Mary was so inspired by Pepper's awesome treadmill desk, that hubby made her one of her own!

Mary also uses a desk by the window when she's not sweating it out on the treadmill. I love all that natural light - a real mood-lifter.

All this talk of exercise is making me tired. Krista has the right idea... her writing retreat is right here in bed, snuggled under the covers with her laptop! How cosy does that look?!

Julia's writing space is on the couch - and she's hung some pictures nearby that have very special meaning for her as a writer. I love what she has to say about this: "My inspiration is more what's on my walls. A picture of my daddy when he was young. He always told me to dream big and I'd like to hope he'd be proud of me. And a picture of Henry Wordsworth Longfellow with a signed nameplate! I feel like with those two men behind my desk I can achieve my best." So meaningful and so inspiring.

Our resident animal-lover finds inspiration curled up next to her beloved dog Schroeder (how cute is he?!):

This gorgeous writing corner has it all - a roll-top desk with plenty of little drawers and cubby-holes for writing supplies; inspiring photos on the walls; and a whiteboard within easy reach to jot notes and brainstorm ideas.

This divine lamplit corner just beckons me in. With a wedding photo for romantic inspiration, natural light and an ottoman pulled up to the couch, is it any wonder our Amy is so prolific at the keyboard? What a charming and inviting spot!

So that concludes our tour of the Alleycats' writing spaces. I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse into our homes. I love the individuality of each of these spaces - from cosy couches to treadmills and desks.

If you're wondering where my contribution is, you'll have to wait for Part Two of this post in two weeks' time. Meanwhile, I'll be busy finishing off some painting, installing shelves and completing the makeover of my writing space. It's already shaping up to be my favorite writing zone of any house I've lived in - I can't wait to share!

Where do you usually choose to write? Couch? Coffee shop? Desk? Anyone else rocking the treadmill desk like Pepper and Mary? Do you pull inspiration from your surroundings, or are you happy to write anywhere you can perch a laptop?

Karen Schravemade lives in Australia, where she juggles writing with being a SAHM to three small kids. She's had short stories published in two literary journals and is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such. Find her on her website, Twitterand getting creative on her home-making blog, A house full of sunshine.


Susan Anne Mason said...

What fun! I love seeing other writers' work areas! I am going to try to make a shelf for my treadmill, too. I think I even have one of those wire shelves hanging around somewhere.

Can't wait to see your area, Karen. I know what a great decorator you are from those nursery photos! Maybe when one of my kids moves out and I get to have a guest room/office, I get you to come to Canada and help me make it over!!

Happy writing!


PS. Praying for your darling girl that all goes well with her eye surgery!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Oh, I loved getting this tour! Makes me long for another Alley Cat retreat where we can all meet in one comfy and inspiring place! :) and kudos, Karen... You actually made my ill corner of the couch sound like an oasis. Magic words, my friend! Can't wait to see yours!!!!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

I loved this tour. Such fun writing places!

My writing space is our kitchen table. We have a sliding glass door that lets in lots of morning light. It's close to the coffee, tea, food, chocolate. I light a candle, and I enjoy the quiet open space.

When the kids get home, if I get to write in the evenings, I usually trek up to my project room. Right now, it's uber-cluttered, but the table has a space for my computer and a view of the mountains, which I love, especially when I get to watch God show off his color palette with the sunsets He paints. :)

Mary Vee Writer said...

Oooo, Jeanne, a view of the mountains. How awesome.

And Karen, the first photo with a view of the ocean. I don't like sitting on the beach, but I definitely could spend hours at the desk in front of an ocean setting.

I am longing for a retreat too. I think we need to wait for the next Alley kitten to arrive first. But I have this idea that is bursting and desperately needs some what if ideas to launch the start.

Ashley Clark said...

Amy, I was thinking the same thing! I feel like I got to come over for tea for a few minutes! :)

This has also inspired me to spruce up my office area, which is currently acting as an indoor greenhouse for my plumerias while the weather is cold. :)

Karen, I can't WAIT to see your writing space!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

SUE, a trip to Canada to do some decorating? I'm IN!! Sounds like my dream holiday!! :) And thank you SO much for your prayers for Allegra!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

AMY.... aaahhhh. Alleycat retreat. Two of the most beautiful words in the English language. :) Still dreaming that I'll get there one year!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

JEANNE - both spaces sound perfect! I love the picture you painted with your words. Mountain views - oh, my heart. Beautiful!!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

MARY - would you believe that first picture is a painting?! Amazing, huh? I'm with you - I could sit there for hours! It'd be hard not to feel inspired with a view like that!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Karen, I so enjoyed these pictures! Trying not to have desk envy with those treadmills, although I'm one that can't walk and chew gum at the same time so I'm not sure how I'd do with power walking/jogging and writing at the same time.

Pepper said...

Oh Karen,
This was such a great idea. AND it made me miss my Alleycats even more because I felt like I was stepping into their houses
I love that we all have such different places.
I do have a dream for an actual writing office some day, but I really like being in the middle of the kids right now.
It allows for quick snippets of writing throughout my time at home.
That beach view? Wow! lovely....but I'd still prefer a mountain view :-) It's in my blood

Casey said...

I love seeing everyone's writing areas! Like having our own private home tour. :D

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

JULIA, yet another way we're the same! LOL! I am sooooo uncoordinated. I've always wondered how people manage to type and walk at the same time. I love the idea in theory, but really, I know my limitations... I would definitely hurt myself. ;)

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

PEPPER, mountain vs. ocean views - that's a tough one!! Can I take both?? ;) My desk is right in the middle of the action as well. So much easier to get little bits done here and there while keeping an eye on the kids.

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

CASEY, I agree! I always love a little sneak peek at peoples' homes. ;) And when it's my dear Alleycats, it's so much the more fun!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Haha! I'm with you on the tread-desk thing. I've never tried it, but I have these horrible visions of being so engrossed that my legs get tangled up and I just bite it. Hard. Maybe my hair gets tangled in the side, pinning me down while the tread steamrolls my face. Yeah, that's how scary my imagination is. I think i'll stick to a more serene and stationary work space for now. :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

But oh, Jeanne and Pepper... A view of the mountains would really help my motivational state. Or the beach. Unfortunately the midwest offers neither of those things. C'est la vie!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

LOL, Amy - I'm picturing it! Sounds painfully accurate. Fairly sure I should steer clear of a moving workspace also. ;)

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

I'm late...but ohhhh, how I loved all these writing spaces! And I can't wait for YOUR big reveal!