Desk Deliberations


Computers have not only changed how we write, they’ve changed where we write. No, this photo wasn’t taken recently, but it shows one of the places my laptop and I can go to write on warm summery days. (That’s assuming we’re eventually going to get summer this year.)

I know I’m more efficient when I work at my desk, but a change of locale is refreshing. It occurs to me that there are a surprising number of desk options in the house besides the one in my office. That one is exclusively my own… the office and desk leftover from my days of running a business from home.

My husband has a desk of his own, too. After forty years in ministry with an office in the church du jour, he needed a spot at home after he retired, and a corner of the guest room became his sanctuary.

My bedside table in our master bedroom is another desk, one that belonged to my husband’s parents. Its finish is crackled and marred but that only adds to its value as a family heirloom. The accompanying chair with its petit point cushion somehow disappeared into a stepmother’s household, but the desk has followed us through seven moves. I keep a pen and notepad in it for nighttime eurekas but without a chair I’ve never used it as an official writing place.

There’s a built-in desk in the kitchen/family room, too, but I don’t think of it as a real desk since it’s an extension of the matching kitchen cabinets and countertop.  When it hasn’t been cleared for the sake of a photo, it collects spillover debris from the other counters… right now, in addition to the phone, it holds a box of tissues, a jar of 20-20-20 fertilizer (my houseplants need help), a notice from the vet that our dog is due for his booster shots, and a pottery jar of peppermints.

Upstairs, in what use to be our youngest daughter’s room before she married, there is a tabletop desk in front of the window. It was chosen to provide lots of writing space for my writing buddy when she comes to visit. Often as not, though, she comes downstairs to work at the kitchen table where more of our ‘Wildwood Acres’ is visible. (She doesn’t come often enough now, but at one time there were week-long visits when we spent hours discussing our writing projects.)

Five desks in one home! I know I’m blessed with all these options. I could take my laptop computer and work on any one of them, and yet most often you’ll still find me in a recliner in the family room with my feet up and the laptop perched on my knees. There’s something to be said for being surrounded by the comfortable informality of the working household, even when that includes the distractions of the refrigerator, the television and my husband’s comings and goings.

Please excuse me now… I’ve made a cup of chai tea and it’s time I got back to writing.

How about you? Do you have a desk? What are your favourite writing spots? Do you cope well with distractions or do you need privacy to write productively?


37 thoughts on “Desk Deliberations

  1. catchats says:

    Look at all those great writing spots! I think I’d be inclined to go for the chaise long in the sunshine, myself! You’re lucky to have all those places to choose from and they’re all so tidy. Not so in my house. heheh!

    I have one desk here in the living room at the moment but now that the summery weather has arrived, I take my laptop out to the screened in porch where I’m surrounded by birds chirping, leaves rustling from the huge trees in the forest behind us, and the dogs whimpering in hopes that I’m going to take them for a walk.

    • Believe me, my desks are not always tidy. I did a bit of staging before taking these photos!

      Your screened porch sounds wonderful! My deck is open to the woods and occasional invasion by creepy crawlies… in fact, the chaise photo came from an old post on that very subject: .

  2. Judith Robl says:

    Aarrgghh!! At the moment, my desk is so cluttered and stacked that you can’t tell it’s a desk at all. I really needed your beautiful photos of desks (loved the heritage desk that lost its accompanying petit point chair) to prod me into some housekeeping again. My goal for this weekend.

    • My desks always end up cluttered, too, and perhaps that’s why I abandon them to work elsewhere. When I want to spend time at my office desk I have to unclutter it before I can begin working, because for me, a cluttered desk results in a cluttered mind and I can’t focus on my writing. So happy tidying, Judith!

  3. Joseph says:

    I don’t do much writing but I am a coffee shop guy and thrive off the noise and buzz while I am working. I find when I am at home in my office that there are too many other things going on I want to be part of and do not get anything done.

    I know, it seems backwards…

    Go Nucks eh? Great game 1!

    • That was a nailbiter game, for sure.

      I can never quite understand how all the “noise and buzz” isn’t a distraction but working at home is, although I suppose there could be chores and family begging for attention there.

  4. elderfox says:

    Well on my desk (“ours” really since my dD uses it ALOT! nowadays)–there is enuf space for the PC and a cuppa coffee, and it’s one big honkin’ desk!! We will probably downsize when/if we move, but this one is oak with shelves for special pieces. . . . There are journals and stacks of mags and of course the
    dictionary(ies), et al. As far as being neat …you dear friend are NEAT in every way!
    Hugs, mE

  5. In the house we just moved to, I’ve been provided with a proper office, and a proper glass office door. Lovely. The 2 winows in the office look out on a bit of pasture and mountains. I sit on an old couch of ours, with my laptop. Usually the cat is close by, snoring, and quite often the dog at me feet. It’s the best office for writing, I’ve ever had.

    • I like the idea of your glass office door. It would keep me from feeling closed in while still providing a barrier for interruptions. Your couch also reminds me that I might spend more time in my own office if I brought back the stuffed chair I moved out to make room for an extra work table.

  6. Dave Ebright says:

    Hmm… just set up my writing room / library last weekend. The cost to take over the sitting room off the master bedroom was excruciatingly high. Great negotiator that I am, had to agree to … I can’t even post it. It’s just too painful. Suffice to say – Deb’s takin’ me to the cleaners.

    But my favorite place to write is on the beach or at a picnic table in the shadow of the St Augustine lighthouse.

    • I want pictures of your new writing room/library, Dave!! Lots of pictures. I bet it’s awesome! Is that where you write about Spanky? I want to hear more about him, too.

  7. Dave Ebright says:

    How did you hear about Spanky?

    I’ll take some pics – getting on the road soon for my 5 hour drive home. UGH! (Deb stayed home in her ‘palace’ this week – no doubt feeling very smug about her wheelin’ & dealin’)

    • Spanky and the Speckled Butterbean??? I’m observant and noticed the mention in your blog sidebar. Glad to see you’re keeping busy with new stories. Enjoy your weekend at home. 🙂

  8. Shari Green says:

    I’m a laptop-on-the-couch writer most of the time. My DH has a desk downstairs that he often uses in the afternoons, and once in a while I take my laptop there while he’s away in the morning, especially if I’m being very intentional about what I want to accomplish. I think the more formal location might have some influence on how hard I work, lol — I should definitely work there more often!

  9. Tricia says:

    I’m a desktop writer. Laptops are for something else. What that is, I don’t know, but it isn’t for writing. I think I feel secure with a place to make a mess, write notes, have a dictionary handy, my calender, etc.

    The laptop feels naked without a cluttered desk. I wish I could be flexible and write in different rooms, but I just can’t.

    • Tricia, I feel like I should copy and paste my reply to Shari here! LOL! I fully agree with you, except on the clutter point. Clutter around me interferes with my ability to be creative. I don’t know why, but I accept it.

  10. Jill Kemerer says:

    Wow, all of your desks are so tidy! My desk lately is a little lapdesk on the couch. This is to keep tabs on our mini-dachshund. She’s a stinker!

    • Keeping track of various inescapable responsibilities is one benefit of a laptop’s portability I hadn’t thought of. When it comes to keeping tabs on our dog, it doesn’t matter where I work… the dog settles near my feet, whether I’m in the family room or in my office. At least, he does when he’s not following my husband around. 🙂

  11. At this moment I am sitting at my desk with my desktop computer on it. My hubby is just on the other side of the wall with the laptop on a portable stand. He’s watching the news on the laptop while I am writing comments. He’s hard of hearing, so the volume is loud. I am in a perfect position to realize that I need privacy to write. 🙂 Nevertheless, I write when I have a moment. Sometimes I write at night when the apartment is dimly lit and quiet. I do my best writing when there are no distractions.

    Your many desks are charming. I like the lounge outside with the bright red flowers, but it probably wouldn’t be a good place for me to write. I picture you sitting comfortably enjoying your chai tea. Blessings to you, Carol…

    • I’m not very good at snatching snippets of time between tasks, but I think we learn to adjust to our circumstances. If that’s all the time I had, I’m sure I’d make use of it. I do my best writing in the late evenings, when I know there will be no more interruptions or distractions. That’s not to say I only write then, but it’s my most productive time.

  12. dave ebright says:

    Forgot that was on my sidebar. I figured no one ever looks at that stuff. I’ll send ya some pics.

  13. Brooke McGillivray says:

    I’ve enjoyed this post, your pictures, Carol, and all the comments. It’s fun to read how others create. I’m a little “handicapped” at the moment. We started a big home renovation last summer, still not finished with that, and we’ve decided to add another project this summer. Rooms are all topsy-turvy at the moment. So I share a desk and our desk top computer with my hubby. Not so good! I do need quiet, a comfy place to sit and order – – so I’m carving out a spot for myself in an upstairs bedroom this very weekend. I prefer our big desk top computer, but will take the lap top upstairs in search of serenity (and hopefully productivity!).

    • Oh, the chaos of renovation! I’m sure the end result will be well worth it, but it must be challenging. It’s wonderful that you have an extra bedroom in which to retreat. I hope it has a door to close out distractions.

  14. joylene says:

    I had a fancy huge computer desk up in the loft, but after a few years of running up and down those stairs, I’m situated in the dining room now in front of a huge window overlooking the lake. I close the blinds during the day to stop myself from being attracted by the eagles, loons, hummingbirds. It’s a glorious desk and i love it. I’m sitting here right now while my DH and son are watching a National Geographic show. It’s heavenly.

  15. I do all of my serious writing on the desktop computer in a nook next to my bedroom. All of my important paperwork is in file cabinets nearby, and no one else uses that area. Now that I have a laptop, though I do most of my blog posts and research on it while reclining in the living room. I have headphones to block out the distractions, but like having other people around me.

    • I’ve never thought about using headphones at home, but it’s a great idea. I wonder if I could play CDs with subliminal messages that would eliminate the allure of the refrigerator! LOL!

  16. Laura Best says:

    5 desks. Wow! I have an office, which I love, but I seem to do most of my writing on my laptop and usually in the living room. Sometimes. however, I get the urge to pick up and pen. Feels kind of good sometimes. 🙂

    • I still think using pen and paper allows me to be my most creative, and I do use it when I’m struggling with a difficult scene, but I’m impatient enough that most times I prefer the speed of using a keyboard.

  17. karen evans says:

    Carol, I just one desk, but occasionly unplug and write in my den. Love the old desk with all it’s character. I think you should frequent antique stores and find a chair to accompany the dear. 🙂

    • Hi, Karen. By not searching for another chair I think I’ve been hanging on to a niggling bit of resentment that the set was broken up in the first place. It had a distinctive design and lovely petit point seat. I’ve never considered looking for a replacement because I doubted I could ever find a match, but today’s styles don’t encourage matching pieces anyway, so maybe I should take your advice.

  18. My favorite place to write is still on my bed with a lap desk, legal pad, and pen. Old habits die hard I guess.

  19. I have a room.

    I wrote about it here:

    Right now I’m a roamer because the grandgirl’s crib (Pack-n-Play) is in there.

    But here’s my favorite summer seating:

    I’m a mess.

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