Built-ins and window seats make me weak in the knees. I can’t help it. So, it’s not a stretch to say I’m having serious shelf envy over Susan’s writing space. Enjoy the tour. 🙂 — Orly
When my husband and I moved into our house ten years ago, my main requirement was that I have a dedicated space for my books. (He wanted stairs and decent size kitchen!) I just wanted to display my books. I’m one of those readers who prefers physical books to e-books so I can see how pretty they look on the shelves after reading them.
By that point, I was just starting to get serious about writing (and publishing!). My desk, two file cabinets with an unfinished door stretched across them that we’d used in college, took up the bulk of the smallest bedroom. It was a monstrosity. And an ugly one at that. The room was definitely not the book haven I had imagined. Which led to me doing the bulk of my writing on my laptop in the comfy rocker/recliner in the living room.
It wasn’t until I started doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2009 that I started using the library to write. It was nice to have a space to myself to concentrate. But the room did nothing to inspire creativity. So my brother-in-law made built-ins complete with a window seat (cushion and pillows courtesy of my mother-in-law) and I bought a large ladder bookshelf for the opposite wall with a small desk for my laptop, which I quickly realized was less than ideal for writing.
To help keep me productive, my husband designed and built me a beautiful new desk (that was relegated to the closet because my bookshelves had already claimed the rest of the room.) I filled the shelves he built next to the desk with craft books for easy access while writing. And I decorated the small space with things that made my fangirl heart happy (Veronica Mars movie stickers, a Pushing Daisies painting, River Song’s TARDIS journal from Doctor Who, a brass monkey from Wonderfalls!) It was the perfect writing set up. There was inspiration everywhere.
Then a few years ago, I had to have radioactive iodine therapy for thyroid cancer and, therefore, be quarantined for a week. I got the master bedroom and writing cave, while my husband and cats got the rest of the house. As a temporary solution to my isolation, we relocated my rocking chair from the living room in with my books so I had a comfortable place to “live”. It’s a bear of a chair and took up way too much space in what was already a cramped room. But once it was in, there was no removing it. I loved writing in it too much to give it up a second time. So, now I settle into the over-sized chair with my laptop on a lapdesk (and more often than not with a cat asleep on the desk chair to keep me company) and write my heart out.
The room is far from the perfect book nook, but being able to look around and see fellow authors’ dreams and sweat and tears captured between pages keeps me going when I’m ready to give up.
Susan Bishop Crispell earned a BFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Born and raised in the mountains of Tennessee, she now lives twenty minutes from the beach in North Carolina with her husband and their literary-named cat. She is very fond of pie and is always on the lookout for hints of magic in the real world. She is the author of THE SECRET INGREDIENT OF WISHES (2016) and DREAMING IN CHOCOLATE (2018).