My first “office” was a corner of our unfinished basement at the house in Beech Grove. It was drafty and cold. In the winter, I shoved clothes and socks into the drafty spots so I could write in my winter coat.
In time, I moved upstairs to the hallway.
We had a computer armoire in the small hallway space to the left of our bedroom. I’d open the doors, slide out the keyboard, and pull a folding chair from the living room closet.
I dreamed of a space of my own, a place to fill with books, plants, and blankets. I was convinced all I needed to finally write what I wanted to write was an actual office. I have no idea what I wanted to write, but that was beside the point.
An office would solve all my problems.
Eventually, the time came to move Harper from her crib to a big girl bed, and I jumped at the opportunity to move both the girls into one room with bunk beds. Mama was finally getting an office.
And that is how I wrote the next Great American Novel.
Just kidding. That’s how I wrote such inspiring posts such as Peanut butter & jelly is my very best and How a child of the 80s wears neon. Also, it’s where I tried to be a fashion blogger, and it was awkward for everyone. (Like I said on this post, you just try a bunch of things and see what sticks.)
Since the fall of 2013, I’ve been lucky enough to have a dedicated space for writing.
My office now, in the house we’ve been in for thirteen months, is my favorite spot. I spend my days here teaching and grading, having never imagined one day I’d get to work from home and still teach English. Actually, I did imagine it, I just wasn’t sure it would ever happen.
I do the majority of my writing here. I have filled my shelves with books on writing, God, and teaching. I’ve filled it with plants and even though Harper tells me our house is turning into a forest, I keep buying more when I have a few extra dollars.
Growing up, I loved to fill my walls with posters, quotes, and pictures. No space was safe from tape or push pins. I loved color and spread it around with a heavy hand. I can still see my bedroom at thirteen, bright yellow walls and beautiful purple blowup chair. It was the epitome of middle school decor.
Now, my house and love of color has softened a little. Our rooms are toned down, I let the walls breathe, and I enjoy empty spaces that make a room feel open and comfortable.
But my office still reminds me of my middle school bedroom. Not much open wall space, more colors than your eyes know what to do with, piles of blankets and books and things I love. There is no rhyme or reason decor-wise for this sanctuary of mine. If I love it, I find a place for it. Not because it matches my mood board or because it ties in with the colors on the rug nicely–this office doesn’t have to make sense or be loved by anyone but me.
Sometimes in the afternoons having worked through lunch, I’ll take a break on my couch. Grabbing a book, a blanket, and a fresh cup of coffee, Blue and I will read (yes, my dog can read, thanks for noticing) for a while before I need to login to a meeting, grade more essays, or lesson plan.
When the girls get home from school and before I wrap up my work for the day, you’ll often find them on the floor coloring or filling the spot I have vacated on the couch to read books. Harper especially loves to be near me when she’s home from school and will bring in piles of whatever she’s working on and make herself at home too.
I’ve had an office of my own since 2013. It hasn’t made writing easier like I thought it would. Apparently, you still just have to sit down, focus on words, and craft a story. A dedicated space or presence of a door doesn’t change that. (I don’t currently have an office door, but eventually we’ll put one back up.) Some days writing is easy and some days it is not. My office does not hold any special powers to help me focus or inspire, even though I imagined it would.
But my office has given me a place of my own, a place to sit when I need a break from the loudness of a family and kids and life. It is a place I can stack books high, leave an empty coffee cup on the end table, and hide my slightly embarrassing amount of blankets.
Inside the door to my office closet are book notes. Lists and charts, notes and ideas. I’ve not written the Great American Novel like I had envisioned. I’ve met with agents and talked through ideas, but nothing ever stuck. I never found my one idea–the one I couldn’t stop thinking about, the one I couldn’t forget, the one bursting to get out.
I know now so much of my story had not been written yet, so much of what I was going to need to write had not yet happened.
I’m getting closer.
And when I am ready, I will sit in that gold chair (I know, a gold chair? Seriously, who do I think I am?), write the words I’m supposed to share, and finally, God willing, write a book people want to read.
I shared my last office space here if you’re interested.
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