I split my writing between two places, the living room (as pictured with me on the floor holding my baby) and in my home office (shown with me on the couch.) My office is painted a bright, cheery shade of cranberry and there's a coordinating oriental rug on the floor. My favorite decoration is a painting of a redheaded angel that I bought from an artist (D. Finley) on Ebay. She's cute and sassy and keeps me in line. I also have a bookshelf that's practically toppling over with books, folders, Bratz dolls, and voodoo dolls, awards, etc. The quote on one of the shelves reads: One shoe can change your life ... Cinderella. I've tried to bring the world into my office, with art from all over the world, foreign signs, and paintings of girls touring places I dream of going. I have a terribly non-ergonomic desk, a cozy loveseat, three funky lamps, a bulletin board covered in photos and cards people have sent me, and a framed photo collage showcasing my favorite family photos. Somewhere in there is a phone and if I'm really lucky I can find a pen.
I'm attaching a photograph of me in Prospect Park, in Brooklyn. Though I typically write at either a) my desk or b) Starbucks, those aren't that fun, and I LOVE writing outdoors when I can.
Basically, I take my laptop, a blanket, an iced coffee, maybe a baguette with some cheese, and spread out on a shady section of the grass, and just go to work. My laptop battery lasts for a good three hours or so, and I love feeling the buzz of activity around me as people go about their daily business and soak up the fresh air (well, as fresh as city air can be...).
This is my office, after six solid months of writing where I didn't take a good cleaning break. I'm still in the throes of revising a book, but I tried to clean up in order to take a picture to show on the blog. Hah. Sharp-eyed viewers will spot: a copy of one of my witch trilogy books under some filing (came from my publisher from a third printing run and was dumped in the file pile); two boxes of holiday cards (very handy...in three months) the watch that goes with my exercise monitor (fell off the desk two months ago and has yet to be picked up); notes to myself; receipts; a toothbrush from my visit to the dentist a month ago; an Amazon box that is *not* empty but contains a friend's book that I ordered two months ago and have yet to unpack and read. The stack of file folders is my teaching work -- and that *will* be taken care of tomorrow...only to be replaced by a fresh stack of work, of course.
The desk is no cleaner, but I do have a cool new cork board wall (see next pic).
Ah, what I can stick to these cork panels -- when they finally stick to the wall (the push pins are meant to encourage the sticky stuff on the back to, you know, actually *stick*. I have to buy one more pack, for a truly awesome wall. I'm going to do my storyboarding there. Can't wait to finish my revisions and get on to the next project.
If you think the desk is bad, you should see the two bookshelves and the mini-desk on the other wall. One day, my office will be a paean to organization. I'll take another picture then, to prove it is possible to turn chaos into order.
Office. I painted the walls pink to prevent my husband and my son from coming in and talking to me while I'm trying to write. It didn't work. The chick on the bulletin board is Zoey, the heroine from the novel I'm writing now, No Parking. No, you're not mistaken, the front has fallen off my computer tower. I can still use the buttons if I am very careful. Only the highest quality tools are used to write Jennifer Echols' novels, let me tell you.
Porch. I think the plant might have been dead for three years and I can't tell because it's a cactus. It petrifies instead of withering.
Here is a set of pics of Miss Bridget Jones' contribution to my writing process (ie: "portrait of the writer returning home from a coffee shop," or "why I now work from my apartment").
I'll let everyone in on a deep, dark secret. I thrive on the unexpected when I'm away from home. I prefer the chaotic beauty of an English garden to the formal structure of a Versailles hedge, wandering streets to make my own discoveries over following a tour guide whose route and spiel hit a town's highlights in perfect order. I like the hum of people chatting in a restaurant, the noise of a stadium full of sports fans, and the chance to park myself on a bench or wall in the middle of a big city to people-watch. But at home, I crave structure and quiet. I'm an everything-in-its-place kind of person, which is why my office looks like this....
Here's what would really scare my friends (the ones with whom I travel, who are used to seeing the inside-out clothes strewn across my suitcase and/or hotel room floor four days into a weeklong trip): I didn't clean this room before I took the picture. This is really how I work. (If I'd have cleaned up for the picture, I would've taken the paper towel out from under the bonsai and filed the stack of papers on the shelf in the left-hand corner of the photo. I might've even put my glasses back in their case.)
Yep. I, Niki Burnham, am secretly a neat freak.
While I often do work in coffee shops or airports--happily, even--this is my favorite spot to write. Notebooks with research for my current project are close at hand; my computer screen is large and clear. There's plenty of sunlight, files are within reach but hidden away behind doors, and there are enough shelves to hold my books and pictures. I don't play music or have a television in the room. The silence and lack of clutter helps me think. So even though my characters are frequently knee-deep in mayhem, I'm not. At least not in this 9' x 11' corner of the world.