Last week, I took Friday off work with the express purpose of rearranging my (our) home office/library. I’ve been having trouble writing lately – due to several different factors, but one in particular has been driving me nutty. Drastic steps were needed, so last Friday, I took them. And I think it’s going to help, though time will tell.
I have a hard time focusing when I try to write on the computer, like many writers do. Some power through and use internet-blocking apps, some set up a completely separate writing computer with no connectivity, and others (like me) use old-style word processors to get the words down and a first draft written. My current device of choice is the Alphasmart Neo, which I got for somewhere around thirty bucks on ebay. It’s a great little machine that consists of a small screen with no backlighting whatsoever and a nice, big, comfy keyboard that clicks rather satisfyingly when I’m typing along.
The Neo is pretty light, but it does have one downfall in that it’s hard to use at a table due to the thickness and no wrist-rest. The “desk” I have is actually an old restaurant booth from our local Red Robin after it was remodeled, so the seats are somewhat lower than a normal chair/desk setup. My laptop is thin with a wide wrist rest area, which allows me to use it somewhat comfortably at the desk, but the Neo just works better sitting on my lap in my writing chair.
The problem, then, wasn’t a lack of furniture (the green chair is my writing chair). It was that my writing chair was situated with a view straight out the office door, which meant sound traveled directly down the hall from the living room. My husband likes to watch videos on his laptop before bed, and my dogs wander in and out, so closing the door really isn’t an option (I wouldn’t want to lock them out – I like having them close).
Hubby has earbuds and headphones, and never remembers to use them. He tells me to remind him, but I’m not the sort of person who wants to nag on anyone for anything – I’m his wife, not his mother. The sound was driving me crazy though and fracturing my focus while I tried to write, so something had to be done.
We have an entire wall of books thanks to the beautiful floor-to-ceiling bookshelves he built, and books are incredibly insulating. I decided that the best place for my writing chair was in the back corner away from the door and in front of the bookshelves. Out of the line of sight for the door, and back where our books could double as sound dampeners.
I decided the desk/booth would turn and sit in the other far back corner for when I’m writing blog posts (*ahem*), editing, or whatever. While I was at it, I decided to move the secretary out from behind Murphy’s dog bed so I could use that as well when I wanted to. I have a lot of stamp stuff in there, plus some comic books that need to be cataloged and it’s a nice desk to work at when I’m working on things like that.
I have to say, I like the new arrangement a lot. I went through a period where I wanted to be out of the flow of things, but still connected, so with the old arrangement, all of my seating faced the door and had at least a partial view out into the hall. Now, all of my seating is on the back wall of the office, and the view into the hall is obstructed by bookshelves and…well…walls. Even tonight (Monday), just writing this post, it was easier to stay focused and not get distracted (yes, I write posts on the laptop, so in my booth). Tomorrow night I’ll be in my writing chair, with my Neo on my lap, working on one of my drafts-in-progress. I suspect that this arrangement is going to work swimmingly for the “isolationist” period I’m in now. With any luck, I’ll actually start finishing some stories again. It’s been far too long since I did that.