Welcome to the first Authors Answer. In this feature, ten authors plus myself will answer a question every Friday. This is an opportunity for you to see how authors think, and how they often have very different answers. You can click on their names to see their profiles and links to their blogs, websites, and social media. Enjoy!
Question 1: If you could design your dream writing studio/office, what would it be like?
Oh man, if I could somehow have exactly everything that I wanted? Well first of all it would involve building a piece onto my house because no room in our house is big enough for what I want. I’d want to start off with a high-ceiling room, maybe ten feet or so would be good, and the room itself would have to be at least 15 x 15 ft. I would have a wide window that went right to the ceiling, and it would be the type of window with a little bench/resting area as the sill. This area would be full of pillows and perfect for curling up to read a book or jot down some notes while getting my daily dose of sunlight. But the window would also have to have thick, light-blocking curtains because sometimes it is very important for me to write by as little light as possible.
My desk would not be the standard giant wooden monster that a lot of writers love (though they are pretty cool); I want the kind that they get for offices in the oil patch. These desks are your standard faux-marble computer desk, but the height is adjustable, so I could lower it right down to my short stature, or I could raise it up super-high and write standing up if the mood struck me. The desk would house my laptop, with an extra screen attached, a mini-pinboard for notes and reminders, and a bunch of candles (see aforementioned “write by as little light as possible”).
Finally, the rest of the room would be filled with bookshelves, like my own personal library, and some of those shelves would be reserved not for books, but for my collectibles, my Funko Pops, and anything else that I love enough to want near me while I work.
That would be my dream office.
I think what I’d want most would be huge maps on my walls. My current setup is okay — I don’t really need more than a computer and a chair — but I’m working with a large and detailed story-world, and the little maps I have on my computer don’t really provide me with the sense of scale I’d honestly like. If I had one wall just covered in a continent map, I imagine I’d spend a lot of time detailing the little places and routes and points-of-interest that are just tiny pixels on my current maps. As I was initially inspired by detailed D&D game-worlds, I would really like to have that level of information in mine. Right now I just don’t have the space.
First off, it would be detached from the house to limit intrusions by children. Like a child’s playhouse, but for me. It would be one room. One wall would have a large picture window. Another would have a wall of bookshelves full of writing related and reference books. There would be a small area with a sink, coffee pot, hot tea bags, and a small refrigerator. And of course a small bathroom. Basically, everything for basic needs will be there. If it’s in the room I won’t be tempted to leave and more writing will get done.
Now, the color scheme. Why? Because color matters. I think a nice sky blue. I like that color and it reminds me of the beach. I hear blue also increases productivity. I would have a large desk with plenty of room to spread out my materials, and a laptop. I would need a comfy work chair and a really comfy reading chair. I use quite a few maps when writing, so I would need a table to spread those out. A cork board to pin inspiration would be very useful. And let’s not forget a magic cabinet that refills itself with whatever supplies I need at the moment. Ink cartridges, paper, chocolate, you know the essentials.
In the end it would be a room dedicated to nothing but writing. That way when I go to that room I would be prewired to write. I think that’s part of routine. Writing often, in the same place makes it easier to write.
I don’t pay much attention to my surroundings when I get really involved in my writing, so the most helpful thing that I don’t already have would probably be soundproofing. All I really need is an appropriate chair, space for anything I might be using as reference, and a lack of anything really distracting. And my computer, duh.
You know that house with the cupola room built on top? That cupola that juts out of the roof like the crow’s nest of a ship and has windows on all four sides? Yeah, I’m sure you know the one I’m talking about. You know it faces something incredibly scenic, and you see that little cupola room up there as you drive by and think, “Wow, what a view that room must have!”
If you give that cupola room a little more thought just before it passes out of view, you might wonder how the person who owns the house gets up there—is it a narrow, winding staircase with a wrought-iron railing? Probably. At the top of the steps, though, anyone who enters has to stop to admire the view, the expanse of Lake Superior spread out before the north window and the patchwork greens of Hiawatha National Forest visible through the other windows.
The room is well lit—even through the dreary dim of a Michigan winter. You might even call it cozy if you were to get an opportunity to push the plush pillows out of the way and recline on the window seat below the south window. If you managed to avoid the pull of sleep in that relaxing spot, you might want to peruse the bookshelves that run under the windows, an eclectic mix of books that any bibliophile would be proud to call her own.
I know it’s hard to do, but if you can tear yourself away from that book you just found, you might notice that there’s a desk under the north window. Well, calling it a desk might be too formal. It’s more like an oversized table, piled with loose papers, a notebook, several pens, and an assortment of books, each with a bookmark hanging out. A computer sits there, the screen filled with words, a novel in progress. You might want to take a peek—just a quick glance to see what the words say—but you won’t. You know that an artist is at work in that cupola room overlooking Lake Superior, and you wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.
I need sunlight and a wide open space, a desk near a huge window, a comfy chair. A TV behind me, in case I need to Netflix or game some frustration out during the writing process. A good AC system because sunlight = heat. And a shelving system of some sort to catalogue my books and writing notebooks/folders/manuscripts, etc. Pretty much, exactly what I have now. 😀
My dream writing studio would be in a tree house. Not just your average tree house of course – it would have a trap door in the floor to get in, large bay windows that open to let in the breeze and close if it’s raining. It would have gas lights for when the sun is beginning to go down and a wall lined with bookshelves. Far away from traffic and close to the water so that I have gorgeous scenery to look out to, the only sound to penetrate my world would be the birds, squirrels, and cicadas in the summer. And of course the swish of my horse’s tail; he’ll be tied to the hitching post outside.
What a timely question. I’m in the middle of building a house right now, which includes my dream writing office.
It is a room without doors at the foot of the stairs in the basement which allows me my own space while still being within earshot if someone needs me (and they always seem to when I’m writing). This way, I don’t feel guilty about shutting myself away or being distracted by wondering what chaos is being created in the rest of the house. The room is also far from the bedrooms so late night or early morning writing binges won’t bother anyone.
My writing room includes a desk with a good office chair. Though honestly, I get most of my writing done with my feet up, so it also includes a comfy reclining chair. There is a large whiteboard on the wall for plotting and shelves to store all my writing books, notes and display the magazines my short stories have appeared in. A few writing-related posters will adorn the walls.
While there is access to a window if I turn around, I’m more productive in a writing cave. Not directly seeing if it’s light or dark helps me stay lost in the story. I also don’t have the urge to stare out the window and think about the yardwork I should be doing. Knowing what distracts me, I’ve designed this room to avoid as many of those things as I can.
All I really need to write is a place to sit and my laptop, but I do keep candles and my Scorpius bobblehead on my desk. I like the lights dim when I write and Scorpius nods as I type. Or that might be him nodding because my leg is bouncing up and down while I’m in the middle of writing a tense scene. Either way, his approval amuses me.
My ideal writing conditions are fickle. Noise can distract me, but quiet causes my mind to wander too much. Sometimes I need fresh air, sometimes a beautiful sunny day makes me wish I were anywhere but inside. For this reason my idea studio would have to be flexible. There would be windows, but with blackout curtains. I’d have multiple chairs and cushions in case I want to be comfortable or focused at my desk. My most productive writing sessions are spent with a notebook and pen, so I’d need plenty of those, but a computer will be needed eventually. It’s not uncommon for me to have my laptop closed next to me, playing music while I’m scribbling in a notebook. But having access to a coffee pot is one thing that will be constant.
I don’t need anything fancy. My perfect writing office would be comfortable, have room for my cats to sit near me without standing in front of the computer monitor (lookin’ at you, Doodlecat), and my books within easy reach. So… yeah, what I’ve got, basically.
In the dream house I want to build, I have a dream writing studio. But in whatever house I live in, I’d like a room like this. It has a door that I can close for privacy and silence. There’s a window on one wall, to let in natural light. Hopefully, there’ll be a view filled with trees. Near the window, but not in front of it, is a desk. On that desk, there’s a desktop PC and a laptop. I’d be using the desktop for much of my work at home, as well as any kind of image processing, video processing, and games. The laptop will be my writing studio on the go. And I’d have to say that the desk will be wood with plenty of drawers. Along two walls will be bookshelves to keep my library of books. Those shelves will be made of wood, as well, probably mahogany. The reddish colour just seems right. The walls will also be a dark red colour. It seems warm and also goes with the general feeling of the room. Along the third wall will be a sofa and maps. Not just of the world, but also maps for my books. Around the room, I’d like to keep various things, such as solar system models, plastic models (I want to get back into doing this), and maybe even a TV. And that is what I have in mind for my studio.
How about you?
Now I’d like your opinion. What kind of writing studio or office would you like to have? What do you think about these ideas? Is there one you like the most? Leave a comment with your thoughts.
Come back next Friday for the second question!