Besides “How old are you?” or “How much money do you make?” (favourites of younger audiences), one of the most common questions I get asked is “Where do you work?” (Or, “What is your writing routine?”)
Routine? I guess I have one, but since I do other things than just write books, it depends at bit on what is going on. Generally (read: on the best of days!) I try to rise fairly early, about 5 or 5:30. I am a morning person, so can easily get a cup of coffee and get right down to work. That’s when I do my most creative work. By mid-morning I switch over to editing or research and by mid-afternoon I’m usually down to paying bills and sorting piles. I try to fit in some sort of exercise in between it all – yoga or some light weights, a walk, or a bit of time on my “tread desk.” This schedule, such as it is, goes to hell when I have a looming deadline. Then, I work when I can, including evenings and weekends.
As to where I work, I am lucky to have a room of my own. It is frequently overflowing with piles of papers and books, but there is a semblance of organization and it’s possibly my favourite room in the house. (I do love my work, but it’s good to shut the door at the end of the day.) I thought you might want to take a peek, so I’ll be posting pictures of various angles. I did not clean up before pressing the shutter. (That is probably more than apparent.) First up:
This is my “filing system” for a very large project I’ve been working on for several years. I had huge amounts of research to organize and this is only a part of it. I originally had piles all over my office floor, then finally hauled this old bookshelf out of the shed and put it to good use. This photo was taken when I was finally finished (as finally as I can be for the moment; there are lots of edits to do) so I was sorting and cleaning. Each shelf once had three piles about the size of the one in the lower right corner. I’ve now squeezed them in to five bankers boxes. The two large flower paintings (one only partially visible) were done by Daughters A and P. The smaller one is a thrift store find. I have another large flower painting from Daughter A to add to the wall.
(By the way, the little book you can see on the top shelf in the upper left is The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin as a BOARD BOOK, which I find hilarious. Honestly, what baby would care less? And I would love to see parents trying to explain it all to their wee one. (And having written quite a bit about evolution, I can’t imagine that someone would think condensing it into five pictures was an easy thing to do.) The book is one of a series of four board books, “Children’s Condensed Classics.” I also have Shakepeare’s All the World’s a Stage and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in board book version!
On the top shelf is my grandmother’s old Underwood typewriter. It is just so beautiful and so heavy. I could build some serious biceps by bench pressing it! I love having it nearby and will have to track down from tape so I can actually use it.