Stake your space

I have a desk at my day job. It’s a nice, wraparound desk with lots of space to stick things up on the walls. I have all sorts of lovely things to decorate the desk. Pictures of my kids, Snoopy cartoons, inspirational postcards from Erin Condron and Van Goh prints. On my desk are toys. Stuffed animals, a little plastic grim reaper cat and a jar of colored pencils.

Recently, I had to take everything down because we were going to move to a different part of the building. I packed all my unnecessary crap and left just my calendar up on the wall. Then, I had to wait for a day before my new workspace was ready for me.

It felt as though I was sitting in a box. A highly boring box. Even though nothing I needed was packed away, I felt like I couldn’t work. Slowly, my toys started coming back out of the box, just because I was lonely without them. Once I could get everything set up on my new desk, I felt at home almost at once.

I think this is why I could never be a minimalist. I take great stock in the comfort of physical things. Which isn’t to say I’m materialistic. Each thing on my desk means something to me.

The toys were all gifts, from beloved friends or my children. Pictures of my family remind me why I need a job in tough moments. The Van Goh pictures make me feel peaceful. And Snoopy at the typewriter never fails to remind me that I am a writer.

At home, I have a desk. It’s a hand-painted little piece of crap, to be honest. It’s falling apart.

But it’s also covered with little toys that make me happy. It’s got enough room for my computer and an open notebook. It was my grandmother’s before it was mine, and it became mine when I was fourteen.

I’ve talked before about writing everywhere. I write in doctors waiting rooms, on public transportation, at the library, in diners. Wherever I am, I can and do write.

But there is something about my desk, my space, that makes the writing easier. Maybe it’s the physical things that represent the love of the people around me. Maybe it’s the habit, this is where I go to write. Maybe it’s that I have this room, my office, set up just to my liking. I guess it could be all three of these things.

I know that you might not have the room to have a whole office. Maybe you don’t even have a desk. But I would encourage you to find some space to write in that is your own. Maybe it’s just a lap desk at a certain time of the day. Maybe it’s your kitchen table or counters for half an hour before the kids get up. But make that space your own. Put up something inspirational or beautiful. Stake your claim, stake your space.

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