Feeding the muse
June 15, 2010
As most everyone knows, writing is not a 9-5 job. I tend to work whenever the mood strikes – be it at a “normal” writing time, or at 3:00 a.m. when I wake up and realize the story I have to tell for My Zombie Valentine. But having a job that is so fluid means we writers sometimes forget to take time off. You get wrapped up in the next story and then the next. There’s always a new project. So recently I decided to take two official weeks off between books. The only thing I was going to do would be to clean out my office in preparation for the next book.
See, my office is one of those inherited deals. My husband had the space first and he put in a lovely L-shaped desk with a hutch. He added all kinds of office-y things like file drawers and beige carpeting. Jim is a consultant. He likes things extremely organized and he doesn’t care what color the walls are as long as his clients are happy. So the walls were white. The windows were covered in industrial blinds. Then my husband stopped working at home and I inherited the space. Sure, it worked for him, but to me it felt like Dunder Mifflin on crack.
So I did what any self-respecting creative type would do – I loaded it full of crap and shut the door. Then I did my real writing on the green couch in the living room. I only ventured into the office to retrieve author copies of my books, grab a Kiss My Asphalt t-shirt off the hutch or dig out one of the many run-off drafts of a manuscript that I stacked all over the L-shaped desk.
Finally, I’d had enough. Well, that’s not totally true. Finally, I needed a something to screw with since I was taking that two week break from writing. The dreaded office seemed like a good project. It took only a day to clean it up, but of course that didn’t help. In fact, it made it worse because then I could see the business desk. I told Jim, “I hate this desk.” He said, “You can’t have an office without a desk.” I told him I’d like to try. Out went the desk.
Then we replaced it with one of the couches from the living room (anyone know what to do with a blank spot in the living room?). We painted the walls, added art and fun little things I kept finding around the house. I was living the Angie Makeover Dream. Then I told Jim what would make the office really work for me. A chandelier.
My husband, who had thusfar given his nights and weekends to my “hey let’s do this,” kind of office planning was like, “This is going to be your office, right?” Why yes, of course, I told him. “Why do you want a chandelier in an office?” he wanted to know.
Hmm…I didn’t have a really great answer for that – other than the fact that it sounded fun. Plus, as a writer I CAN have a chandelier in my office and isn’t that reason enough?
It was the only thing we ended up buying for the renovation (except for paint) and I just love it. Now we need to get to work on the beige floors. And add some bookshelves, and perhaps a cool dresser to keep Kiss My Asphalt t-shirts and other goodies. I told my husband that I need to take two weeks off after every book. He agreed, but in his eyes I saw the truth: he now lives in fear of the two week break. He’ll do fine, though. He’s survived this long being married to an author. And I’m really glad the office is finally my office.