Currently: Writing chapters 16 and 17 of FAERIE
and getting ready to announce Royal Ascot Finalists
Mood: Greatly Relieved
Every author must have an office, right? No? Well at least a writing space. Right? Wrong again? Well, let's just say we need it. "Must-have" is a little strong.
The problem so many of us face is that as soon as we get reasonably settled into a workspace- especially if it's in our home- someone starts encroaching. Even those authors who have an actual room to call their own sometimes find family members want pieces of the room. Doors don't stay closed for stay-at-home authors. Hang out a sign on the doorknob that says "Warning! Goddess at work! Enter at risk of being struck by lightning." They'll laugh and say, "Hey Mom, got any Band-Aids and tourniquets?" Followed by "Just kidding, Mom. What're ya doing?"
Never mind. We still have to write. We'd write sitting on rocks, scratching our words into palm fronds if we had to. Palm fronds are a bit hard to convert to text to send to the printer, but we'd figure out a way.
My solution began to form a in 1996 with my first laptop. It was a Gateway with a 9-inch diagonal screen and a whole 256mgs of hard drive. But it meant freedom.
My office started to become mobile. It went with me to work, where I wrote on my lunch hour, and meant my evil supervisor could no longer accuse me of using state equipment and electricity. And at home, I could hide out in the bedroom in my favorite cross-legged position, far from the blaring TV and other distractions. It worked most of the time.
But lifestyles change. Suddenly hubby was home, sleeping in on non-work days-- in my office. I was up early, tip-toe-ing around. So my movable office kept on moving. Deck, living room, freezing cold family room, then back to bedroom. Never had a decent place to store stuff. Then the last grandson departed the guest room for his own apartment, and I took it over. It needs a lot of work yet, (note that flowered bag on the floor on the left. Recognize it? Yes, from the Readers Luncheon in April) but I've finally got great storage. See the baskets under the bed? Five of them. And I can sit cross-legged on the bed. That laptop stand will go back out to the deck for summer use with my favorite mesh lounger.
To have a really portable office, portable devices are important. The laptop is the cornerstone, of course, with an extra battery. Portable storage devices like thumb drives or external hard drives provide extra safety of files, especially important when shifting locations. Wireless routers or cards give internet access and mean printers can be located elsewhere, but I have a second printer in my new hide-out, and it's not wireless-yet. Research libraries aren't portable, but at least the books are. They're in bookcases all over the house anyway, so I'd still have to hunt down what I need.
Note all the frills. Very important. Lace, ruffles, flowery prints establish territory and are the best male repellent I've found yet. Now the guys can come and visit but they don't stay quite so long, and my guest room is actually a guest room. I just move out for a few days, back to one of my other writing spots.
Small necessities include a place to put that cup of coffee, a sprinkling of more primitive writing necessities like paper, pencils and date book (I still haven't successfully converted to a computer calendar). Outside on the deck, I write beneath a canopy with side shades (it's a myth perpetuated by hotel commercials that laptops can be used in bright sun) and keep a lap robe handy. Nice days can be chilly sometimes.
The requisite black writer's cat, also a portable device, is unfortunately still unreliable, especially when its favorite closet hiding spot has become threatened. But nothing can be done about that.