Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wonderful Workspaces!

by Anna Campbell

We have a new arts channel on cable TV here (STVDIO) and I'm having a lovely time, especially on a Monday which is devoted to writers and writing.

My favorite show on this network over the last few weeks is The Book Show which is produced for the British cable outfit Sky TV. And my favorite part of The Book Show is the bit where they show a writer's workspace. Anyway, here's the website: http://thebookshow.skyarts.co.uk/

One of the things I love about The Book Show is that they don't just go in for high-falutin' literary types. Everybody gets a look-in. So far, among the interviewees, I've seen Sue Townsend and a couple of thriller writers, including Robert Harris, and Tracey Chevalier who I met at last year's Brisbane Writers Festival (yeah, I know, that definitely counts as name dropping!) and Marian Keyes.

Marian Keyes by the way gave a really impassioned defense of women's fiction. As she said, why do people feel they can make value judgments based on what women read? And what's really sad, she said were the 'collaborators'. Women who accept these value judgments at face value as if things that women like are automatically considered beneath serious consideration.

But that's a rant for another time! I haven't read MK but after seeing her interviewed, I'm interested! She definitely is one smart cookie.

What I want to talk about today is the regular segment about writers' workspaces which I find absolutely fascinating.

We've had a couple of very elegant garrets high in the top of terrace houses. Fay Weldon's fascinated me - it's a very workaday office with steel shelving and a plywood desk at the university where she teaches. The one yesterday was a military historian called Richard Beevor who writes in a restored barn in the Cotswolds with views over the fields.

The one that really filled me envy - perhaps because like me she writes romantic fiction although in a very different style - was Jilly Cooper's workspace. It was a converted 14th-century dovecote again in the Cotswolds. By the way, clearly when you've made it in Britain as a writer, you HAVE to move to the Cotswolds, snort!

This beautiful space in a stone building with views out across classic English rolling hills made my mouth water. Bookshelves everywhere. And cats. Jilly says she loves having the cats around when she's writing - as she put it you spend so much time on your own when you're a writer, it's nice to have something alive in the vicinity. But something alive that lets you keep working!

Anyway, I took some photos of my current workspace only to discover that the new computer objected to linking with the camera. Sigh. As a result, I was stuck going through my old files.

These photos are slightly out of date - I've got another corkboard now in front of the desk, for example. And the garden, bless its cotton socks, is considerably more overgrown than it is in the picture.

But you get the idea - books, mess, postcards, computer, desk (which I love - my father rescued it from a Telstra disposal sale and did it up for me when I was in uni. I still can't believe they threw out solid walnut in favor of chipboard back in the late 70s!). View of my garden outside.

So what's your workspace like? If it's like Jilly Cooper's, by the way, I may never speak to you again, snork! Do you have a favorite room in your house? Let's talk about our habitat! And by the way, only the rooster gets to boast of his bad habitats! Groan!

114 comments:

Gillian Layne said...

Hi! I have a small upstairs living room/office with a big french door view of trees and flowers. I am blessed!

And because it's me, it's an ever-loving mess. I missed the organizational gene pool... ;)

Anna Campbell said...

Gillian, that sounds absolutely lovely. And I love that you've got your own space that's devoted to writing. It really makes me happy every day that I have an OFFICE!!! Yes, I know, I'm a humble soul, snort! And if it's your mess, go for it, m'dear! Hey, I'll see you sooooooon!

oldbitey said...

I have two spaces. First, there's office/guest room at home. It has a lovely NE aspect and catches the summer breeze and winter sun. I have a little silky oak desk and a dog who likes to eat my cookie crumbs. Next, there's Shirinkytown, (home of my husband's psych practice). I have a huge desk, climate control, a spare room where I keep all my PhD scholar crud, and bank of windows that offers views of several different trees that change as the seasons do. Best thing of all, Shirinkytown is only 4 minutes from home.

Helen said...

Well done Gillian have fun with him

Anna
I love looking at writers office's so cool I do love your garden and the desk is beautiful.
I don't have any office or special place at home I have just recently made one of the spare bedrooms into a "library" for me but there is no desk in there just 4 bookshelves and a built in wardrobe which is handy to store things in and of course it usually ends up with a portable cot in it when the grandkids are around. Our PC is in the family room just on a normal grey desk but I have a lovely corner lounge suite with recliners and it is so comfy here especially in winter because the sun comes in the back window this is my favourite room and it has 3 bookshelves with my TBR pile love it.
BTW I am loving MRS love Tarquin Ron came home from hospital today so I am hoping to get more time to read driving back and forwards from the hospital each day is so tiring.

Have Fun
Helen

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Hi, Anna!

The only thing I have in common with Jilly Cooper's workspace is cats. Does that still make you jealous? You do have a lovely office--spacious and peaceful.

My study is a little crowded at the moment. Part of our house is undergoing a major renovation and we've been shuffling our belongings around to keep the builder's work space clear. I sooooo can't wait to have back in one piece again!

Susanna Fraser said...

I've been writing seriously since 2001, but until now I've never had my own dedicated writing space. We're moving to a new house on Monday, one with enough space that my husband and I each get our own offices.

Mine is a small main floor bedroom with a big south-facing window. Right now it looks like the nursery it obviously once was, with the most twee teddy bear and balloon wallpaper you ever saw. But I'm going to strip off the paper and paint the walls a nice muted olive green. I've already picked up a very nice desk on Craigslist, rich dark wood with a built-in power strip. You plug the desk into your wall, and it has outlets for your laptop, your cell phone, your Kindle, etc.

I'll have two full-sized bookshelves for my research books and some of my leisure reading along one wall. Another will have a dry erase board for brainstorming, plus some inspiring visuals--maybe a collage for my WIP, some period portraits, etc.

I can hardly wait. I've been dreaming of this for years. It's going to be a lot of work, but my goal is to have it ready by mid-August. My first published book comes out Aug. 23, and I want to have the office ready to show off at my launch party. :-)

Virginia said...

Congrat Gillian on the rooster! I can't say I have a special place in my place! Most of the rooms are small! The spare bedroom has two computers one for me and one for hubby and a sewing machine set up in it and all my hubby's computer stuff, so this room is pretty junked up. We do have a large living room, which is where I do my reading.

Anna Campbell said...

Sandra, you're just SPOILT!! You're a conscientious worker, but you're spoilt. And there's a signed copy of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER to whoever can identify the source of that quote!

Anna Campbell said...

Sandra, wow, TWO spaces. And both lovely? For many years, my workspace was a very cramped corner of my bedroom (collating needed to be done on said bed! Hmm, I wonder if the morality police would worry about all that unlicensed collating!). I had a lovely view of the neighbors' toilet windows - thankfully frosted!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Gillian, just twigged you got the chook! Congratulations! I was so enchanted by your description of your workspace, I just drifted off into lala land. Unfortunately, these days, lala land is only a few feet across the border!

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, that's wonderful news about Ron being home! Hope he's feeling better soon. And you get your reading time back! Your favorite space sounds absolutely lovely. I get the morning sun in the office too - it's lovely first thing! Today, though, it's freezing here. Everything's gray outside. I'm so happy you're enjoying MRS and you love Tarquin!!!!! Thank you for letting me know.

Anna Campbell said...

Vanessa, you know I love your study. It's a lovely Jane Eyre nook at the top of the stairs and has a view out across the roofs of Sydney. Very Paris garret! That's Paris garret not Peter Garrett (small Aussie joke there!). Yeah, you know how much I LOVE my office. And you also know where I used to work so you can understand why! And my office has lots and lots of cupboards reaching to the roof - not quite as useful as it could be as sadly I can't reach to the roof, but the storage is very welcome! I used to have to stuff manuscripts under the bed with the dust bunnies!

Anna Campbell said...

Susanna, lovely to see you here! Have a cabana boy! We've just heated him up specially for you! That microwave comes in really handy! Snort!

Wow, that office sounds absolutely amazing. I know what you mean about dreaming about a dedicated space. I sure did! And it's one of those dreams that when it comes true, it's even better in real life! And congratulations on your book coming out! How exciting! That's the day before my birthday so clearly a very auspicious date ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Virginia, sounds like the living room might be your favorite place in the house. I must say I love my bedroom too - it's my reading spot!

Christine Wells said...

You had to do it, didn't you? You had to go and make a pun. Right there in the last line...

I LOVE your office and I LOVE your house. Can I come and live with yooooo please Foanna? I have serious office envy, and Jilly Cooper sounds like she has it made over there in her dovecote!

My workspace is in a bedroom that overlooks our pool. However, being an auditory learner, as I found out from the fabulous Jeanne, I write with the blind closed because I find the view distracting. In my 'office' I have pigeon holes that hold lots of files and giveaway books and such and on the walls hang the artwork for my first two covers. On the clothes dresser are books and 3 'in' trays. Pity there's no 'out' tray. I'd love someone else to take care of this stuff for me!

I have a nifty desk, the side of which is also a bookshelf, so I have my OED and the more oft-used reference books there.

I dream that one day I'll have an office of my own, though. In some distant, misty future!

Congrats on the bird, Gillian!

Susanna Fraser said...

Susanna, lovely to see you here! Have a cabana boy! We've just heated him up specially for you! That microwave comes in really handy!

Ooh, thanks! Can my cabana boy look like Nathan Fillion, or maybe John Krasinski?

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, look, it's all your fault, Miss Christine! You know you've been encouraging me all day! I said today was a day WITHOUT puns! I did. I woke up and promised myself PUN-itive damages if I made the slightest play on words! And then you decide to get amusing on the emails and I'm gone. It's cruel, I tell you, cruel! ;-)

Laughed at you wanting to live with me! If you do, you CAN'T have my office! Actually speaking of offices, yours is rather nice. Although I must say, I'd find the bed unbelievably tempting! For snoozing not research which I think is a sad comment on my life, snork!

There's a distinct possibility of an office in your future, isn't there?

Bronwyn said...

Hi Anna,

Well, you've been to my blog and seen what was my workspace (the dining room table) but it is now no more. When we put the new kitchen in, I lost the dining room table all together. Now my little netbook is perched on the kitchen bench next to the new cooktop under an overhead cupboard but still next to my big floor to ceiling window. Don't ask me how I lost out on that little deal but at least I have the smaller computer that I can rest on my lap anywhere I want. My dream study would be a music studio type setup with soundproof walls... Never going to happen!
I'm so jealous of every one else's spaces. Especially two offices! I'll go now, slink off to the kitchen counter and my timber bar stool =)

Anna Campbell said...

Susanna, I think the Nathan Filions are all out on loan. Oh, we have fun stamping the due date on their butts! But I think we might have a JK in the back cupboard somewhere.

Rummage, rummage, rummage...

Yup, here you go! Wait, just let me stamp him...

Swoon!

Anna Campbell said...

Bronwyn, that's just tragic. That's just WRONG!!!! Any renovations should not get rid of writing space, it should increase it! It's in the Geneva Convention!!!! Yeah, I must admit I was rather green with envy at TWO lovely offices! That Miss Sandra, she's one lucky Old Bitey duck!

Bronwyn said...

Oh and Christine, while you're here... Sweetest Little Sin was awesome! I won it from Anna (but just had to read MRS first). I really loved the cover too! You ladies are so lucky with your cover art! Now I'm going to have to go and order some from your backlist =) Happy days!

Christine Wells said...

Foanna, you can blame me all you want for the puns, but we ALL know it's not true! We all know who's to blame. Shame, shame, shame, Foanna!

But if it's PUNishment you want, I shall retaliate with... with a... a limerick! Yes, a limerick!

There once was a girl called Fo
Who was, quite frankly, a--

HMMM... now what rhymes with Fo? I cannot possibly think of a single thing...

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Anna!

As you know a few years ago I redecorated one of our spare bedrooms into my office. It has a seafoam blue on the walls, cream trim and plantation shutters. A large bookshelf which is filled overflowing and needs to be reshelved and a twin added! My desk and filing cabinet are stacked with books, TBR pile, and files I need to finish putting in the cabinet.

I'd love replace the excercise bike my hubby broke with a lovely comfy reading chair and ottoman. And currently there is a small blanket formed in a circle with Rocky-the-wonder-dog snuggled in the middle!

Anna Campbell said...

Bronwyn, I TOLD you you'd love Christine's stuff! And you know I'm always right, snork! Isn't SLS wonderful. I absolutely adore Christine's Romance Book of the Year finalist, Wicked Little Game too. It's just brilliant! And has the most gorgeous hero. Oh, and the Dangerous Duke and Scandal's Daughter are pretty darn special too!

Suzanne Welsh said...

ONe of the best parts of my office is my granddaughter's love of the "treasures" she finds in there with me.

The first Grandma birthday card she gave me.

The spice scented candle that makes her nose itch when she sniffs it.

My stethescope we use to listen to our hearts go thump-thump-thump...hers is much faster than mine!

The jar of M&M's or the box of raisins to snack on.

All the artwork her mother and aunt made for me over the years.

The framed pictures of the kids, her and her brother and cousin.

The tins of Burts Bees cuticle cream we have to put on our nails or the chap stick we have to put on our lips!

Anna Campbell said...

A Beau? No, that would be Belle, wouldn't it?

There once was a girl named Felle
Who created the most awful bad smell...

Nah, don't like that.

There once was a girl named Fo
Who grew a lovely big mo...

Nah, not keen on that either.

There once was a girl named Fo
Who sang with a voice like a crow...

Does nothing NICE rhyme with 'Fo'? These rhymes are my FOE!!!!

There once was a girl named Fo
Whose brain was so awfully slow...

Nuh, still no good.

Hey, and nobody's claimed the signed MRS yet!!!!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Suz, your office sounds very beautiful. I love plantation shutters! And having Rocky the Wonder Dog curled up at your feet is worthy of Jilly Cooper! This house has vertical blinds which I just hate - and they're perpetually breaking and tangling and altogether giving me blood pressure. I'm hoping one day to replace them with plantation shutters. It's a seasidey sort of house so PSs would look wonderful here, I think!

Anna Campbell said...

Suz, actually that's one of the loveliest things about our own workspace, isn't it? We can fill it with treasures to remind us of things and people we love. I love your list - lucky grand daughter! I bet she just adores it. Your office must feel like Aladdin's cave to her!

I've got the postcards and cards on the noticeboards. I've got photos of wonderful friends and my parents and my late cat Rover. I've got some artwork of the Hebrides, my favorite place in the universe. And I'm delighted to say, there's a couple of awards around the place too now. Those always give me a thrill!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, and a bookcase stuffed to the gills with romances! I love being in a room with books!

Bronwyn said...

I've already got it =D

There once was a queen named Fo
She put on quite a good show
Her romance is hot
her singing is not
But how we love her so!

Jane said...

Hi Anna,
My desk at home is an organized mess. There's stuff all over it, but I usually find what I'm looking for. It's in the living room, so I usually throw the mail and magazines on the table. I wish I had a great view that I could admire. I like the living room. It's where I like to read and watch TV.

Anna Campbell said...

Bronwyn, you are a doll!

There once was a girl named Bron
Och aye the noo, hoots, mon!
She'd stalk with the best
But ne'er was a pest
Or find she'd get the raw pron!

Hmm, needs work, I think...

Anna Campbell said...

Jane, sounds like most people are like me and get a few favorite corners in the house! I love the view from this house - I'm on the shore of a lake and there's always plenty to watch. Birds mainly! As you can gather, the view from my Sydney flat left a little bit to be desired. Unless you happen to be into toilet windows!

Christine Wells said...

Oh, Bronwyn, that's lovely of you to say. I'm so pleased you enjoyed SLS! I like the cover too. It's just that little bit different!

And Foanna, how can I be mean to you when you say such lovely things? Thank you, honey.

Maybe everyone already ran out and bought MRS? I wouldn't be surprised...

Bronwyn said...

ROFL, Anna!! Hilarious but I think we'll both do better with the day jobs =D

Tiffany Clare said...

I do not have a dedicated room for my writing. I just take my laptop where I need to go. I'm the wandering writer :)

If I'm editing pages, I usually sit at the dinning room table where there is lots of natural light. If I'm typing in the early am, I sit in the living room with my feet up on the table. At night, I have a great big comfy chair in my bedroom that I write from, where in the spring and summer there is lots of natural light coming in from the wall of windows.

I have to work in a clean room. No mess of any sort. I'm sort of anal that way.

When I buy a house, who knows when that will be since I live in a pricey city (and you can not take a city girl, without her licence, away from the city), I will make sure there is a nice bright office for me :)

Barbara Monajem said...

I don't have a workspace. When I'm home, it's usually at the kitchen table. When I'm not, it's either in the car (no, I'm not the one driving!), or in a hotel room (such as right now). Wherever there's a computer and someplace to sit...

Anna Campbell said...

Ah, Christine, so glad you've given up the rhyming and decided to butter me up! You can call me toast! ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

But, Bronwyn, THIS IS MY DAY JOB!!!!! WHAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

Anna Campbell said...

Tiffany, I love the sound of your writing nooks. That's one of the advantages of working on a laptop, I suppose. I must say I'm kinda psyched into work being on a desktop. Seems to get me into the space (eventually - took me forever to settle down today!).

Anna Campbell said...

Barbara, how interesting that you don't have 'place'. I really envy writers who can turn on the create button anywhere. Actually I love to edit in hotel rooms - I find I have fewer distractions and because I'm not on the computer, the internet isn't calling me as it does when I'm at home. And I love the idea of room service and somebody cleaning my bathroom every day when I'm on deadline.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, don't forget there's a question about a quote in one of the comments and the first person to answer gets a signed copy of MRS!

barb said...

have fun with the GR Gillan
I don't have a room for writing my room has sewing machines and fabrics etc in LOL It is messy but I know where things are and they say a creative person can't have a tidy room.....

Joanne Lockyer said...

OK - I am going to make you all SICK (grin) as I feel insanely fortunate when it comes to workspace.

I rent a 1 bedroom plus study apartment on the 19th floor of a Brisbane city high rise. The apartment has an unimpeded view straight down the Brisbane River, high rises on one side, Story Bridge on the other. It is absolutely stunning, particularly at sunrise on a summer's day.

For a while, I had my writing area set up in the 'study'. That was until my gorgeous fella Rob said "You should have more air and sun when you write". (See why I love him?) As a consequence, the "bedroom" got moved to the study, and suddenly I had a designated office, with floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the above said view. Possibly, the rental agent and guests think this is nuts, but Rob and I understand each other perfectly :)

AND, to top it off, (again at Rob's suggestion), I have 2 X 24 inch monitors linked together which makes working an absolute dream. Everyone should have two!

For a photo, go to:
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=900300&l=8e5cf5f0ac&id=1201297723

and

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=910773&l=36ee494df4&id=1201297723

Gillian Layne said...

Oh my gosh, Anna, it's from one of my all time favorite, can't get enough of musicals, The King and I!

"Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?"

Are you telling me I got the rooster and your gorgeous book?? WhoooHoooo!!

Deb said...

My desk and work area at school are always a slight mess. Every year I say I am going to keep teacher manuals on a shelf and papers in this or that space, but, SNORT, I've said that now for 23 years! I do have a lovely view outside my classroom window of rolling hills. (It helps to explain about glaciers covering Iowa when I do the landforms unit, LOL.)

It's not much better at home. I mean, some of our drawers look like the junk drawer and we're always looking for something because no one puts it back in the place where they originally found it! Geesh. My husband's workspace is a round table; no shoving things away, just lay it all out. :/

Deb said...

P.S. I really don't have a favorite room in my house. At Christmastime, I love the living room because that is where the tree is set up. In nice weather, I like to sit out on the front porch in my glider or on the back patio in my swing. I have had to back the swing up into the yard, though, because with Shary splashing in the pool, my books have had water spots on them!

Anna Sugden said...

I'm reading this in my (very messy and totally cluttered) office, overlooking the green fields of Cambridge and the gentle slope of the Gog Magog Hills. My two cats are asleep here - one in the armchair and one in her little 'bed'.

I can't tell you how happy I am to have my own office, after years of only having a corner of the living room. It's one of the things I insisted on when we moved back to England (along with somewhere to park!).

I have six overflowing bookshelves and the floor is covered with piles of books aka the TBR mountain. every inch of space has something I like in it - from hockey to penguins to autographs to special goodies and trinkets and my writing awards.

You'll see it when you come to visit, Anna!

And today, my study has something extra special in it ... the Amazon pigeon has finally delivered MRS!

Deb Marlowe said...

I always love to see other peoples' creative spaces! Great digs, Anna! Love the garden. Nature is part of my process, too.

I got a new office at the end of last year--a space to myself. Love it! It's so quiet and peaceful. My favorite feature is the huge window. Perfect for that 'staring into space' part of writing!

I have pics up on FB!

Christie Kelley said...

I have a great office that overlooks my front yard. I planted a butterfly bush and blackeyed susans to attract the butterflies and birds. There's a bird feeder and a hummingbird feeder too. This morning at 6:30 a hummingbird was sipping out of the feeder. I love seeing them!

p226 said...

It has an unfinished pine bench. A Dillon 650XL reloading press is bolted to it, along with a single-stage reloading press. Primers, gunpowder, bullets, and empty casings are everywhere in boxes and coffee cans. There's a bowflex running through the middle of the room, and a stationary bike on one side. A TV which is never turned on sits in one corner. An old boombox (circa 1990) sits on top of the TV and provides me with tunes from the local hard-rock station when reloading or working out.

Most of my reading gets done on that stationary bike. Because, if you're reading a good book, the 45 minutes or hour of cardio blows by so fast, you don't even notice you're working out.

That's my man cave.

Now, where do I do my work? Writing things? Actual day-job work that must be done at home? On the couch. In the living room. With all the distractions of the TV, the dog, the kid, and the general household hustle-bustle.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Anna,

Sandy Blair, one of my CP's has taken the hallway leading to her office and mounted each of her covers in shadow boxes along it. What a fabulous display of her work.

That seems to be a theme with my Texas writing friends. Jane Graves has an entire wall covered with her mounted covers. And Jo Davis not only has her covers mounted, but her first firefighter cover, Trial By Fire is this huge framed poster!

Ah, things to look forward to!

Okie said...

Good Morning! Thanks for sharing pictures, Anna! I moved my work space, much to the growling of my DH, to a corner between two wrap around windows that over look an over grown honey suckle, growing on a dilapidated arched type gate. It looks gorgeous at the height of summer. The pine trees that live on the other side give it that filtered sun look that I find inspiring and I get to watch my peonies bud and bloom. I love this view! IT is my favorite spot in the house :)

Karyn Gerrard said...

I like a wee bit of chaos in my workspace, but not that much. I am in a small den surrounded by books, media, movie posters, Boston Red Sox stuff and family pictures. It's cozy like a warm quilt.

Louisa Cornell said...

Gillian got the GR !! Keep him OUT of the hen house! Let your girls take care of him.


Wow, La Campbell, I am having serious office envy here. Love that view of your garden.

Mine is still a work in progress with the emphasis on the work part. A dovecote in the Cotswolds? I might commit serious bodily harm for that!

My office is in the largest room in the house, the livingroom. I decided to make it my writing space because it is the most open room, it has two windows, lots of wall space for bookshelves and it is the biggest room in the house. When you live in a trailer, space is a hot commodity!

It also has a fireplace which is nice for atmosphere even when it is too hot to even think of a fire, like now.

I can look over my shoulder and see my front garden, sadly neglected at this point as all my spare time goes to writing. But when the azaleas and dogwoods are in bloom it is really a glorious site.

I have my little stereo system hooked up to a pair of HUGE Blaupunkt speakers that sit atop two tall bookcases.

At the moment the coverflats and book covers that adorn my walls are those of other authors, many of them Banditas, in fact. In addition I have framed my certificates from writing contests and hung them up to remind me on the days I get down that yes, I really can write sometimes!

I definitely have plenty of canine and feline supervision in my office although they definitely are lying down on the job, usually piled up on the futon!

MsHellion said...

I am so jealous of your writing office! (Not your bookshelves though, you don't have enough space for books...I have four bookshelves piled deep with books.) But the desk and the window and the garden, yes, that I'm very jealous of!

I do not have that kind of workspace. This probably explains a lot about my erratic writing habits. I need a space. *sighs* My next assignment this summer is to find a workdesk, I think.

My favorite place right now though? My bed. I finally bought bedroom furniture for myself last year and a new bed...best thing I ever did.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna, you KNOW I love this topic! Heck I love it so much I teach a CLASS on it. Heehee.

Nothing so dear to my heart as a writing space from the humble dining room table to the garret to the dovecote in the cotswolds.

Le Sigh.

Gillian, congrats on snagging the rooster. Don't let him suggest HIS filing system for your office, though. He's not that good with our alphabet...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

OldBitey, I love that you can have two spaces! Color me green with envy...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oooh, Susanna, that sounds LOVELY! I finally got my "own" space last year and it's been such a blessing. Of course its still under construction, so to speak, since I'm shifting books from all over the house to here and back again, but hey, as Gillian said, it's my mess.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Bronwyn said: I really loved the cover too! You ladies are so lucky with your cover art! Now I'm going to have to go and order some from your backlist =)

OOoh, we LOVE Bronwyn! Grins. Music to a writer's ears that bit, about "ordering backlist"

Say it again, say it again...

Becke Davis said...

I LOVE Marian Keyes! One of my favorite all time books is her "Is Anybody Out There?" Have some tissues ready when you read it, though.

I've posted pictures of my workspace on Facebook. I clear it up periodically but it always ends up covered in little tschotskes. Right now those include a tiny calendar of English scenes, a collection of pretty polished rocks, a good luck cat, ruby slippers of various types, a golden rooster cookie cutter, a Romance Bandits button, a cherries air freshener and some pretty glittery stuff. Amazing I have room for my keyboard, really.

My office is my living room, right at the front of the house. I have a huge picture window to distract me and remind me that there is life away from the computer!

And there is a fat orangey cat sleeping at my feet, and two puppets (one dressed as a pirate) watching over me.

Great post!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Barbara said: they say a creative person can't have a tidy room.....

I'm with "Them" on that one.

And Fosey, you're a posey. A right tulip, in fact. A superb writer, front to back. I think the outlook's rosey, for another book to top the rack!

Snork.

Awful. Short notice.

Janga said...

I covet Christina Dodd's office, especially since I lost my office two years ago when I moved to a smaller house. For now, I make do with a corner of my bedroom. I do love my desk, an antique dining table with all the leaves removed, with a small bookcase, filled with reference books and my favorite writing craft books, serving as a hutch. The windows are to my left, but favorite photos of the seven Grands offer constant sunshine and a reason to refrain when my writing makes me want to stab myself with the nearest ballpoint pen. :)

And, Anna, you should definitely read Marian Keyes. I suggest starting with Watermelon.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Joanne, I have serious Office Envy.

Would you send me some piccies of your office to use in my class? I teach a class on making your writing space work for you (Thank you, Christine, for saying it worked for YOU! heehee!) I'd LURVE to use those gorgeous pix and any of your workspace, linked monitors, etc.

Actually, anyone who wants to send me office pix, from your humble barstool Bronwyn, to wandering shots by Barbara and Tiffany, to pix of your finalized space Suz!! Send me an "e" at Jeanne AT JeanneAdams DOT com and in the text, give me permission to use them in my class.

Sorry for hijacking the blog discussion for a moment, Anna! I'll stop now...sort of...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Louisa said: Mine is still a work in progress with the emphasis on the work part. A dovecote in the Cotswolds? I might commit serious bodily harm for that!


Me too, Louisa, me too!

Anna Sugden said...

Suz - it is my dream to have a framed book cover on my wall - next to my hockey hunk *g*.

I second the Marian Keyes recommendation - I love listening to her books on audio.

Jeanne - I'd send you a pic, but I'd have to tidy it up first and that could take a while ... a long, long while LOL

Anna Campbell said...

Barb, I wonder if all that wonderful texture and color of the fabric actually cues into your creative process? It's amazing what does. I have music playing when I write and that definitely helps my juices to start flowing. Laughed at the creative/untidy correlation. I remember trying that on my parents and teachers when I was a kid - they never fell for it, snork!

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Anna,

Not being an author, my computer
lives in a corner of the living
room, which is all I really need.
My bookshelves and filing cabinet
reside in the "playroom," along
with full height posters of Yao
Ming of the Houston Rockets and
Tina Thompson of the now-defunct
Houston Comets! If we ever get
a larger house, Yao and Tina will
share a room of with the rest of
my sports memorabilia. My books,
music files, and I will live
comfortably in my "library." I
can dream, can't I?

Pat Cochran

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Joanne!

Everybody, check out Joanne's gorgeous photos!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, between you and Sandra, I'm jealous! That looks and sounds absolutely fabulous, Joanne.

I'm repeat the quote I want someone to identify to win a signed book - and I repeat it with passion!

You're spoiled! You're a conscientious worker, but you're spoiled!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Gillian!!!! YOU WON THE BOOK!!!! Hope it's less trouble than the rooster!

Actually that was a saying in our house. My parents were huge Rodgers and Hammerstein fans and I grew up with the records imprinted on my brain. Love the Give me a kick if you please, Your Majesty! Oh, that was GOOOOOOOOD, Your Majesty! bit in that song.

CONGRATULATIONS!

I've got your addy (unless it's changed). I'll get your book out to you!

Anna Campbell said...

OK, OK, we have a winner! Miss Gillian not only gets roast chook (only joking, Goldy!), she gets nice yellow book to read while she's chicken wrangling.

Anna Campbell said...

Deb, my natural inclination is to be incredibly messy, but with running a business from home (which is basically what a writing career is!), I've needed to train myself to be a little more orderly. I wouldn't say I'm fabulously tidy but I'm better than I used to be. Love the sound of those rolling hills! It's lovely having something green to look at when you're seeking inspiration, isn't it? Just rests the eyes somehow!

Anna Campbell said...

Deb, my flat in Sydney, while it had an awful view of the neighboring block of flats, had a wonderful full-length bath. That used to be my favorite room there. I could lie in hot water for hours reading - so water spots, schmater schpots! Snort! Love the sound of your house - it sounds gorgeous! When I have visitors, my favorite place is the pergola near the pool. It's just a really nice place to sit and have a drink and watch the light on the lake. I've tried writing out there but there's too much to look at, if that makes sense!

Cassondra said...

Hi Anna!

Thanks for letting us see your office/work space.

There's no way I would let anybody take a picture of mine. First, because it moves all over the house at present (which could be why I'm not getting much work done) and second, because more often than not, it's not in my house.

Right now I'm sitting at my kitchen counter, on a stool, hunched over the laptop, which is going to ruin my back if I don't stop doing it.

Later I'll go into town, find a restaurant with wifi and sit with coffee and try to get something done.

I still need energetic peace around me to actually create something--at least a bit of order--and I don't have that at home right now because everything's topsy turvy.

But I keep hoping.

I wonder if any real books have been written at Panera or TGIFriday's? :0/

Anna Campbell said...

Anna, I love your description of every inch of your office having something you like in it. EXACTLY! That's how I feel about this - everywhere I look, there's pleasure!

Your office sounds lovely. Dying to see it next year when I visit. And the cats make me jealous ;-) When I visit my friend Amanda who makes the videos, her Burmese Toby loves to cuddle on my lap when I'm editing curled up on her sofa. It's a very nice moment! By the way, when you're a bestseller, you know you HAVE to move to the Cotswolds! Do you watch the Book Show? I really like it! And they've had some amazing guests on.

That darn pigeon! I think he read the book twice just to make sure he had the story right before he delivered it! Happy reading!

Anna Campbell said...

Deb, checked out your photos. What a gorgeous window! How romantic must you feel looking out of that. My window is actually a big sliding door - not so picturesque but it means the view is lovely. Especially if I clean the windows - looked at them yesterday and realized how disgusting they are. No wonder my heroine keeps looking at my hero with misty eyes! Snork! Congratulations on your new space. Honestly, I still get a thrill when I walk into mine - it's SUCH a huge improvement on what I had in Sydney.

Anna Campbell said...

Christie, I still have never seen a hummingbird. Maybe this visit! Your office and the view sound absolutely lovely. I love watching the birds too - we have grevilleas, a native flowering plant that the parrots just love. Wonderful to watch them fighting over the nectar. Although they're VERRRRRY noisy! ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

P226, that sounds just so BLOKEY! It's wonderful! The classic shed/man cave! Laughed at your paid work being done amidst the chaos. I know lots of women who have written whole books like that - somehow they find that space! And then they can't write in the quiet!

Anna Campbell said...

Suz, love the idea of mounting/framing the covers. Christine's office has big framed original artwork for Scandal's Daughter and The Dangerous Duke above her desk. I've always envied those. I've got a placard for CTC that I got at a library talk - probably should do more. But with all the cupboards, wall space is actually at a bit of a premium. And I love my Hebrides prints - when I do the follow up post with the current pics, you'll see how lovely they are!

Anna Campbell said...

Okie, you have peonies? They're my absolute favorite flower and don't grow very well in most of Australia, including where I am at the moment. They're absolutely exquisite. There's a walled garden at Calke Abbey in England that is just packed with peonies - it's like dying and going to heaven! I love the sound of your workspace - you hold onto it, girl! I think anyone would be inspired with the view you describe!

Anna Campbell said...

Drew, I think that feeling of warmth and safety is really essential for a work space. You need a secure environment so your mind can go adventuring, don't you? Love the sound of the office!

Anna Campbell said...

Louisa, I love the sound of your office space! It sounds just YOU! And I think that's the fascinating thing about our own spaces, they do become such a reflection of each individual. The canine and feline supervision and the music definitely make me think of you! I have a big CD cupboard in one corner and I have wonderful presents people have given me - for example, there's a certain Alabama clay rooster looking at me right now! And absolutely frame those certificates - we all need those boosters. I still have my two RITA flags from 2008 on the bookcase. Those babies are there forever!!!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Hellion, I wrote most of my early stuff in bed longhand. CTC and Untouched were done that way. My mother had a theory that I relaxed once I was sitting up in bed and that's when the stories flowed. Think she might have been right. Time constraints these days mean I need to type it straight onto the computer but I love my office so much, I don't mind!

I think spending money on stuff we love, like a new bedroom suite or a great desk (as I said, I love this desk and it always makes me think of my dad), is money well spent!
There's actually bookshelves all over the house - and you should see the chaos in the garage. No cars. Plenty of books! I'm wondering whether I should do something about the mess actually and get a stack more bookshelves!

Anna Campbell said...

Yeah, Jeanne, and he's got that horrible chicken scratch handwriting. What's that, GR? Oh, you're a chicken so you're allowed to have chicken scratch writing? Well, I suppose you've got a point! Just watch out or we'll get out the superglue and turn you into a stickybeak!

Jeanne, I knew this post would appeal to you! I love your office too. I love snooping in the offices that belong to my writing pals. Always tells me a lot about them!

And believe me, if you saw the dovecote, you'd be envious too!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Bronwyn, Jeanne writes fabulous romantic suspense with lots of boom (and that includes her hubba hubba heroes!). Check them out. And remember, Anna is ALWAYS right, snork!

Anna Campbell said...

Becke, I love your pictures of your workspace. It reminds me a bit of mine. You know, the souvenirs and the nicknacks and the bits and pieces and the feeling of amiable chaos. I think we're all fascinated by writer's workspaces - kind of an outward manifestation of what goes on in the head. Or sometimes. As I said, Fay Weldon's was VERY impersonal but she said she liked that. I agree with you about the window - but we don't want TOO much going on. My window faces the garden, not the road. Looking at the road would just be distracting.

Hey, thanks for the recommendation on Marian Keyes. She was a really impressive interviewee!

Okie said...

Anna, I love peonies! They are my favorite flower. I've got tons of peony plants :D Reds, Whites, and Pinks. They smell lovely. Oh, wow! The walled garden at Calke Abbey in England sounds breathtaking! I bet the peonies weep with flowers.

Anna Campbell said...

Jeanne, I must prefer Fosey rhyming with Posey to that awful rhyme that wicked Christine was going to put up! Although if I'm a hoe, perhaps I'll end up with a rake! ;-) Oh, that was REALLY awful!

Anna Campbell said...

Janga, is that Christina's office, that lovely room with the bookcases and the sofa on her Facebook page? If so, it's gorgeous!

Ha ha, you're turning into me if you write in the corner of your bedroom! Love the sound of your furniture. Actually I love the feeling of real wood around me - there's a warmth to it that really helps me feel safe and secure and ready to torture my characters, bwahahahahaha! I love the sound of the photos of the Grand Tetons. I keep promising myself that I'll frame some of my favorite photos too but at the moment, it's the Hebrides for me. They're quite impressionistic but they really take me back there and I'm wandering through the heather! I'll check out MK - I was so impressed with her impassioned defense of what women like to read! Wanted to stand up and cheer. The "women read absolute dross all the time" line is so ingrained, it's like a kneejerk reaction. They had Jackie Stewart the racing driver on the other day and he started being derisive about chick lit. With what I could see as VERY little justification!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, guys, did you see Jeanne wants you to send her your workspace pictures? She teaches a class and it's great!

jeanne@jeanneadams.com

Anna Campbell said...

The dovecote was seriously gorgeous. Beautiful mellow old stone and moss encrusted tiles on the roof and these beautiful gothic doorway looking out over the hills of rolling green fields. And all this beautiful mellow wooden furniture and sleeping cats! Perhaps we can do a raid and move in?

Anna Campbell said...

But, Anna, if you tidied it, would it then be YOUR workspace? I think the untidiness is clearly part of the environment for you!

Looks like MK is joining the TBR pile! Actually my friend Rachel Bailey who writes for Desire and lives up the road adores MK. She went to a lunch MK appeared at and said she's delightful in person.

Anna Campbell said...

Pat, when I grew up, the people next door were reasonably well-to-do and they had A LIBRARY!!! Really, it was just a small room but it was full of books and had no other purpose. I loved that, loved it to death. I still don't have a library but I'd love one - and I live vicariously. I don't know if you've noticed that there are always library scenes in my books. I have serious library envy when I go to the stately homes in England. They have a REAL library with leather couches and a big mahogany desk and walls and walls and walls of books. LOVE IT!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna said: Although if I'm a hoe, perhaps I'll end up with a rake! ;-) Oh, that was REALLY awful!


Hahahahah! SNORK!

Good one.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna said: I have serious library envy when I go to the stately homes in England. They have a REAL library with leather couches and a big mahogany desk and walls and walls and walls of books. LOVE IT!

Oh, me too! Library enviers unite! I read a lot of design books and just drool over the pix of libraries and offices with looootttsss of bookspace, and grand houses with "reading rooms"

I want one. grins.

Anna Campbell said...

Cassondra, I think real books have been written everywhere. I remember one Mills and Boon writer back in the 70s had a young family and used to write in the toilet! Hmm, not sure that would work for me! But clearly it worked for her! I think the secret is find out what works for you and then just get MORE of it! ;-) So glad you enjoyed the photos of the office - as I say, it's nicer now, I've done a bit of decoration with pictures and I have two noticeboards.

Anna Campbell said...

Okie, I'll try and scan some of the photos and put them up on Facebook. You'll just love them. This was a beautiful late spring day, the birds were singing and this walled garden was like something out of a medieval romance. You would just love it! Here's the link to Calke - it's a fascinating place if you ever get to England. The National Trust have kept it as a country house in decline so it's shabby and a bit messy but incredibly atmospheric.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-calkeabbey/

The family history is so sad and so touching, it really stays with you.

Anna Campbell said...

Jeanne, if I had a big estate and lots of money (yeah, not asking for much!), I'd have a library, a reading room AND a music room! And a long gallery! And a huge staff to keep all this clean! ;-)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna said: And a huge staff to keep all this clean! ;-)

Yep, that staff part is a MUST!

I mean seriously, it takes Sven AND the Cabana boys AND the gladiators and hockey hunks to manage the Lair. (of course they sometimes contribute to the mess too, but that's another story!) And there are only 20 of us.

It must have been a real adventure in those huge old houses with 2 or 3 generations of family in residence. Grins.

Okie said...

The house is beautiful, even in its declined state. I love the look of the parish church of St Giles and I bet the wild life is beautiful at Calke Park. Calke Abbey will def. be on my itinerary, for when I visit England :)

Tawny said...

I managed to snag my own office when we moved last summer. Its part of the master bedroom suite - this being the 'suite' part *g* It opens to the bedroom, but we have a folding screen for nighttime privacy (since I write late at night) and the double doors open to the hall so I can see out into the rest of the house and keep an eye on the kidlet. I have a lovely west facing window behind my desk and the first thing my husband did when we moved in was build me cabinets and shelves so I have storage and workspace. I love it!

The walls are a deep purple and one features framed bookcovers. The desk is an old farmhouse table I painted to match the cabinets and more often than not, the carpet at my feet is covered in dogs.

Anna Campbell said...

Okie, got the Calke Abbey photos up:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2048210&id=1574454103&upload=1

Anna Campbell said...

And, Jeanne, they didn't have modern labour saving devices like vacuum cleaners and automatic washers either. I really don't want to live in the Regency!

Anna Campbell said...

Okie, glad you're keen on visiting. Apparently it's one of the National Trust's most popular properties and I'm not surprised. It's out in the countryside and the house really is an example of magnificence in decay. The last of the family to live there lived in two rooms on a lower floor. With nothing but a gas ring to do his cooking on. They never had money to repair the roof so they just moved down a floor every time the damp and mold got too bad. As I said, extremely atmospheric! It's a little bit creepy too - one of the ancestors loved taxidermy so there's lots of very sad dead birds and animals in cases as you wander through.

Anna Campbell said...

Tawny, your workspace sounds absolutely beautiful! Love that it's with the family but separate at the same time. That must do wonders for your mental space when you're writing. And the dogs everywhere sound great!

Okie said...

LOL!I saw the birds in the glass cases! They just add to the atmosphere. I'm going to read up on Calke Abbey's history, thanks for sharing.

Anna Campbell said...

It's a really interesting and as I said rather moving story of a family in decline. In the 18th century when they built the house, they were one of the richest families in England and as I said, the last owner lived in two very shabby rooms in the corner of this vast pile. It certainly gets your writer's imagination working! And another fascinating thing is they never threw anything away. They just locked up the rooms and moved onto other rooms in the house - one of the advantages of having hundreds of rooms, I suspect! But it's this fascinating mishmash so there's priceless china and a kid's half-finished model plane all cheek by jowl. Amazing! They were doing a special tour the day we were there and took us up into the top floors where the water damage really is appalling. But it was mind-blowing to see what the NT had to deal with when they took over the place.

Christine Wells said...

You're toast.

Hee hee.

Jeanne, when I get my office in the renovation I'm going to come begging you for advice!

Anna Campbell said...

Christine, all jokes aside (I'm only toast when I've got a tan, otherwise people call me D'oh!), Jeanne is great at this stuff!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna, the d'oh comment? SNORK!!!

Christine said:
Jeanne, when I get my office in the renovation I'm going to come begging you for advice!


Oooh, cool! You get an office in the reno! Yipppeee! I'm here for you, m'dear!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, guys, thanks for a wonderful day's blogging. I've really enjoyed hearing about everyone's workspaces. And congrats to Gillian who not only won the chook but won a copy of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER!

Danielle Ferries said...

I'm late to the party and wishing I also had cable TV. I'm fascinated by other writer's workspaces as well. I have the spare room to myself with my desk on one side where everything is fairly well organised and on the other side is an enormous mountain of "paperwork" that I'm getting around to sorting through. My bookcases are scattered throughout the house.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Danielle! I have bookcases throughout the house too and as I said, piles of books in the garage that desperately need some solution for organisation! I actually think it IS great if you can get a writing space of some form - sounds like you've got that covered.