* * *
Home Sweet Writing Desk: Where I Write
by Kendall Kulper
I’m something of a nerd when it comes to writing spaces. I love seeing where other authors write and all the little personal things that make it special, like Roald Dahl’s awesome writing shack, complete with overstuffed armchair/lap desk or Judy Blume’s baller poolside writing office.
Whenever we move to a new place, finding a space for me to write is a top priority. I work from home, and since I try as hard as I can to recreate the feel of a regular nine-to-five job, it’s very important to me that I have my own dedicated space. Meaning, my desk is where I work, not where the mail piles up or where I hang out and paint my nails. Butt in chair = work getting done (usually).
And since I am very particular about writing spaces, I DIY-ed as much as I possibly could, beginning with—oooh—my standing desk.
Can I confess something?
I love my desk.
I love it so much that after I built it, I meticulously broke it down and rebuilt it twice when I moved, first to Chicago and then to Boston, because I couldn’t bear the thought of getting rid of it.
I based it off of these plans from home builder Ana White’s uber-amazing DIY website and modified it to fit what I wanted. First: I have always dreamed of having a standing desk, where I could work all day and still get up and move around a little. I only needed shelving on one side, and I added some little hooks to keep all my various wires and chargers organized. Since I’m still a lazy person at heart, I did get myself a comfy chair, too—this bar chair from Ikea. And of course, no desk would be complete without a secret dog bed.
When I used to work at an actual office, my desk there had not one, not two, but four monitors, arranged in a giant square. It was suuuuper luxurious and made me feel like I was in The Matrix, and while I couldn’t quite get four monitors to fit on my desk at home, I at least have one extra one, which is usually where I park my current music playlist and, for edits, the original document.
My corkboard is a holdover from college, and it’s where I keep all my little, personal things—quotes that inspire me, funny buttons from friends, a few of the odder rulers from my (way too vast) collection. All these things tell stories, and when I’m feeling my inspiration dry up, a quick glance at my corkboard is a great way to reenergize and refocus.
I try to keep my desktop pretty neat, although at the moment it’s covered in various baby-related and move-related things (mostly because I am on writing hiatus while I take care of my newborn). In general when I work, the only things I keep on my desk are my laptop, monitor, a miniature LeCrueset pot full of paperclips, my college beer stein filled with pens, and maybe a notebook. I have a very designer-driven need for things to look pretty and clean; clutter gives me the heebie jeebies.
One thing the old apartment lacked was a good space right by my desk where I could store all my books and notebooks for whatever project I was working on. In the new apartment, I built a whole separate shelf just dedicated to work. Right now things look pretty empty because I’m mostly done with the research portion of the book I’m working on, although I still have my three most-useful books (Two Years Before the Mast, Leviathan, and The Dictionary of American Slang) within an arm’s reach.
Probably my favorite thing about my writing space is how much it’s just me. I feel like anyone could walk into my apartment, take a look at my desk, corkboard, and bookshelf, and figure out exactly what kind of writer and person I am. It’s my little haven inside my apartment and my favorite place in the world, the place where I spent so many hours banging out my books, crying and celebrating all the twists and turns in my career, and wondering what will come next.
For the comments: What does your desk/writing/work space look like?