How I Write

We're only here for the treats, dammit.

The other week, I met up with Marian Schembari — a social media consultant and all-around cool chick — and, as I described my current “office” setup, she exclaimed over how much she loved hearing about the environment in which other freelancers do what they do. I do, too, so much so that I actually own a photo book containing images of well-known authors’ offices. (God I’m such a dork.)

ANYways, it got me thinking of how my work habits have changed over the past few years, and how I do what I do (both cats and coffee are obviously involved).

When we first moved into our condo, my husband and I decided to use the dining room space as an office and, for at least two years, we worked back-to-back, a large china cabinet at our elbows, my desk sandwiched between two litter boxes and a paper shredder, the only thing separating us from the TV/living room a standing room divider that often doubled as a drying rack. (At least I had my ergonomic chair.)

Over time, it began to feel too cluttered to me, and I migrated to the bedroom. Eventually — in preparing to put our condo on the market — we cleared out my desk, my desktop computer, and the china cabinet. We left Michael’s desk there and — ergonomics be damned — the bedroom became my office.

So obviously I’m flexible. But what can’t I live without?

  • My breakfast-in-bed tray, similar to this one, on which I place my laptop. This one was passed down to me from my paternal grandmother.
  • My webcam. Fool that I am, I didn’t buy a laptop with an already-built-in webcam, but this one works nicely. I started experimenting with it a year ago, and I now use it — along with Skype‘s video chat feature — to conduct coaching sessions.
  • Spider Solitaire. As a reward when I actually Get Shit Done.
  • Coffee. And, in the summer, cold-brewed coffee.

And, most importantly:

Check out my bedroom eyes.

Let's snuggle! Work? What work?

Unfortunately, my cats are living temporarily in my parents’ garage while we show the condo to prospective buyers. Is that why I’ve been so unproductive lately? These work-at-home days just aren’t the same with my three cats sprawled out around me, chewing on my laptop wires, knocking over pencils, demanding to be snuggled with and gazed at adoringly.

What can’t you live without while working?

Bonus points for pictures! If you’re on Twitter, twitpic your home office — and other necessities — using the hashtag #howiwrite. Office porn for everyone!

Related: Where We Work, Product Placement: My Dream Office, Coffee Break: My Dream Office, Product Placement: Can You Afford Comfort?


  1. I need a lot of light and a lot of quiet. So that’s one of the reasons why I work at home. I can set up my office in a room with windows, and no one is around.

    But my office is actually part of our common area (basically the living room) and I don’t have a door. I would like a door for those times I’m working on weekends and other people are in the house making noise.

  2. Oh, and I LOVE your office assistants. I have one, too, but he’s a dog. Can’t live without him either.

  3. Ah, a door. That was definitely a huge downfall of working in the dining room. I love that, when I’m working in the bedroom, I can close the door, and also reap the benefits of a large window that lets in lots of sunshine. Unfortunately, I sit cross-legged in bed, hunched over with no back support. Someday, we’ll both have it all. 🙂

  4. Oh no- blogging is my downfall! I get so distracted. I really should go write an article right now…

  5. I love writing with my headphones on, listening to my iTunes. Unless I’m working on a complex assignment, I can usually write with the music in my ears.


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