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).

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Where We Work

[Photo via]

My husband and I have been living in our one-bedroom condo for almost four years now.

When we first moved in, we agreed to forgo the formal dining room in favor of a home office, and so we set up our desks in that space so that we were sitting back-to-back, each of us facing the opposite wall.

Over time, I’ve had less and less patience with this arrangement. Two litter boxes sit to the immediate left of my desk, guaranteeing that there is always a light dusting of litter beneath my feet, and a faint eau-de-cat-poop lingering in the air. The space is also pretty tight. If I shift my chair just slightly, I either bang my left elbow into the china cabinet, or bang the back of my chair into my husband’s. Our office also opens up into the living room, making it impossible for Michael to unwind in front of the television if I happen to be working (he apparently hates the wireless headphones I bought him).

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Product Placement: My Dream Office*

[Desk: $149.99, Target; Hutch: $99.99, Target]

Since I began freelancing full-time about two years ago, I’ve had continual trouble achieving optimal work/life balance. First, there was too much life (if you count watching full-day marathons of America’s Next Top Model as “life”). Now, I just work all the time.

This past weekend, I was determined to stay strong, and not work.

So instead, I spent several hours putting together a Photoshop collage of my dream office, which I then wished I could start working in right away.

Then I somehow ended up at Target, where I saw a way cheap version of the $5,000 desk I had put in my collage. So I felt I had to share it with you.

After the jump, the rest of my dream office:

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Since You’ll Be Home All Day…

Just the other day, I read a post over at All Freelance Writing on the misconceptions people can have about the freelance life.

Among these was the lack of respect people in our lives can often have for our work hours.

It hit a chord with me as, just the other week, my husband had chewed me out for not taking out the garbage that day. “You were home all day!” he said.

It was true. I had been home all day but, in all that time, I had barely even left my computer, as I had multiple projects on my plate, and not a moment to spare. His presumptuousness made me angry, and I stewed over all the other times him or my mother had asked me to pick up stamps,  or run to the supermarket, or do the laundry…all with the assumption that I now had the time to spare, because my commute merely consisted of the walk from the bedroom to the computer room, and I had no one to answer to but myself.

Little did they know that I was a tougher taskmaster than any of my previous bosses had been, and it was because I had to be if I wanted to stay afloat. Unfortunately, it’s tough to change the misconceptions of non-freelancers, but we can at least attempt to do so by setting limits:

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Coffee Break: My Dream Office

I spoke too soon! My new wireless adapter has wreaked havoc, malfunctioning and eventually causing my computer to self-destruct. I am…not happy (to put it mildly).

Tonight will include another trip to the tech-type store, to buy a network card and a cable allowing me to directly connect to the Internet. Finally!

All this grappling with my home office equipment has started me daydreaming about what else (like, besides a cable) I’d like for my dream office. I already have my ideal office chair, but there are a few other things I wouldn’t mind picking up (or being gifted…hint hint…):

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Product Placement: Can You Afford Comfort?

For the longest time, I was using one of the kitchen chairs in my home office, and it was not comfy. Later, I actually carried an old office chair — bound for the scrap heap — from my office in Manhattan to my home in New Jersey piece by piece. It was better than the kitchen chair, but not by much, My dream? The Aeron, pictured above. The problem? $1,255.

The solution?

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Product Placement: Desk Caddies

[$89, Room Service Home]

I’m a huge fan of organizational products, which is why I spend so much time in the Container Store, skipping from aisle to aisle, breathless with excitement and drooling over cabinets and bulletin boards.

(My runners-up? Staples and HomeGoods.)

Sometimes, though, I want the luxury version of my typical office supplies.

Which is why I’m currently hyperventilating over the desk caddies above, available from lustable online shop Room Service Home.