Making my Writing Nest

“That is a big damn chair,” my boyfriend said as he gazed at me, sprawled over the armrests of my new chair. And I lost it — I burst into laughter. Because when these absurd situations happen, you just have to laugh, right? Besides, the look on his face was priceless. “Are you sure you didn’t buy a couch?”Making my Writing Nest

“Well, it looked smaller in the store,” I managed to say between giggling breaths. “It is a little large, isn’t it?”

A little large was an understatement. It had, in fact, devoured a good chunk of the bedroom.

“Out of all the chairs in Tartu . . .” But I was so happy about it that he didn’t have the heart to nag me too much.  To be honest, he started to laugh, too.

“At least it’s green,” I said. Green is our favorite color. “And the cats seem to like it.” Our cats make all the household decisions, it seems.

This week has been a busy one. Monday I started the move from my cozy attic apartment into my new home on the other side of town.  I had reservations about this move — I’m like a cat in that sense, when it comes to uprooting from a place I actually like — because the other apartment suited me. The skylights, the low-angled ceiling (I’m only 5’2, so I fit), the location. But this new apartment has its merits, too. For one, it has a wood burning stove for heating. Secondly, it has a lot more space. And finally, as a way to compromise with me, my boyfriend agreed that I could purchase a reading/writing chair for the bedroom.

He may regret saying that, now.

The bedroom actually has a fantastic location for a desk right next to the chimney, so it would be warm in the winter. But I am one of those writers who cannot work at a desk. In fact, other than a loaned dorm room desk, I have never even had one.

When I was a pre-teen/teenager, I didn’t like using furniture for writing. (I have no idea why.) Instead, I would sit on the carpet beneath my bedroom window and write. My stack of writings was a pile on the floor. Once I got a laptop, I moved downstairs so that I could plug into the internet (no wifi then), found a spot in a corner between the couch and the wall, and sat, as always, on the floor.

My habits, to be honest, never really changed much. Once I moved to college, I invested in a floor chair. I used a stack of notebooks as a mouse pad and did all my work, once again, on the floor. I even played World of Warcraft on the floor (yes, I’m a gamer). And, as previously mentioned, though I did have a desk, I mostly used it as a storage closet.

When I escaped the dorms and moved into my own apartment, I finally started using the couch as my workspace. After that, since most of the places I’ve lived in Europe have had hard floors (and I didn’t have the good fortune to bring my floor chair along), I’ve given up the practice of sitting on it, but depending on where I’m living and what furniture is available to me, I’ve continued the practice of writing anywhere but a desk.

So, now that I’m in an apartment that has the space, I went out four days ago on my mission to find the ideal chair: cat-resistant, comfortable armrests that could fit my laptop, big enough that I can sit in one of my funny writing positions.

I came away like a proud new parent. I had found it. The chair. My chair.

As I’m writing this, both cats sit next to me with room to spare — one is actually drooling, I think. I have a cup of coffee sitting on one of the armrests (I’ll try not to spill it). Above me shines one of the two ideally placed wall lamps. To the right is my bookcase. I even managed to fit my Estonian rug (also green) in the narrow space between bookshelf and bed — just in front of the door. In short, I’ve managed to make a writing nest, which is an essential component for me as a writer.

An essential component, I think, for any writer.

So, on that note, I’m curious about where you all prefer to work: on the floor, a desk, tables, chairs? Do you prefer to go somewhere outside the house to write? Does it actually matter to you?

Please let me know in the comments!

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21 thoughts on “Making my Writing Nest

  1. Pingback: Making my Writing Nest | The Sarcastic Muse
  2. Your cats will lay claim to those arms and you’ll be back to holding your laptop on your knees. 🙂 It looks super comfy…Many happy writing hours ahead. 🙂

  3. Depending on what I’m doing, my writing space is either my desk (Scrivener doesn’t work on Android yet, sadly), or wherever not my desk when NaNoWriMo is going and I don’t need to worry about cross-referencing (viva la tablet!).

    For my desk, it’s a geek’s paradise of 2 24″ monitors and a 30″ one. Scrivener goes in the middle screen (a 24″), with my music/chat on the left, and the 30″ on the right holding random stickies reminding me of things. My office chair is comfy, and the table (it’s not actually a desk, it’s a 6 ft folding table) is big enough to both have my keyboard and two sleeping cats on it (like they are right now, nestled into each other, it’s priceless).

    This past year that wherever was the kitchen table, several pieces of furniture in the living room, and sitting up in my bed several times. I think I managed to write on the floor once or twice, but my back gives me horrible nags when I do that.

    • Aw, kitties! -insert squeal here- Cat photos are certainly the way to my heart in the morning. Writers and their cats. Funny to see how they always manage to make good use of our writing spaces.

      Hmm. Yes, I can think of several (slightly/not-so-slightly geeky) guys in my life who would be quite happy to have your set-up for gaming purposes. Not a bad way to do it. I’m a laptop person, though (as you’ve probably surmised).

      So you actually write on a tablet/Android sometimes — if I read that correctly? I would think that would be quite difficult. The touch screens are such a pain for anything beyond minimal typing — unless you have a keyboard, which would be an improvement, I guess.

      • My tablet is one of the ASUS Transformers, which you can buy a well-functioning keyboard dock/battery for. It’s smaller, has huge battery life compared to my gaming laptop (I gotta go mobile sometimes, and the desktop is NOT portable), and is just as capable of doing raw drafting as my other computers. The only real black mark against it is no Android Scrivener.

      • Ah hah. Well, that makes sense. I’m quite behind on the tech world at the moment, so I had to look that up. I can see now how it could be effective for drafting. Especially if you want to write somewhere that’s not your desk — or out of the house completely. I’ve never used Scrivener before, actually. But at least you can use that on your other computers. You game, too?

      • Yes, I actually keep my Scrivener projects on my Google Drive so that they automatically sync between my desktop and laptop.

        I’ve been a gamer since before it was cool (earliest gaming memories were in 1993 or so, and I fondly remember the sound of a modem dialing in), present addiction being Guild Wars 2 with a few other titles grabbing my attention occasionally.

      • I think Doom was one of the first PC games I played. I was really young though. Diablo II was the first game I got really addicted to. Then the string of MMOs started. Since I moved to Estonia, I’ve tried to stay away from online gaming. My (only) Estonian friends are all the geeky kind, and they kidnap me to play old-school Age of Empires. I’ve heard mixed reviews about GW 2. Haven’t played it myself though.

      • My first games were Commander Keen, several of the old-school Epic Megagames shareware titles (they used to be called that), and Descent by Interplay (think Doom, but with the ability to “fly” in all three dimensions and against robots). Good times.

        Biggest pro about GW2 for me is that it’s a subscription-less MMO, and it’s not pay to win. Buy it once, yours forever. Don’t like it at the moment? Play something else, costs nothing to you. And it’s not crazy-addictive as much as it is enjoyable. YMMV may vary though.

      • Hmm. I don’t recognize any of those titles. I was born in ’89 so those games were probably before my time.

        That definitely sounds like a perk. If it’s not pay to win, then it’s you get what you put into it? I know a lot of the subscription-less MMOs are turning to the pay-for-upgrades system to make money. Which screws over the poor and the casual gamers. I mostly play MMOs for the PvP — so if that aspect is decent, then I’d probably enjoy it.

      • The combat is more fluid than any other MMO on the market, and the holy trinity of tank/DPS/heal doesn’t exist (though each class can have aspects of that depending on how you build them). The PvP is really fun and engaging…if you don’t mind the lack of consistent balance updates (one can hope ArenaNet finally started balancing the game more often than every 4 months). Starting out, you likely wouldn’t notice the balance goofs.

      • I love how this post became a gaming discussion. 🙂

        What? The trinity doesn’t exist!? How is this possible? Are the classes just more versatile, then — with more options and freedom to choose?

        I’ve always been a fan of PvPing with the underdog, so I’ve never minded balance issues too much. (Read: I try to keep my raging to a minimum.) But oh why, sir, do you tempt me with prospective games? As if I don’t have enough that I’m supposed to be doing! 😛

      • The trinity doesn’t exist, and everyone has a self-heal. To an extent you’re responsible for your own survival, which is more than do-able. And yes, there are tons of options from skills, to traits, to gear choices, though depending on who you ask that could condense to a very, very short list of “actually viable.”

        As for tempting you, I’m just trying to be helpful. Sometimes, I’m more helpful than people actually want. 😉

      • Well there are always those people who say that ‘such and such’ class only works this way. I’ve always ignored them and done what’s viable for me. But cool that this game sort of breaks from the traditional mold, in that sense.

        Pfft. Trying to be helpful. In this case, helping me doesn’t help you. If I start playing video games now, I’ll never get around to beta reading your story. If you want to be helpful, you can always write a portion of my seminar paper! 🙂

  4. With our three cats, I would need something at least that big in order to create an adequately sized nest 😉 I have been seated in our reading chairs only to have at least one of our furry felines slowly but surely commandeer more and more space until I am shoved into the smallest of spaces occupying less that a quarter of the available space. The things we do for our companions 😉

    Personally, I need a quiet space to allow my words to flow onto the page. Unfortunately, even though we have several little nooks in our house where that could occur, and eleven year old son is not conducive to creating the required atmosphere. I guess I usually find myself composing my thoughts at a computer, in a room, while sitting at a desk. As uninteresting as that sounds. I have certainly had visions of taking my show on the road, as it were. Laptop in hand, seated in the corner of a quiet and sleepy coffee shop, inhaling the brisk breeze off the ocean while typing away on the beach, the horizon just above my view.

    I may just have to carve out a little niche of time and sneak away to that quiet corner of my own house after the house quiets down for the evening. So long as the cats cooperate with that desire 😉

    • Hah! Yes, my two furry beasts have slowly but surely started to commandeer my chair. I woke up this morning, and they were both piled on top of it. It’s the same thing with the bed, too. I end up clinging to the edge while they spread out without a care in the world. As you said, the things we do for them . . . Whoever thought of the term ‘pet ownership’ certainly didn’t know what they were talking about. My cats own me. 🙂

      Nothing wrong with writing at a desk, especially if you need a quiet place to work. Sometimes, with schoolwork (that pesky little thesis), I force myself to sit at a table and to unplug from the internet. It helps me to focus on my assignments. I love the idea of writing in a coffee shop — and I have done it before — but usually I just end up people watching. Your descriptive vision does sound divine, though.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  5. Well, I’m afraid I use a desk – so far, not too good.

    But, sometime ago a friend was selling off some stock cheap, and I got this great wooden desk top gizmo (I’ve no idea what to call it) that sits on top of the desk with its back to the wall. It’s beautifully carved in a dark red wood. It’s got drawers for all that annoying stuff that used to spread everywhere and derail my train of thought.

    But almost best of all there are places to slot large notebooks for desk work and my current journal (on the left) and small notebooks for carrying when I go out (on the right) and in the middle it can hold about ten books that deal with my current obsession (at the moment poetry that focuses on symbols rather than simply metaphors). When a new obsession comes along I shove those impatiently back on my shelves and fish out another set of ten to put within such easy grabbing distance it’s bliss.

    And really best of all – when I’m not using my laptop and simply want to write – I just slide it under the gap beneath the gizmo and my desk space is clear for any kind of paper I want to write on.

    Not as good as a bed-sized chair but it works fine for me.

    • There’s nothing wrong with using a desk if that’s what works for you!

      And ‘wooden desk top gizmo’ is a fitting name, it seems. It adds character to your writing space at the very least. Actually, it sounds like you have a nice setup. All those books right there when you need them, the ability to switch between computer and regular writing space — those are great ideas. There are days where I wish I had a more organized method to the surrounding chaos (papers everywhere, books stacked up next to me, etc), and those are the days when I think that a desk wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all — provided I still had a comfy chair to sit in. 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. It’s always a pleasure discussing ‘writerly’ habits with other writers!

  6. I love that chair! I have a big one I bought when my children were little so we could all sit together and read. We called it the ‘reading chair’. It served well, even as they got too old to fit. Didn’t matter–we crowded it and read!

    • Thanks! I love it, too. It has so far worked very well for me.

      You chair sounds like a chair of memories, which, in my opinion, are the only chairs worth having. Imagine all the stories it carries!

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