The Artdog Image(s) of Interest

In this month of NaNoWriMo, a lot of writers will be parking themselves in chairs, curling up in nooks, stretching out on carpets, or clearing off their desks to participate. We know that some writers can write anywhere, but others are a lot more particular about their surroundings. Is there really such a thing as an ideal writing place?

It isn’t hard to find ideas online. Do you prefer a rustic look? Chrome and glass? Are you a minimalist? A connoisseur of clutter? Do you like wooden seating? Upholstered padding? Chintz? Leather? Plaid? Several other bloggers have addressed this topic. Here’s a sampler from their ideas.

Two windows for light and a lot of books and binders make this bedroom-turned de facto office a less-than-ideal writing space.
The Artdog’s less-than-ideal writing space is currently (mostly) on her bed. Thank goodness, that’s temporary.


The blogger for “Papersmashed” lamented in a 2015 post that her only real writing space was on her bed. Oh, my, can I relate to that! I, too, do most of my writing currently while sitting on my bed with my back supported by a pile of pillows against my headboard. 

It’s far from an ideal writing space, for many reasons (just ask my creaky bones). Thank goodness, in my case it’s temporary. But the changes I’m planning for our home’s library require thought. What’s the best way to carve out space to write, run a small press, and also make art–while still maintaining the library’s original function?

In her 2015 post, “Papersmashed” explains that there is a desk in her room, but “it’s just not that inspiring. I am surrounded with blank walls.” So she resorts to her bed, as the lesser of evils. But she’d recently encountered the concept of the “She-Shed,” and posted some wishful images.

"Papersmashed" blogged about these photos. There's a "she-shed" idea on each end, with a rustic interior writing space at center. See Image Credits below for sources and more information.
Papersmashed” blogged about these photos. There’s a “she-shed” idea on each end, with a rustic interior writing space at center. See Image Credits below for sources and more information.

Yelena Casale

Urban fantasy and romance writer Yelena Casale blogged about the question of what makes an ideal writing space, too. In her 2011 post, she wrote, “Having an appropriate and cozy work space is important to about anyone. However, nobody needs it more than someone who creates.”

For Yelena it seemed to be all about the view: forested mountains, ocean-views, even a panoramic city-scape, though that wouldn’t be her first choice. The room itself could be small, she said. “Small spaces can be open and light. It’s all about the design and the feel.”

Here are three of the images Yelena chose, to accompany her post. Each definitely has its own “feel.”

The image at left may be Yelena's own photo. Center: Kevin Crossley-Holland's writing office. Right: the minimalist urban vibe of "Rephlektiv's" writing office. See Image Credits below for sources and more information.
The image at left may be Yelena’s own photo. Center: Kevin Crossley-Holland’s writing office. Right: the minimalist urban vibe of “Rephlektiv’s” writing office. See Image Credits below for sources and more information.

Ploughshares at Emerson College, and The Freelancer

In an undated guest post for Ploughshares, poet-teacher Aimee Nezhukumatathil describes her own writing space “I have an office at home painted my favorite shade of robin’s-egg blue with red accents,” and adds, “My favorite space to write has a glass-topped table with my Grandfather’s old typewriter that still works.” In the guest-post she also shares thoughts on writing spaces from several writer friends. She does not, however, identify whose office is shown in the photo she shared (NOTE: It belongs to the photographer Vadim Scherbakov).

The Freelancer’s Connor Relyea interviewed five top freelance writers, for his 2015 post “What Would Your Ideal Writing Studio Look Like?” The answers to each of his questions are varied and interesting. They definitely qualify as food for thought, for anyone interested in designing or adjusting their own office.

Relyea illustrated his interviewees’ comments with two photos that provide a study in contrasts. One is a nicely designed, rather conventional setup that looks comfortable and functional, while the other reminds me of a monk’s cell (or perhaps a dungeon?). Turns out (although there’s no caption to tell you), they are the offices of two of his interviewees, those of Ann Friedman and Noah Davis. Read their interviews, and see if you can guess which office belongs to which.

At left is the office of Ann Friedman, who's one of Connor Relyea's interviewees. The center office is also from that article. It belongs to Noah Davis. The third office belongs to photographer Vadim Scherbakov. See Image Credits below for sources and more information.
At left is the office of Ann Friedman, who’s one of Connor Relyea’s interviewees. The center office is also from that article. It belongs to Noah Davis. The third office belongs to photographer Vadim Scherbakov. See Image Credits below for sources and more information.

So, then, what makes an ideal writing space?

There are some interesting ideas in those interviews and photos. But the most striking thing to me is the way basic ideas can be made to seem quite different. When we come right down to it, the primary and most salient thing about any “ideal writing space” is how it makes you feel.

This quote from Nicole Appleton is presented as a sort of poster. It says, "Any room where you feel a good vibe is a good place to write."

What’s your idea of an ideal writing space? Do you already work in one, do you dream of having it someday, or is it a whimsical fantasy that actually couldn’t exist in the mundane world where we live? Please share thoughts, ideas, photos, or critiques in the comments section below.


The photo of the Artdog’s current writing place (her less-than-ideal bedroom) is by Jan S. Gephardt, all rights reserved. 


This blogger posted the trio of images collected into the montage at the end of  her section.”The greenhouse” she-shed originated in 2013 on a website from York, Ontario that no longer exists. “Papersmashed” apparently found it somewhere on Heather Bullard’s website. The rustic interior writing space at the center appears to have originated on a profile of a rustic Boston-area home office featured on Houzz. The the photo of the pink-windowed garden shed was attributed to “Via Wooden House,” (guess how successfully I Googled that) but TinEye Reverse Image Search helped me track it down. It’s 2010 the creation of quilter and gardener Laurie Ceesay

Yelena Casale

Yelena Casale posted her photos without attributions. However, with some help from the indispensable  TinEye Reverse Image Search, I discovered that there doesn’t seem to be an alternative source for the photo Yelena posted of a table set up on what looks like a screened-in back porch with a garden view. It might be one she herself took. The center photo in this montage dates to 2009 or earlier. It is identified by Zoë Marriott as the office of British Writer Kevin Crossley-Holland. The sleek urban office at right originated on Lifehacker as “the Skybox,” a Featured Office. In that short piece, the owner (who calls himself “Rephlektiv.” I couldn’t for-sure identify him, to provide a link), describes his quest to pare his space down to the essentials.

Ploughshares and The Freelancer

The two photos from The Freelancer‘s post belong to interviewees Ann Friedman (at right) and Noah Davis (center). Without the invaluable  TinEye Reverse Image Search, I probably would not have found The Freelance Studio’s “24 Designers Show Off Their Actual Work Spaces Without Cleaning Them First!” That was the source for the office photo on Ploughshares. Though unidentified in Aimee Nezhukumatathil‘s undated guest post for Ploughshares, the office belongs to photographer Vadim Scherbakov.

And finally, send up a shout-out to PictureQuotes, for the nugget of Nicole Appleton’s wisdom on the illustrated quote. Many thanks to all of them, and most especially to TinEye Reverse Image Search!!