work space · writing

My Writing Work Space

I’m curious about other writers’ habits. It’s why I have tried to adopt some of Jack Gantos’s habits ever since I heard him speak at SCBWI.

Writers’ work spaces interest me too.  A few months ago I read Jamie Rubin’s article about his home office, which is where he writes. I was salivating by the end of it since his work space is a dream of a place to write. Until last month, my home office was a dreadful place to work. There were piles of books and stacks of papers everywhere. I shamed myself into cleaning it by posting a Vine of it on Twitter:


Scary, huh?!?!  It took me a little over a month to clean up over four and a half years of stuff that I had accumulated since we moved to Pennsylvania. I threw out garbage can-fulls of things I didn’t need. I scanned important papers into Evernote (and then threw it away). Now my home office is a writing work space where I want to write again. Here’s what it looks like now:

A little better, right?  Here’s a look at where I write now:

ENTRY:  My office is off of the foyer in our house. My daughter’s playroom is nearby so it’s hard to go unnoticed when I’m working at my desk. I’ve thought seriously about getting a shade for the door, but that seemed a little extreme!



DESK: My desk is an L-shape, which allows me to type on one side and write on the other. I thought this was silly when I was purchasing the furniture. Did I really need two desks? My father convinced me it was the way to go and he was right! There are many times that I swivel my chair to the right to write in a notebook.

Due to all of the wrist and arm problems I’ve had, I recently purchased a new chair. My armless Turnstone chair arrived in late March and has been helpful. While it hasn’t eradicated the pain I’ve been having, it has helped my shoulder fall in a more natural way when I’m typing.

Once I cleaned up my desk, I only kept necessary papers on it. I have a variety of note cards and pens easily accessible. The clutter is gone!


FILES: I have two small filing cabinets. They’re both filled with a variety of documents and paid bills. As I go more and more paperless, it’s my hope these filing cabinets won’t fill up.

There used to be a stack of papers atop my desk that would fall. Now, I only have the essentials in two filing trays on my desk.


BOOKSHELVES: I have a low bookshelf that matches my office furniture behind my desk. That’s where I house many of my professional books about reading and writing workshop. However, there isn’t enough space for all of my professional books on that bookshelf, so the rest have found a home on the left side of my tall bookshelves.

I keep professional development binders, writers notebooks, and favorite mentor texts on my tall bookshelves as well.  I cleared many of the shelves from my tall bookshelves so they can accommodate books I’m considering for Craft Moves and for review here on Two Writing Teachers.



One of the things I love most about my office is the afternoon sunlight that streams in. I hear the neighborhood kids while I am writing, which always threatens to pull me away. However, I’ve gotten good at taking breaks to watch them play for a minute and then I get back to work.

I’m curious: where do you write? I hope you’ll consider doing a blog post about your writing work space. Then, link it to this post by leaving a comment.

19 thoughts on “My Writing Work Space

  1. My writing space is in desperate need of attention. Like your “before” office, I have piles of books, binders and papers that are always on the verge of falling over. I knew this was a summer project, but you’ve really inspired me to get my act together. It’s hard to be productive surrounded by so much clutter!


    1. We just returned from our trip to San Francisco and I have piles of mail that need to be opened on my desk. The clutter is making me annoyed. I guess that means once I finally got this place in order, it’s going to stay like this since I hate the mess now. (BTW: The key to reducing the clutter is taking 2 – 5 minutes every night to clean up from the day’s work. That, in and of itself, has made a tremendous difference in keeping my office clean.)


  2. Oh Stacey, I envy your writing space. I love the idea of an L shaped desk. You’ve given me some ideas. My writing space is slowly coming together. This may have motivated me to finish and blog about it! I’ll link here when I do. THANK YOU for the inspiration!!!


  3. I love that you shared this. After a busy school year and with my sons in and out of my office to use the extra computer, my office is looking worse than your before pictures. It’s astounding how paper can get out of hand. I had good filing systems, but need a major purge of old records no longer needed. Thinning books helped, too. Your neat, organized space will give me courage as I work on cleaning out. Here’s a post I shared about writing in summer — when I’m out of the office. I love the conversation these posts get started. Thanks for sharing.


  4. Loved seeing all the pictures, Stacey. Wow-you’ve done a lot! I cleaned out a lot when I moved last year, & when I moved from the classroom 4 years ago, but now I have spaces at home & an office at school. I think I will write about it for a slice, so will get back to you. Hope your birthday has been lovely!


  5. I already claimed a room in the basement to use for my sewing/crafting habit! I have one shelf full of professional books in there. I think I’ll have to keep writing at the kitchen counter. Years ago I considered removing the teacher desk from my classroom, but haven’t been brave enough to actually do it yet. Where would I put all my piles?? I think this will be my year!


    1. I got rid of my teacher desk and you know what… the piles continued. They just shifted to another space. I think just having a table, even if it’s a cheap coffee table, in the room that can be yours is helpful.


  6. I think you have inspired a writing piece here, Stacey. I have an office that has evolved from my son’s bedroom to a space for me to write to an office/guest room. Every few months I try to reorganize the clutter and make spaces for the different projects I have going on. I love what you did with your space. Hopefully, more later…


  7. I love that feeling that comes from cleaning a space and reclaiming it. I write in my kitchen. I have an office/small bedroom space that I abandoned once I had a laptop. It desperately needs cleaning out, but I’m not sure if it will have the feel I need. The kitchen is connected. My daughter often works across from me at the kitchen table. It’s close to everything. But I have started to create piles that must be moved when we eat a meal. This summer will be a good time to re-evaluate my writing space.


  8. This is great, Stacey. What a huge difference between the two, especially on your big bookshelf! I have an office in my new house, and I’m so excited to set up my writing space! I’ve never had a dedicated space before! I also plan on setting up a small desk in our sun room to do some writing in the early morning hours when the girls are sleeping. I’m super inspired now by your writing sanctuary you created!!


  9. This looks like an oasis of calm now that you’ve organized it all. I think natural light is a must in a writing space. I am hoping to figure out my writing space in my new home once summer break begins. Thanks for the inspiration.


  10. I am still trying to find my space. I have alway avoided writing, and I think that is one reason I keep my office in an “unworkable” state. Time to clean it up! Thanks for the nudge.


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