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:
I need to clean my office for an upcoming project , but can’t figure out where to begin! https://t.co/HgCp7WUcnj
— Stacey Shubitz (@raisealithuman) March 20, 2014
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.
I am a literacy consultant who focuses on writing workshop. I've been working with K-6 teachers and students since 2009. Prior to that, I was a fourth and fifth-grade teacher in New York City and Rhode Island.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).
I live in Central Pennsylvania with my husband and children. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, doing Pilates, cooking, baking, making ice cream, and reading novels.