The Writer’s Desk–A Challenge

I wasn’t going to play along. I like the idea of contests and challenges and the blogging camaraderie they create, but I already struggle with the issue of time to keep current with blogging maintenance. But from the moment I read Nancy’s Challenge  on her blog,  Spirit Lights the Way , encouraged to write a brief description of my writing process, I haven’t stopped thinking about the contest. It’s a nice idea. Why don’t you consider playing along?

I don’t primarily think of myself as a writer. I am more at home as a researcher. I am interested in so many different intersecting topics, reading dozens of books at one time and never without an interest in a thought-journey requiring further investigation. Blogging has given me a way to keep my ideas and fascinations in order. The idea that anyone else might share one of my interests, is just joy!

Writing Desk

Here’s my writing desk. Fancy, isn’t it?

These are just a few of my necessary piles materials.

Thank you, Nancy, for the idea worth exploring. Yes, I’m a researcher who is fortunate enough to have a small audience, which eventually encourages me to put down the books and just write.

48 thoughts on “The Writer’s Desk–A Challenge

    • I wondered if Martin would notice the railroad books, Nancy! I have told my husband that when he retires he should start a blog for railroaders! I’m fascinated in the history that connects around them, but I don’t speak the “insider” language that a true rail buff does! I’ve been enjoying reading what others are sharing about their process. It was a good idea, Nancy.

  1. Debra I managed to comment on the picture that included the book Endangered Dreams – The Great Depression in California (don’t ask me how I did it coz I’m not sure, think I just clicked on the photo).
    Love your writing space. I’ve a lovely study, but these days I do most of my writing on my iPad while sitting in a recliner in my family room (I have to keep my legs elevated for most of the day). I then email it to myself and go to the main computer in the study when I’m ready to copy and past to my blog or save in word. There are some things that can’t be done on an iPad, for example when I try to post from my iPad to my blog I loose the spacing, which is often an integral part of my poetry, and I can’t view anything requiring a flash-player, so I write a little ‘to do’ list for when I go to the study.
    When I was able to get out more I used to love to go to a cafe and write about what was happening around me. My writing mentor says a little bit of inconspicuous eavesdropping can be a wonderful aid for the creative writer. I don’t write peoples conversations, it just opens the mind to different values and points of view.
    This comment in turning into a novella so I’ll stop now. Thanks for the stimulating post Debra.
    Tricia xoxo

    • I’ll have to see what I kind find with your comment on the photo page, Tricia. Sometimes I think the computer takes over! I know about the comforts of sitting in comfort while writing. Sometimes I use my iPad, too. I am at a desktop in an uncomfortable chair at work, so by the time I come home and want to be more creative I just can’t face a more formal setting. I have tried to write from a Starbucks or another more public setting, but I do get caught up in other people’s conversations and the eavesdropping effects my ability to write. I do enjoy the time, however! :-) I’ll go now and look for your other comment! I will have to see where it went. LOL! D

  2. All right. So. How much do I have to pay you to borrow the Natchez book? If I promise to take exceptional care of it and return it?

    I don’t think I told you about our visit to Natchez in October and our stay at Hope Farm. What a Southern Gothic experience. I LOVED IT.

    And, I love the glimpse into your writing process. Thank you for sharing.

    • Andra, it’s yours! Let’s exchange your mailing address and I will send it your way. I think you’d find it interesting. It’s very rich regional history in a very readable format. I’ll tell you more about this volume later! But it’s yours! oxo

  3. What happened it posted before I was finished… but what I wanted to add is I like to think my work space is outside in the bush within the natural surrounds I like to find my subjects… so each photo of mine I think depicts my work space…

  4. I never pictured your writing desk to be as it is, although it looks perfectly comfortable and well suited to the “you” I’ve come to know through your writing. It’s just that your historical posts are so fact-filled that I pictured you sitting at a desk piled high with reference manuals and historical tomes. Hmmm … Come to think of it, does anyone write like that anymore? Time to bring my thought processes into the new century.
    And if your husband starts that railroad blog, I’ve a cousin who will be among his first subscribers. :)

    • You might have fun participating in Nancy’s little challenge, John. It’s spread to many people I know don’t follow Nancy regularly. It’s been fun to peek in on how others set up shop for this time consuming pastime we’ve all connected to! I did clean up the couch a bit before I took a picture. Sometimes I have a lot of loose paper and notes, books and bits of life all over the place, but I try to clean up after myself after I’ve posted. LOL! Ready to start a new pile.

      I am thinking that I might try to take some of Jay’s stories and share them on his behalf. I’m more disciplined as a writer than he would be, but he is the one in the trenches. He’s been a Union chairman for more than twenty years, highly invested in railroad safety, and he does have so much that would be interesting to rail buffs. I’m fascinated myself. I just need to think more about how to do this! :-)

  5. Interesting collection of books there Debra. I looked up Railroaded and the reviews immediately tell me that the birth of Railroads in America was somewhat different to that in the UK!

    I see you too have a ‘Birds’ section in your library :-)

    Natchez struck a chord – firstly because it gets a mention in the film Eldorado but also because of a book I read once – The Quiet Game by Greg Iles. Think I’ll have to re-read that one!

    It’s great to take a peek at your workspace – thanks for posting :-)

    • I suppose it’s very impractical to think of an international lending library between all of us who love researching topics, Martin, but wouldn’t that be fun! I do have many books on birds, and a lot on trains! Both of which fascinate me, but I don’t think I know very much. I’m currently trying to really invest in learning more about the “birth of the rails” in the western United States. Once again, the railroad magnates have strong Southern California ties and I’m kind of hooked on learning more about them as individuals. Natchez is a fascinating city, too. I know you share with me a curiosity about many “people, places, and things” and wouldn’t it be great fun if we could spend time in each other’s library stacks! :-)

      • It would indeed be good fun to look through each other’s libraries and compare notes but as you say, the distance is a barrier to that. I’m sure you know a lot more about railroads and birds than you realise! I can see there’s going to be more fascinating historical posts coming up :-)

    • I have a whole room available for my eclectic piles of books, Perpetua. Unfortunately, time to read is at a huge premium, and I “own” more than I read. I always remember my dear mother-in=law who loved reading and was quite an eclectic collector. She just swore that when she she’d read as much as she wanted to, and that’s what she did, although she had to wait until she retired. Until the day she passed at 90 years young, she would often read all night long. That’s the way I picture myself…we’ll have to see. :-) In the meantime, the books do stack up. Ha!

    • Yes, I know you understand the ‘research addiction’ too, Kate. I went back to school about fifteen years ago and earned a Master’s Degree as an older adult. My thesis Chair called me in at one point to tell me to “stop researching” and get writing! I was so fascinated with what I was learning that my topic was getting broader and broader and I was losing sight of the original intent! At least I’m never bored! :-)

    • Barb, I would love to see you enter the contest. It has spread far from Nancy’s regular readers, and I saw an entry yesterday from Ireland, a woman I know doesn’t follow Nancy’s blog, but picked up the thread through someone else. It’s not as much a contest at this point as a way for people to share a little bit of themselves and how the writing and “blog following” comes together. Think about it…an easy post. The submission is for 100 words or less! :-)

  6. Good for you, Debra, and good luck with the contest. Since I don’t have a laptop or IPad, I sit at a regular desk with my computer, surrounded by my books and piles and piles of stuff. IF i had had an IPad, I would be sitting comfortably in a chair remarkably like yours!

    • Nancy’s little competition has apparently spread quite far, Penny. I noticed yesterday that a few people who don’t follow Nancy (as far as I know) had picked up the contest through others. So, I encourage you to post, too. It makes an easy post and it’s kind of fun. I have no thought of winning. I almost didn’t play along at all because it isn’t very interesting. LOL! I think it would be more efficient for me to sit at a desk, rather than on the sofa opposite a television (ahem!), but after working at a desk I just cannot face another computer terminal or desk chair. It’s quite fascinating that we have so many options in our electronic devices, isn’t it? :-)

    • I can easily picture your writing space and much of your home, Kristy! Not only do I remember this stage of family life very well, but I watch my daughter try to manage the family “piles” of paper, homework, sports equipment, toys…with kids there is always a trail of activity no matter how organized you are! :-)

  7. I’m only a blogger, and that’s it. Not a writer at all. I struggle with grammar and pairing words.
    I only use my charm and try to be creative the least I know how :D. I try to come up with something different, or just switch things up in every posts. I don’t want my posts to be so monotone one post to the next.

  8. Love this post! It’s hard as a writer to just write most days. Always wanting to be a writer since I was a little girl and going to school to perfect my craft to often be told I needed to give up or grow up. I just never did!! And it’s taken a lot time to get to the point to believe in myself and to go for it. Which I did last year. But I think there are so many different kinds of writers out there and we all have something to say, so we should just tell the world whether it’s blogs, articles, or books! It can be the most full-filling thing in the world but also the most lonesome and frustrating as well. But I still love it!! As for my library!! Mine keeps expanding and expanding… now if I could ever find the time to read them would be fabulous!! ;)

    • Your passion for writing is so strong, Kelly, I believe you just keep doing what you’re doing, which is honing skills and finding opportunities to share your voice, and you’ll have wonderful writing experiences! And the ever-expanding library, paired with little time to read–oh boy! That’s me for sure. :-) I’m so glad you shared your thoughts, as you give me the opportunity to really wish you all the best in your writing journey. I admire the admission that you have come to the place where you believe in yourself enough to “just go for it!” Fantastic, my friend! oxo

  9. Dear Debra, how delightful to see photographs of the books you use for research and to see Kenneth Roberts’ name there as well as Harnett Kane. When I began reading adult novels in the sixth grade, those were two writers that I especially enjoyed. I’ve always liked historical fiction as well as history books. Like you, I have a library I use for research–mostly for writing. For “The Reluctant Spy,” which I recently entered in that Amazon Contest I have an array of books on first-century Palestine and Judaism at that time. For the novel I’m beginning to work on again tomorrow after being away from it for twenty years I have many many books on Bronze Age Greece. I so look forward to doing research in those books as I write during this year. Isn’t life great!!!! Peace.

    • I so admire the dedication you’ve been applying to completing your novels, Dee. I can only imagine the amount of time you’re investing. Just to do a blog post is a “chunk” of time! Ha! I first learned about Harnett Kane from my mother-in-law who was an avid reader. She was also a history teacher at one time in her life and loved historical fiction. It is a great way to capture the color and facets of culture for a time period that probably wouldn’t come through in a non-fiction history book. Judging from the titles of your books you must have done extraordinary amounts of research, Dee. I would just love to hear more about that. I would love to know more about that…maybe someday we’ll have the chance to talk about that! :-) I admire your hard work…blessings on your health and strength to keep it going, my friend. oxo

  10. Love your writing space…looks quite comfy! So nice to meet you via Nancy’s writing desk challenge…it’s been so much fun visiting all of the entries…many different ways of approaching writing…but writers all.:)

    • Thank you, Vivian. I’m glad to meet you, too. Nancy’s challenge was a fun one. Each of us is committed to keeping a schedule of sharing and interacting with other friends in the blogging community, and I think it takes fellow bloggers to know what a commitment that really is! :-)

  11. Your writing space is so unique and just what we’d expect from you. I hope you win Nancy’s competition. Even though I have a desk in an empty bedroom, I write at my dining table which doesn’t have anything special going for it except that I can see out the window because I can’t write looking at a wall.

    • I doubt I’ll win any competition with my writing space, but I like joining in. I enjoyed seeing what the others have shared. Only fellow bloggers can really understand how time consuming and at times overwhelming keeping up with our blogging “duties” really is, don’t you agree?

      • I had no idea before I started how time consuming being a blogger was going to be. Poor Mr F could write an article on how lonely his life is now that I’m a blogger because I spend all my evening hours at my dining room table “desk”.

    • That is the nicest comment, Marie. “It feels like home in cyberspace.” You know, I feel the same way, which never fails to completely surprise me! :-) Here it is Friday! I hope you go into a wonderful weekend.

  12. Pingback: The Writer’s Desk ~ Let the Voting Begin! « Spirit Lights The Way

  13. Your writing desk looks a good deal like mine. Thank you for liking and commenting on my post, Good Clean Fun (and for congratulating me on our new granddaughter!). I’m being encouraged by my sister (who, to my surprise, wrote and published online two novels) to begin writing myself. Maybe I should follow your example and progress from “researcher” to “writer.”

    • I think blogging is an excellent way to continue experimenting with writing styles as well as defining our writing interests! I certainly encourage you to progress along that path if you have a desire to do so! It sounds as though your sister took the leap, and from what I’m learning, more and more are finding online publishing a very open and inviting process! Could you have seen yourself with a blog five years ago? I would not have imagined! Isn’t it fun we can keep growing and creating across the lifespan. :-)

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