My Office was inspired by that consummate commentator on all things indie, Joanna Penn, who wrote a post this last week on ‘Behind the Scenes Tools’...
Because I’m running a ‘small business’, or as Joanna sees it, a ‘global business’ with markets across the world, I thought about my office and its structure and ‘technical architecture’. It’s actually bigger than I thought – a lot bigger. In a strange, unformatted, technological and very mobile kind of way.
But let’s start with the immediate space.
It’s movable. Maybe outside, maybe inside, maybe night, maybe day. We have ‘the patio’, the couch/window seat, the director’s chair on the porch or… the bed! Because I love writing in bed in the very quiet dark hours when the house sleeps.
For the bed I need a support pillow.
For anywhere on a computer I need my neck collar as I have degenerative arthritis in the cervical spine and in the right shoulder.
Because I write in longhand, I have a ready supply of A4 writing pads and pens. Currently down to my last pad which will finish the story of Guillaume adequately. I have boxes of blue medium point biros and a collection of red felt pens for editing. A collection of highlighters for research and multi-coloured stick-it notes for reference mark-ups.
I have a 12 month old Macbook Air, a fabulously versatile device which travels between the city and the country quite happily in a leather cover given to me by my husband.
That in turn is carried inside an old re-purposed computer bag which also carries my camera, my USB cords for Kindle, camera, the recharge cord for the phone and my ‘little red book’, a very cheap mini-notebook which is my extra brain, carrying vital ‘office’ eclectica that I might forget otherwise. I transcribe/edit my manuscripts to the computer, and carry out all of my online life on that device.
I have a wireless keyboard and mouse for the days I use a standing station if my neck and shoulder are having ‘off’ days..
I have a Kindle Paperwhite and an original Kindle Keyboard, both highly functional and much loved.
I have a plain old flip-phone. Not technical or state of the art, but it fits the hip pocket for the active life with the dog, gardens, farm, kayak etc. It also has reception when everyone else’s i-Phone has dropped out – around the countryside or on the water! I’m also not someone who likes their mobile phone to be part of their personal body armour or thinking and living processes – so this common old-fashioned phone is merely a link to safety when I’m doing things solo.
I have a portable external hardrive which fits in the above-mentioned bag, and a dongle as a back-up, but I also save to email and to Kindle.
On my computer, I have Skype, Dropbox, email, Google.
I have a WordPress account – (blog and website), Facebook account (two – one personal, one professional), Pinterest account, Twitter account (virtually defunct), Google+ (rarely used) and I subscribe to i-Tunes and You-tube.
I have a Moo account for my business cards.
I have Paypal for payment of accounts and receipt of certain royalties.
I have a bank account for receipt of most royalties.
I have an Amazon KDP account (obviously), and an Author Central account, an Amazon.com account, Draft2Digital, CreateSpace and Ingram-Spark accounts.
And I have standard research files in A4 ring-binders labelled with the book’s title, stored in my city ‘archive’ cupboards in my husband’s office or else in my ‘current’ mini-office and many research files ‘stored’ on the computer. And I have shelves of research books stored in the living room.
I have a large plastic box with a lid that stores all catalogued tax documentation for the once a year submission.
I have 2 pairs of glasses each for reading and living (one pair of which I keep losing!).
I have my two favourite reference tools – a thesaurus and a dictionary that I can’t do without.
I have a Moleskine diary – in red this year but the colour varies annually. Again, I’m old fashioned, as I prefer a hardcopy diary to a computer diary.
I have my little muse who travels everywhere with me.
And that’s it. Nothing more whizzbang!
Obviously I have accounts with marketing organisations but they are used maybe three to four times a year and so are not what I would call ‘fixtures’ of my space.
It’s a versatile thing being an indie writer with a ‘global’ reach. And it sounds great on paper, and with a few carefully posed images, it can look busy and competent. But the truth is that for me, like an artist’s easel and box of paints, it’s as movable as a backpack or caravan. It sets up pretty well wherever I am at the time, as long as I am organised enough to pack the essentials each week.
And after a lifetime of writing and nearly ten years of being published, I’m getting pretty good at doing that now…