What’s on Your Desk?

16 Aug

Mine is covered with a combination of things I can’t write without, bits I can’t live without, stuff I don’t need (but want), time wasters and printers. They are all strategically placed so they are either handy, or in my way. I swear office elves tiptoe in at midnight and muck things about. To try to foil them in their mucking, I employ a myriad of systems, devices and organizational tools. Hence, my frequent trips to anyplace that sells office supplies, things that can be used as office supplies, or a business that looks like it may have office supplies.

Kitchen stores. I hear you saying, “Yeah, right. She just wants an excuse to look at the kitchen gadgets.” Well, yes, but they have tools no writer should be without. Yes, the chocolate, but they also have cookbook holders. I have one with a plastic shield hinged to the base in front, a series of five grooves in that base, and a second removable plastic gizmo originally designed to hold up the cookbook. I can use it as it was semi-intended (a book holder), or I can put five cheap clipboards in the grooves. One for snippets of dialogue, others for character sketches, and one for the book outline. They’re accessible and all I have to do is put the one I need in front. While I’m at the kitchen place, I can pick up a cup hotplate. I can waste time first making coffee/tea, then going back for a second or third cup.

Pottery Barn has office trinkets. I call them trinkets because some of them are handy and some of them are what?-really?’s. I have a metal document holder with, “Work in progress,” tastefully engraved on the bottom. It’s great for notes. Magnets stick to it so I can put everything from doctor’s appointments to bits of history on it.

They also have a lazy-susan pen holder. I use the six sections for easy access to my glasses, pens, scissors, and what-knots.

Any discount department store is great for inexpensive kitchen stuff (Note: I actually go to a real office supply store now and then). I found those wire shelves meant to put dishes on in the cabinet are great for my laptop. It keeps it off the desk while allowing the air to circulate around it. As an added bonus, I put a basket of sticky notes under it. Works great.

The things I don’t need, but want. A bird feeder…okay it’s technically outside my window, but it’s close enough to count. The humming-birds come and go and I can waste precious writing time watching them. Plants. They turn carbon dioxide into oxygen and my brain needs all the oxygen it can get. They’re pretty and everyone needs a little pretty. And I can waste time watering them.

Things I can’t live without. Pictures, gifts from my family. There are photos of my husband and son through the years. From the two of them holding up half-eaten Christmas cookies, to our son in his Army uniform, first as a Sargent, then as a brand new Second Lieutenant. I have a snapshot of my dogs and cats, past and present. The present ones lay around my office and are counted in the things-I-don’t-need on my desk. The past ones are in little boxes in the bottom drawer of my file cabinet.

The printers. They’re intimidating and a little grumpy. Right now, they’re watching me. I think I’ll go get more coffee.


Posted by on August 16, 2011 in writing


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20 responses to “What’s on Your Desk?

  1. Clarissa Southwick

    August 16, 2011 at 5:23 AM

    Peggy, The cookbook holder is a great idea. I’ll have to get one. As for my desk? The kids took it over long ago. I now write at the dining room table, strategically located near the front door where I can interrogate the teenagers as they come and go. The added benefit of this location? I have to clean up my workspace at least once a day so we can all have dinner. I think if I didn’t, I would disappear in the clutter. . .

    • Peggy Staggs

      August 16, 2011 at 10:53 AM

      Clutter is alway a problem. I keep trying to keep it at bay, but it’s a losing battle.

  2. johannaharness

    August 16, 2011 at 5:42 AM

    I’m an office supply addict. Thanks to this post, I’m apt to turn into a kitchen store addict. Great ideas, Peggy!

    • Peggy Staggs

      August 16, 2011 at 10:54 AM

      I love kitchen places. They have some of the most interesting things.

  3. Laura Dion-Jones Casey

    August 16, 2011 at 6:33 AM

    Great fun read for those os us who share your same addictions. And thanks for some brand new, fun ideas, too!

    • Peggy Staggs

      August 16, 2011 at 10:56 AM

      Thanks. Addictions are not always bad.

  4. Carley Ash

    August 16, 2011 at 7:21 AM

    Love this post, Peggy.

  5. Janis McCurry

    August 16, 2011 at 8:57 AM

    My space is limited, which is probably a good thing, so I’ll just borrow your stuff if I need it. Thanks for the fun blog.

    • Peggy Staggs

      August 16, 2011 at 10:57 AM

      The problem right now is most of it is packed. But if you can find it, you can use it.

  6. Liz Fredericks

    August 16, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    I think a writer’s desk offers insight to their life — how they balance the beings whom they love (family, friends, pets) with their passion for stories. A very compelling post . . .

    • Peggy Staggs

      August 16, 2011 at 10:58 AM

      Thanks. My new office will allow me to put more stuff out that I will eventually have to move and dust.

  7. Alice Lynn

    August 16, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    I share a miniscule office with my husband and his computer. Sometimes I can’t find anything because nothing’s where I expect it to be. I definitely need some organizers. Maybe a trip to Office Depot or Office Max will give me some clever solutions.

    • Peggy Staggs

      August 16, 2011 at 3:02 PM

      Wow. Good luck. If my husband and I shared an office there’d be a murder. And since I write mysteries you can guess who the dead body would be.

  8. Marsha R. West

    August 16, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    This was so funny, Peggy. The cluttered desk has been a challenge for me since my years teaching theatre arts. Then I was fortunate to have a student who for the 4 years she was with me, would periodically say, “Mrs. W. it’s time to clean off your desk.” She would whip through with questions like, “Do you need this?” To which much of the time the answer was, “Not any longer.” She filed, threw out, and recycled. An absolute treasure. As a principal without her or someone like her, I was forced into working Saturday’s to keep from drowning in the papers. Sure could have used my old student, who incidentally went on to become a theatre arts teacher herself. Now as a writer with a half of the study to myself (a way better situation than so many folks, for which I am grateful), still I struggle. Every couple of weeks I am forced to “FILE.” If I could ever get past the need for hard copies of things I’d be lots better off. I have made progress that way, but the best editing I do is with a hard copy, so…. Oh, I usually have two 13-year-old-“puppies” I share the space with, plus family pics including daughters, spouses, my DH and the grands. Makes for a somewhat crowded space. Better than when we had a crib in here, however. Thanks for a great post, Peggy. Gotta clean off the desk now. Marsha

    • Peggy Staggs

      August 16, 2011 at 3:04 PM

      What was this student’s name and where does she live? I’m glad I could help.

  9. Marsha R. West

    August 16, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    LOL Why haven’t I thought of that? Marsha

  10. sharlalovelace

    August 17, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    Oh I laughed out loud at this. I share your affliction! I can find office supplies anywhere, but put me in an Office Depot and I’m like a kid in a candy store.

    My “office/desk” is the living room recliner with two little end tables next to me. First table has my laptop, with a stone coaster under the front for that “air circulation” thing you mentioned. 🙂 Second table has a basket with random papers holding cool word choices, my handwritten red notebook with all my notes, character info, etc. Then on the other side of the chair on the floor is a wooden magazine rack that I use for my iPod, charger, writing books, and pens.

    Not very snazzy! But I have no office, and to be honest at this point I’ve written either this way or in bed for so long I don’t think I’d be able to write at a desk. What I REALLY want is a room with a giant whiteboard. We have an extra guestroom right now, and I’m thinking of adopting it, using the bed as my “recliner and getting a whiteboard for the wall. That way I can close the door!! LOL

    • Peggy Staggs

      August 17, 2011 at 3:35 PM

      Sounds like you’ve got it all under control. I’d go for that extra bedroom before someone else gets designs on it.
      Glad you dropped by.

  11. Mary Vine

    August 17, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    Nice unique blog post, Peggy!


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