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.