More Tea Parties | Content Warnings
Hello! Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here. We were just about to share our workspaces. Have some tea, and join us.
Describe your work area!
I have a desk that holds my laptop, sewing machine, crocheting drawer overstuffed with yarn, a pile of notebooks for studying, and a lamp that looks like a giraffe. Oh, and a bottle of water is always at my desk (it’s a thermos, so it stays cold forever).
I usually like to work at my desktop computer. I have a really big desk, so it gets cluttered really easily. I’m still working on a way to keep it organized and clean… I keep my main writing notes in front of my monitor so they’re always there, and my planner is usually there too. I have a bunch of writing utensils and all my other stationery stuff (stickers, washi tape, post its, etc.) in drawers and bags. I keep reference books and my art tablet on the shelf above my monitor, along with other storage things on the high shelf since I don’t go up there as often. I have a metal strip on the wall next to me that holds notes and lists and a year calendar. I have a chalkboard hanging up here that has things to do with no deadline so I don’t forget about them. I have a wire basket to hold mail I haven’t filed away yet and candles that would honestly probably be a fire hazard if I lit them. This desk also holds all the empty cups and cans and containers that end up in my room.
I usually work on a couch in the living room with my laptop on one TV tray and my other supplies on a second one. I like to have way more pens out than I actually need, a couple of notebooks (because I always chicken out of using my cute journals), candles, water (when I remember), and a mug of tea or a cup of ice. (Don’t worry, dentists. It’s… uh… soft ice?)
Other than your usual area, do you have other favorite or ideal places to work?
In pre-COVID times, I used to love going to cafes with my laptop. Then I’d have coffee, space, and as long as I didn’t log into the wifi I could be productive.
I also bought a Surface Pro so I could work on the go! When I take trips or when it’s too cold in my room to work at my desk. I like working at libraries. I never got the hang of working in a cafe, but maybe that’s something I’ll try once COVID restrictions lessen up a bit more. I’d also like to try working outside one of these days.
Pre-social distancing, it was definitely the library. Even when I’d go with friends, since you have to be quiet there, I wouldn’t end up talking too much or getting distracted. Cafes are wonderful, too, but since so much happens there, they don’t give me quite the same amount of focus.
Do you work solitarily, or do you like to work with others around?
As an introvert, I thrive best when left alone haha. I usually work by myself, with my puppy being the only visitor allowed into my writer’s chambers. But then, she tries to eat everything, so she might get herself banned pretty soon.
I generally work best when I’m by myself, headphones in. Sometimes I’ve gone to libraries with friends and we parallel play. Lately I’ll pull my laptop out at nights and work in the living room as my sisters are playing games or watching videos and work on stuff that doesn’t require me to think so much, like outlining or answering questions or working on schedules. It’s nice to have somebody to bounce ideas off right away and in person, but when it comes to drafting or revising, I still need that isolation.
This is a tricky one. I’m easily distracted, but I love to body double while I work. If everyone in the room is also working or doing something relatively quiet, I do pretty well with getting things done. But if I’m with a friend I haven’t seen in a while and want to extrovert or if there’s a lot happening in the room, like people are talking or the TV is on, I have a bit of trouble being productive.
Do you listen to anything as you work (music, white noise, etc.) or do you prefer silence?
I love listening to music while I work. It’s nice to have vibes in the background to channel the mood I’m going for in my writing. Lately, I’ve been revisiting my old favorite Kpop groups and songs, and when I say my productivity has taken a nosedive… I’m still working on a way to listen to songs that spark joy while also being productive.
I personally prefer music. Whether it’s a playlist, music I’m just jamming to at the moment, or a single song on repeat that’s inspiring me as I write, I like to have it playing loudly in my headphones to help keep me focused. It helps me get in the zone. Silence isn’t bad, but when I’m at home, with other people in the background, the music helps drown out the other sounds.
Silence is great for when I really need to concentrate (like with final drafts and line edits), but for most tasks, I listen to music while I work. It’s perfect for tuning out anything going on around the house.
I’ve learned that I can get a little sidetracked choosing songs, so these days I either make a playlist in advance or pick one song and put it on repeat. The music doesn’t really need to go with what I’m writing; my brain just likes to have that layer of something fun going on in the background. I have to be careful, though. If a song is too new to me or if I haven’t heard it in forever, I will start jamming instead. Choosing just one song tends to be safer. I also really love working to video game soundtracks, but I need to be a bit more awake when I use those.
If you could add anything to your workspace, what would it be?
Honestly, I need to buy some more candles. I like having sounds and smells around me when I work, as they both work to pull me from my current environment and into my characters’ worlds.
I’m still working on a way to organize my desk so that I can keep it clean. I would like windows, too. I don’t have good windows in my room at the moment and it’s such a bummer. I’d also like plants. I tried to keep a succulent one time, but I overwatered it, and it rotted. Now I make my little sister take care of all the cactus’ and plants we have in the house.
Walls? My family is wonderful, but my own workspace would be fantastic. Bookshelves would make me super happy, too! And a desk with drawers would be great for keeping my stuff organized in one place.
Thanks for joining us!
What are your workspace must-haves? Do you prefer music or silence? We’d love to know! Leave a comment below or @jaamwriting on Twitter!