My Preferred Writing Space

The Art of Manliness has an article on the Libraries, Studies, and Writing Rooms of 15 Famous Men.

While I love the vast libraries (and certainly would love to have a vast library room, if I had a large house to contain it), when it comes to writing, I actually don’t like large spaces. For some reason, when it comes to reading and writing and studying, I prefer a small, intimate area. (Or maybe I like hiding in my introvert cocoon; take your pick.)

The fireplace is the clincher.

Of the Manliness rooms, the most appealing to me for writing was the Sherlock Holmes mock-up. It’s cozy and heavily decorated, while being just shy of too cluttered.

Interestingly, in my Acceptance trilogy, Joshua has a small, one-window office that’s painted a deep red. This contrasts heavily with his corner living room which is open–with lots of windows–and has white walls, carpet, and furniture, with pieces of art providing the only color. (Kalyn thinks it looks like an art museum more than a living room.) The High Council often meets informally in his living room, but his office is private. He doesn’t receive people in his office; there’s not even any seating in it, except for one chair beside his desk, which is intended for his secretary when she’s taking notes for him.

Can you believe this is actually a miniature room, not a real one? I’d like a real version, though, where I could take some tea and biscuits in front of my fire on a cold day.

I never thought about the fact that I was giving Joshua my ideal study!

I also find myself attracted to tiny little houses–like adult-sized playhouses. I could definitely make my office in one of those.


This restored railroad office would be the perfect exterior for my Victorian interior.

My head just exploded from all the cuteness. It’s a bit much for just a writing office, although if you’re in need of guest accommodations, building something like this would probably be cheaper than adding onto your house, and you can fulfill both your office and guest room needs.

Another one-room cottage that would work well with a Victorian interior.

I’m weeping from desire.

I’d be in heaven if I walked across my yard to work in this adult-sized playhouse every day.

What’s your ideal space? Hidden in the woods? Lots of windows with good views? An airy loft? A basement corner?

7 comments on “My Preferred Writing Space

  1. How fascinating! I guess I hadn’t really considered my “dream spot” before on a conscious level, but now you really have me thinking. I love your perspective and it is always interesting how our real lives seem to creep into our writing no matter how much we deny it! 🙂

    • Keri Peardon says:

      Yeah, it wasn’t until I said, “That Sherlock room is my favorite,” that I realized, wait a minute… Joshua has a small, dark red office. He is a very extroverted person and he genuinely loves being around people. He also likes his job (being the head of the vampire’s government) and likes all the schmoozing that goes with it. (In short, the exact opposite of me!) He’s also very egalitarian and more progressive than many of his people. But at the same time, he’s a rather private person. There are few people that he’s close to, and he will readily admit that he can’t have a permanent relationship with a woman because he can never love deeply enough.

      So when I thought about what sort of office he would have, I decided it wouldn’t be a power office where he sits behind a desk and other people sit on the other side in low chairs. That’s not his style. Rather, when he meets with people, he meets informally in his living room, so he can sit beside them, if he wants, and when he goes to his office, it’s so he can be alone to do paperwork or make phone calls.

      Interestingly, studies have proven that even extroverts need quiet, private time (and a place to do it). Being alone is when we do our deepest thinking.

  2. Wallace says:

    Interesting enough, Neil Gaiman (see, I just made your viewer stats go up) has a tiny little writing gazebo off in the woods by his house. Here’s one of his blog posts with both a picture of his really big house (which I lust after) and his tiny writing gazebo, which is OK, but I think I’d rather do my writing in the top tower room, like a tiny Parisian garret from the ’30s….

    • Keri Peardon says:

      Yeah, I noticed Neil’s little gazebo house (he says he has periods then he uses it, then he doesn’t for a few years at a time). It’s pretty, but definitely not where I could do my work. I don’t feel cocooned enough with all those windows, and knowing me, I’d spend way too much time looking out the windows and not writing.

      My college, Hollins, built a massive new library while I was in school. Our history teacher took us out for a walk one class, pointing out how architectural features convey certain ideas and emotions. He pointed out that our new library was one massive Greek temple. Not only did it have neo-classical architectural features (which fit with the antebellum buildings on campus), but the first floor was actually on the second floor, and you had to ascend this really long flight of stairs to get in the front door. Prof. Leedom said it was basically a temple to knowledge.

      And inside, it was really nice. It was bright–lots of windows–and light colors and everything was new. It was so much better than the dark cave that was the old 1950’s library (which I hated to go into because it was so dark and depressing). But I could NOT study in the new library. They had several private study rooms built into it, but I could not settle down and concentrate. See, all the study rooms had 3 walls made of glass, so you could see out and get natural light into the room. But I could never handle being in a fishbowl. And everything about the library was so grand and massive–it had very high ceilings–that I could never study at the desks, either.

      I like Neil’s house too, and I’d definitely have my Victorian office in the turret. I might even pretend to be Emily Dickinson or Louisa May Alcott sometimes.

      • Wallace says:

        Humm, the old library was dark and depressing and you hated to go into it, and the new library was all glass walls and you couldn’t study in it at all. So what did you do, check out books in the new library and then go study back in your room?

        I used to work in the Graduate Library at UTK and loved the reference department, which was also the main reading room. It had those massive old library tables that were about four and a half feet wide and about ten feet long set in rows down the middle of the room. The ceiling was a good fourty feet overhead and it had massive beams that spanned the entire width of the room, about thirty-five or fourty feet as I recall. Each beam had a sort of history of writing on it that started on the side of the first beam with Egyptian hieroglyphics and Sumerian cuneiforms and then the next had Greek writing and the the next had Roman writing, etc.

        Sadly, nobody ever seemed to look up and study or admire them. The students just came in, used the reference books, and left. There might as well have been Dementors from Harry Potter flying around the ceiling for all the difference it made. Since I worked there from 6 pm till 11:30 pm several days a week and on Saturday and Sunday, I became very familiar with all the architecture of the building.

        The best part was going out on the roof, walking across it to the tower over the library entrance, going into the tower and climbing up it’s two stories to the tower roof door, and going out on the tower roof and watch the students and cars passing by about seventy or eighty feet below. The tower had two big rooms, about fifteen feet by fifteen feet, stacked on top of each other. They’d have been great offices or study rooms, but the base of the tower was the grand staircase from the first to the second floor of the library, and there was no way to get to the tower except by going out on the roof and walking across it to the tower door. Plus the only way to get from the first tower room to the second, and from the second tower room to the roof, was by a rung ladder set in the wall. A little much for the older librarians, I guess.

  3. Maya Panika says:

    I don’t have a writing space so much as a sofa under a window, but the principle’s more or less the same I suppose. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s