Monday, November 7, 2011

Office Tour

"I'll see you in my office now."

This is where I spend my time.

Writing on the Wall

On one side of my office is my library. Reading, writing and research books, stories for the grands, old letters, maps and travel books (stashed in the suitcases) and file boxes along the bottom with tons of family history info.

Office Suite-y

You've already seen my computer.

My Bibles

If I turn my chair the other way I'm facing my work table. Between the bookends are resources I need at my fingertips. The loose leaf holds research I've done for my work in progress, aka The Widow's Waltz. It's a great example of my new catchphrase, "Planning is the enemy of finishing."

Since last November I've compiled almost three hundred pages outlining setting (Vienna, just before World War II) plot (American businessman is murdered) and character back-story (based on real letters) but not a sentence of the actual book. It's time to stop planning, so I can start finishing.

Editor's Desk

But I have finished a couple of big editing projects recently. Right now I'm working on a manuscript by a surgeon who served several tours of duty in Afghanistan. It's serious and funny—a little like Hawkeye's life on MASH.

Office Accessories

Little details: I use my pewter collection to hold office supplies. The IKEA Lazy Susan gives me instant access to red pens, blue pencils, scissors, chapstick and my back-scratcher. It suddenly seemed nutty that these pretty pieces were hidden away in a cupboard. What was I saving them for??

Check books

Here's my bill paying station. I chucked my ugly brown accordion folder and now I stash the bills that need attention in one fake book, and the others hold receipts, stamps and envelopes.

File It

These space-saving filing cabinets came from TJ Maxx. Since the folders are on display, I bought a package of cute blue ones to match my decor, and put them in front. They hold everything—address labels, greeting cards, newspaper clippings and blog ideas.

Inspiration Board

When I was packing up my stuff to move, I found some handmade paper we bought in Italy ten years ago. Apparently I was saving it. For what? So I cut it up into squares and used it to line a bulletin board. Postcards and old calendar pictures of women reading and writing inspire me.


A rusted, yellow mailbox begged for old letters, but the slots were too deep for my stationery. I cut some scrapbook paper up and taped a few pieces together so they'd be exactly the right size, and then stuck on some vintage-looking stamp stickers to make them look authentic. Old postcards added color.

Anything for me?

Voila! A cool in-and-out box for my desk. (I stash the real letters-to-be-mailed behind the fake ones—a check being sent to the phone company doesn't seem as cute.)

Speaking of letters . . . Nancy emailed these questions:

"How do you preserve what you've written, photos and all?
Do you have a backup system for memoirs?"

Actually, my blog is my backup system. A few years ago I accidentally deleted my archive of photos. The pictures I had used on my blog were the only ones I could find again, because they were floating around the Internet. That's why I've written a lot of my memoirs on my blog—I can access those memories from anywhere, anytime. (And so can all my descendants who can't wait to read every word Great-grandma Oma ever wrote.)

So, how do you preserve what you've written?

I loved your comments about why you blog. Now you need to write about where you blog. Leave a comment and we'll come over and tour your office.

Congratulations to Grandma Cebe!
(She won a copy of my book!)


BusyB said...

I blog from my living room couch, my bed, and sometimes from my desk. Laptop and I-pad make that possible. I was hesitant to leave my family history stories on my blog but I see your point about using Blogger as a back-up. I have also used Blogger to make a bound soft-cover book for family and for myself. Thanks for always inspiring me.

Grandma Cebe said...

Marty - I emailed you my address to It came back undeliverable. That's the address you sent me. Email me again at

Diane said...

I love your work space. It seems very you.
I have an office/sewing room/get things done area right off my family room. I can work in there and watch the grandkids, or work in there to get away when I need (seems contradictory, but it's true). My sister-in-law designed it to be her art studio and when we bought the house from them I took it over as my spot. I look out a nice window from my computer station, and I love it.
I'm loving your empty books for storing your inbox things...
(Cute purse too)

Grandma Cebe said...

Most of my blogging has been done at the communal desk that was in the corner bedroom of the apartment. The desk originally was my space, but the husband started working from home a few years ago when I was spending more time working on call. My love organization has been taken over by his lack of same. That desk is now in the loft of the house. The space is nowhere as cool as yours since the hubby has basically taken it over. I also blog on-the-job if I happen to working an assignment where there isn't much to do. To see those work spaces, you'd have to follow me around the Church Office building.

Grandma Cebe said...

Oh, and great way to use the pretty things that you love but had kept in a cupboard. And excuse my apparent "fingers going faster than my brain" in my previous post..left a few words out here and there.

allison said...

your office is so YOU! i love it.

ps-just downloaded Son of a Gun onto my kindle. i'm diving in tonight!

Christie said...

It looks so great! I love it!

Amanda Greer said...

The fake books are such a neat storage idea! I have a black accordion file - ugly - and hide it away. I should find some cuter storage...

Heather P said...

What a great (and thorough!) post. I'm so happy to see you settling in and to see you already so excited about the new project. Best of luck with that one, too. :)

The Grandmother Here said...

My office space is a little bedroom full of piles and piles and piles. Help!

Grandma Shelley said...

I'm loving your office space. Creative, resourceful, and useful. The pewter office supply caddy is awesome.

I blog from my home office. My desk is on one wall and my husbands desk is on the opposite wall. Our office chairs often bring us together somewhere in the middle of the room.

Susan Adcox said...

I especially like your inspiration board!