A Writer’s Fiefdom Revisited by Mae Clair

Writers need a special place to create. It doesn’t matter where it is (over the years I’ve had quite a few) as long as we can put our stamp on it.

When I was a kid, it was my bedroom, scribbling in spiral bound notebooks. When I got my fist typewriter at age fifteen (a manual one), I took over my parents’ dining room table. Each day we would move my papers and notes, along with the typewriter, to the floor when dinner rolled around. When the table was cleared, my parents gladly gave me my space back. To this day, I love how they encouraged me to write.

When my husband and I married, the dining room table pattern continued through each of the apartments we leased. When we bought our first home, we set a room aside as my den. Although it was nothing extraordinary, and shared space with the ironing board and laundry basket, I had an actual desk. I remember coming home from work one day and finding it in the living room. Hubby had taken it upon himself to surprise me, and picked it up from a state surplus store.

That desk was a monster. Solid wood, with a built in cabinet in addition to drawers. It always reminded me of something that belonged in a courthouse, it was so huge. It stayed with me for many years afterward, and when we moved to our current house, it became the center point of my den. I was no longer sharing space with laundry and the ironing board, but the room could have used a facelift. Still, it was my spot, reserved just for me. Writer’s bliss.

In warm weather, I took my laptop outside and worked from our deck or covered patio. Sometimes, when the mood struck, I’d stake claim on a corner of the couch in the family room. Eventually, we decided to remodel a smaller room in the house for my den and turn the existing space into a TV room. That meant moving everything from the smaller, guest bedroom into the den during the remodeling process. You might remember me lamenting my space was usurped with clutter in A Writer’s Fiefdom. I promised in that post I would share photos when the project was done.

View of desk and small bookcase

I’ve been neglectful in posting these, but I finally have my newly remodeled den, along with a new desk, bookcases, corner fireplace and flatscreen (which I like to tune to Soundscapes for background music when I’m writing).

Corner fireplace with flatscreen TV

We gutted this room from the floor up. Everything is new – from the floor and moldings, to the doors, switch plates, outlets, etc. I should have taken before and after photos, but didn’t think of the “before” photos until it was too late. Hubby does good work, and I am now a pro at stripping wallpaper. 🙂

Bookcase

I wanted warm harvest colors and wood tones, a change from the “blue” den I had before.

I’m sure I’ll still wander outside with my laptop come summer, but in the meantime I’m enjoying my cozy new haven, which is perfect for dreaming up characters.

View of desk and computer

Oh, and about that monster desk? We had to dismantle it in order to fit it through the door for trash disposal. It went out in pieces! I wrote a lot of stories on that baby, just like my parents’ dining room table. I’m hoping to write even more in my new fiefdom.

What do you like best about your writing space?

18 thoughts on “A Writer’s Fiefdom Revisited by Mae Clair

  1. Mae: You have a great space for all those creative thoughts whirling around in your head. I believe we all need our own space. I used to tell my brothers to get out of my circle (imaginary of course) because I was in our front yard, flat on my back, watching the clouds go by. After all, how could I possibly make up stories about the people and animals in the clouds if my brothers thought it had to be such a girl thing!

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    • Sheri, I love the imagery your memory invokes. And yes, brothers were bothersome at that age, LOL. I still like to watch the clouds drift by from a raft in my pool, creating whimsical scenes for each of them. It’s important to still look ip and imagine after all of these years 🙂

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    • Thanks, Joanne. The octopus is “Opie,” a gift from a friend. He should have his own post coming up shortly. I couldn’t imagine writing without him peering up at me with those soulful blue eyes! 🙂

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  2. This is wonderful! Thanks for sharing. I love the cover photos on the walls. (Now I’m thinking I should do something similar. Hmm.) My writing space is pretty much me and my laptop, wherever we are. Partly because my desk is covered with cardmaking paraphernalia. LOL But I can sit and stare out the windows while brainstorming, so it works out great. 🙂

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    • Cardmaking? How very cool! 🙂

      The cover photos on the walls were done by Canvas on Demand. Great prices when you can pick up a Groupon, and awesome quality work! I’m really pleased with the way they turned out.

      I love the portability of a laptop and how you can write anywhere. I keep wanting to haul mine into a coffee shop or cafe one day and spend an afternoon camped out with it!

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  3. Mae,
    Beautiful room. I’m trying not to think about the fact that I will have an extra room in two and a half years when my oldest graduates from high school.

    For now, my primary writer’s space is a leather chair and ottoman. I have my laptop, a side table and headphones to signal to my family that I’m not to be disturbed. But they don’t always notice the headphones.

    My secondary writer’s space is the front seat of my car. I’ve written probably at least half of my debut novel while waiting for my son to finish baseball practice. I also squeeze in fifteen minutes most mornings in between dropping the boys off at their schools and starting my shift at my school.

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    • Hi, Kristina. I had to laugh over that comment about the headphones.What a great signal to have…even if it doesn’t always work 🙂

      It sounds like you are super prolific wherever you’re writing. Congrats on using your time so productively. Wow! I’m impressed!!

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  4. I love that I have a window behind me, with a doggie bed underneath it. My girls curl up and keep me company. Also, I love having a bookshelf within arms reach to my left so that if I need something for research purposes, I can easily find it.

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    • I love how pets hang our with writers. My cats used to do that too (although often times, it involved crawling on my lap or walking in front of the screen, LOL).

      I’m with you about the usefulness of having books close by. The smaller bookcase behind my desk is all reference material I’m often reaching for. Many of my Mythical Monday posts were born from those books 🙂

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  5. Love your space! It is cozy and yet also makes the “I mean business” statement. My old writing space was a desk and the pc, but currently it’s me and my laptop in a recliner with my 14 year old basset hound Daisy Josette by my side, snoring.

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    • Aww, I love the addition of Daisy Josette, Flossie. I’m envisioning such a comfy space with her snuggled by your side. My cats used to hang with me whenever I was working and I miss that. Although I’m presently “catless” I definitely see myself having another one day.

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  6. I like the new room – tentacles and socks and beverages! What more does an author need? hehe

    I was looking forward to seeing pictures of your giant old desk but your new one is quite lovely and looks ready to create with you. Beautiful covers!

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    • Hi, Heather! Thanks so much for dropping by and checking out my creative space 🙂 . I’m really going to have to give “Opie” is own post very soon (I have it started). He seems to have made quite a hit with his tentacles spread all over my desk. And you’re right – – I should have had a picture of that old monster desk. I have fond memories of it, but do like my new streamlined one better 😀

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    • Hi, Emma. Thanks! I think I was as excited about the book covers when they arrived as I was about the den! I almost didn’t do WEATHERING ROCK but my husband said “you have to have that. It was your first.” 🙂

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