Where's Katie Writing?
In On Writing, Stephen King advocates the importance of writers having an office—one with a door where you shut out the world and immerse yourself in your characters. I’d like to say that by always having a room in my house allocated as an office I’ve adhered to his advice. But I would be lying. The truth is in the six years since I’ve been writing full-time, I’ve written in many places throughout my house…and even in the study rooms at my local library as well as a comfy chair or table at the Starbucks down the road. So sit back and prepare for a somewhat Where’s Waldo or Where’s Katie Writing.
First up is my actual physical office. Last month I had my office moved from upstairs down to my recently finished basement. It’s not very streamlined in its color choices (I have mismatching chairs, but man, are they comfortable). As far as the décor, it represents the many facets of my personality such as the types of books I read, the shows I watch, and the travels I’ve been blessed to experience.
On my bookshelves, you will find both my past and present. I spent eleven and a half years teaching MS and HS English. My love for the man, the myth, and the legend, Shakespeare, is seen on the shelf I have devoted to him. There’s a tea pot in the shape of his house that I got when I visited his birth place of Stratford Upon Avon. There’s also an illustrated version of his plays I picked from a street vendor in London. For years, the Shakespeare bobblehead figure resided in my classroom.
From glancing at the shelves, you might deduce I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and you would be correct! I was late to the reading game since I read the books just ten years ago. I took my love so far as to name my cat, Harry Potter. When I was blessed to attend a signing in London, I was able to go to the Harry Potter studios, which to a Potterhead was like being at Graceland!
I’d like to say I did a lot of writing at my Big Mac, but alas, that would be stretching the truth. My last bookshelf is entirely dedicated to my own books. It’s hard to believe that ten years ago I finished my first book, The Road to Damascus. Now I have almost thirty titles. You might also spy some Star Wars Funko Pops, and yes, a Star Wars nerd am I(spoken in Yoda speak).
Another place I like to write in my house is in this nook in my bedroom. Most days it’s not this clean. I usually have laundry thrown across one of the chairs. While my daughter and dogs takeover my bed to watch television, I’ll hole up to write. Well, my daughter watches television while the dogs snore. One weird thing I do is sometimes I take a “disco nap” at night after my daughter goes to bed. I’ll sleep an hour or two and then get up around midnight to write(it’s only problematic when you keep hitting the snooze button on your alarm). It’s a nice, uninterrupted time to get words in, and the nap helps me to be a little refresher.
One of my other favorite spots to write at my house is out on the screened-in back porch. There’s something about nature that helps fuel my creativity. A lot of times I will do plotting while taking walks at the local park by the river. Usually when I write on my porch, I’m surrounded by woodland creatures. Actually, it’s more like my dogs and cat get in on the action. My dog, Belle, looks especially judgey in her picture. Like, “I know what you’re writing, and I’m embarrassed you’re my owner!” On the other hand, Harry Potter just looks pissed I dared to take his picture at all.
Along with my Shakespeare shelf, there are other books I used during my teaching career. You’ll also find an entire shelf dedicated to books on the British royal family because I’m an unabashed royalty nerd(there’s also Funko pop characters of them). At least five shelves are dedicated to the signed copies of romance books written by my fellow author buddies. There’s also a hardback and paperback collection of the Twilight series because without those books, I wouldn’t have started writing Young Adult, which led me down the path to romance.
Part of the reason I’m not fully able to follow Stephen King’s office suggestions stems from the fact I’m a single mom to an adorable three-year-old. Not only did my writing time drastically change, but where I write changed as well. My current office is just off the playroom, which is both good and bad. While she’s playing dress up or watching Paw Patrol, I can get my writing done or some of the Olivia doesn’t quite get the whole “close the door” idea. My office is a place for her to explore. In the case of the photograph, it’s a place for her to rest or snuggle with our pup, Elsa.
Even before I moved my office downstairs, she liked to make her presence known as you can see in this picture. Well, her presence as Elsa, I suppose I should say.
So there you have it--all the many places I write in my house. There is no rhyme or reason to where the words flow or don’t flow. Sometimes it’s about just finding an available chair to get my butt in so I can pound out the words on my laptop. In my mind, I picture everything being just perfect. Like the area where I’m writing is sparkling clean while essential oils for creativity fill the air and movie scores pump through my Beats. But alas, that’s fiction. You have to go when and where the mood takes you. Therefore, your office becomes where you make it.
Katie Ashley is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author of both Indie and Traditionally published books. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her daughter, Olivia, and her spoiled mutt, Duke. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Shakespeare, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Scooby-Doo.
With a BA in English, a BS in Secondary English Education, and a Masters in Adolescent English Education, she spent eleven years teaching both middle and high school English, as well as a few adjunct college English classes. As of January 2013, she hung up her red pen and expo markers to become a full-time writer. Each and every day she counts her blessings to be able to do her dream job.
Although her roots are firmly planted in the red Georgia clay, she loves traveling the country and world to meet readers and hang out with fellow authors. When she’s not writing or chasing down her toddler, you might find her watching reruns of The Golden Girls, reading historical biographies, along with romance novels, or spending way too much time on Facebook.