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  • Nina Lane

A Room Without a View



For many years, I wrote in a corner of our apartment bedroom, sitting at a computer cart that faced a blank white wall. You can see the remnants of it in this photo, as we were moving out. I didn't even think of having a home office because we didn't have the space for one, and it didn't occur to me that I could brighten up my little corner with...uh, something. It worked out fine and I wrote some good books there. But when we moved into a house, I still didn't think, "Hey, I could make a nice little office or writing space for myself."


Instead, I thought, "Hey, I can put my computer cart by the window in the living room!"


So I did that -- which you can see behind this cute young picture of my kid:


And yes, my computer was stacked on a bunch of books because I couldn't elevate my chair any higher to make the screen eye-level.


I thought it would be great -- somewhat isolated, but close enough to the rest of the house that I could hear my children if they called. And the window! I could look out the window any time I wanted.


Except...I looked out the window any time I wanted...which was often. Every time a car passed, a neighbor left their house, someone strolled along walking their dog, or a squirrel ran up a tree...I stopped writing and stared out the window. And inevitably my thoughts veered away from my story and toward whatever was going on. Huh. I've never seen that woman before. Does she live nearby? What kind of dog is that? Has the mail come yet? Ooo, lookit that pretty cloud...


Since my window on to the world proved too distracting, I decided to turn our unused dining room into my "office" and I finally bought an actual wood desk. But the first thing I did was face it toward the wall so I wouldn't be tempted to look out the window and watch the world go by.


Apparently, I'm not supposed to do this, according to feng shui principles at least, because having my back to the door leaves me vulnerable. If there's no choice, an alternative is to put a mirror near your desk, but frankly I don't want to be catching glimpses of myself in the mirror any more often than I have to. Another counter-balance is through the use of bright, colorful artwork. Check.


More importantly, though, minimizing distractions is what allows me to get my best work done, and there's no better feng shui than that.


For a serious consideration about desk placement and workflow, check out the step-by-step process in How To Set Up Your Desk.