A few weeks ago, Writer’s Digest put out an intriguing invitation to readers: Submit a photo (or two, or three) of your workspace, along with comments on how you use it, why it’s set up the way it is, or anything else you'd like to say about it. The editors will pick a few to publish in the magazine.
I had every intention of submitting mine, but before I managed to assemble the pictures and send off the entry, the deadline had passed. Still, the challenge got me thinking about my own work space, not only how I use it, but also what I call it.
When I worked from home for my regular job or on freelance assignments, I called my workspace—in our previous home as well as our current one—my “office.” But something about that term grates on me now. It conjures images of deadlines, dingy cubicles, and that sense of being chained to a desk, unable to escape and have fun.
Nowadays, although I still spend a lot of time in the room where my desk resides, I’m not always working in the strict sense of the word. Sometimes I’m practicing yoga. Sometimes I’m brainstorming ideas for writing projects, or organizing and editing photos, or sorting and cutting out pieces for collages, or creating music playlists, or communicating with friends, or yes, writing. It’s as much a playroom as a workspace.
So what to call it?
“Workshop” sounds crafty—a good place to build things. But still a little “worky.”
“Study” is what spaces like mine used to be called before the home-office kick. Filled with books, as my room is, studies were places for contemplation and rumination. I certainly do contemplate and ruminate. Yet “study” sounds so studious. Not playful.
I’m partial to “studio.” With its artsy connotations, it leaves open possibilities for all sorts of creative activities. Why, I could even dance in a studio (and sometimes I do!). So for now I’m sticking with studio. And just for fun, I’ll take you on a tour.
Then, I invite you to send me photos of your own creative space and tell me what you call it and how you use it.
Where will your workspace--or playspace--take you?
1/15/2020 08:43:46 am
I favor the name 'studio' too, I call mine an office thought, because my art is health care and people are accustomed to going to an 'office' for that.
1/15/2020 09:04:50 am
Good point. Although maybe creative healthcare deserves a whole new name for the location where it's practiced.
1/15/2020 11:00:32 am
That certainly is a neat jumble you have there.The book, "social life of bees" looks interesting.
1/15/2020 03:07:49 pm
My space, sometimes called the craft room, sometimes the sewing room, is a lot more cluttered than your lovely space. (I see Truck on your shelf, another memoir I loved! ) The clutter is really made up of reminders of my crafting journey, from a crewel Beatrix Potter character I did in high school to whatever I’m currently working on. My mother’s old Singer is still the one I use, and a patchwork doll quilt made by my grandmother covers a back up machine. There’s a schoolhouse wall hanging courtesy of my daughter and rugs hooked from recycled wool. Also a spinning wheel I’m determined to use! And yarn, lots of yarn, for knitting. And I can look out the window and see hellebores in bloom right now!
1/16/2020 06:55:14 am
You painted a beautiful picture of your space! It feels like home, past & present.
1/16/2020 08:56:16 am
Thanks, Sal. It takes prompts from Nancy's blog to look at things, ordinary or not, with new eyes and appreciation. My own posts to my Lily Hill gardening page,on Facebook makes me slow down and appreciate my gardening in the same way.
1/20/2020 09:34:47 am
I love how your space reflects a lifetime of interests.
1/16/2020 06:53:18 am
Thanks for the request to share our spaces. Forgive the length of this, but since you asked......I can’t think of a known word yet that adequately names the spaces that I do this deep contemplative work in. Both of my areas contain altars, intentional settings that contain items which vibrate with those concentric rings of a kind of consciousness that synchronize with mine, and can take me to those places of which I know you are familiar as well. One has inks, paints and pencils and a view that opens to the sky, water, a cacophony of native plants and flying things in summer, and gray-white ice in winter. All seasons are eclipsed with the presence of Grandmother Cedar and her Grandson Pine Tree at her side, always receptive to a greeting and prayer. It has a comfy chair as well to sink into, lending itself to deep revelry and thought. The other space is more cocoonish, but still with an altar of vibrating sacred things and a view that is closer and more woodsy. This space has a bed that I retreat to on sleepless nights that also lends itself well to safety and security while journeying in thoughts or prayers, and when creativity needs to flow to paper or laptop. Then there is the “computer room” where household and work related tasks get accomplished in an as-efficient way as possible. But even this space is populated with friends of a non-human nature, and gifts from the hearts of human friends as well. It has functional furniture made by my life partner whose surfaces reflect the spirit of the universe that help rescue me from becoming trapped in brain bytes. I am grateful to have these places, and blessed to have been led to the knowing that these outer spaces are needed so I may reach those inner dimensions, to help keep my life in balance. And thank you, Nan et al, for allowing this space for the sharing of our spaces. It helped me to learn more about them as well.
1/20/2020 09:36:55 am
All of this sounds so supportive of deep, inner work.
1/19/2020 05:00:12 pm
I love the question you posed. It got me thinking how eclectic I am about being creative. I do not really have a dedicated space to create. Thus by default my creative space is in my head when I go jogging. I love running up and down the hills and around twists and turns, noticing the houses as I pass and letting my mind wander wherever it wants to go. It’s led to a few creative epiphanies... Compared to the rest of my life with more structured time and activities. I admire your followers who also make time and a special space for creativity.
1/20/2020 09:39:53 am
What an interesting and thoughtful response, Sandy. A good reminder that we can exercise our creative muscles in different ways, whether or not we have a dedicated physical space for that kind of activity.
What a lovely tour of your tastefully furnished studio. I think studio is the perfect name for your creative area. In Florida, I have a desk (that I share with my hubby). That's a bit larger than what I wrote on when we were full-time RV'ers--the kitchen table in the RV, and I had to move all my "stuff" into an extra chair in order to eat there. At home in MI we do have a dedicated room for an office.Yes, office. That's where the files and bookshelves are and of course the desk. The room has dark paneling, the piano and a few framed photos of travels. Not a very bright, inspiring place to write. Maybe that's why I write everywhere in the house--recliner, kitchen counter, dining room table, deck. Yes, much brighter and more space for my laptop and cup of tea.
1/20/2020 09:45:57 am
Sounds like you're very adaptable when it comes to writing -- from RV kitchen table to kitchen counter to deck. That's a good trait for a writer to have!
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Written from the heart,
from the heart of the woods
Read the introduction to HeartWood here.
Nan Sanders Pokerwinski, a former journalist, writes memoir and personal essays, makes collages and likes to play outside. She lives in West Michigan with her husband, Ray.