My Work Space

Other writers have separate rooms, or studies, in which they do their writing, but I prefer to write in my living room. I have a computer desk on wheels that I roll out in front of my favourite easy chair. On it is my laptop, baskets full of pens and pencils and erasers, three manuscript  boxes full of works-in-progress, plus bottles of herbs and other supplements I take on a regular basis, with meals. Why are these on my desk? Because I often eat off a lap tray while I work.

I also have what my son calls a “sippy cup” full of water or diet cola. The “sippy cup” is spill proof, because of the time I spilled cola all over my new laptop, then had to take it in for repairs. I was lucky it was salvageable at all.

My desk is a total mess. I have always worked better in the midst of clutter, but I’m glad there’s no picture included with this post! But the view is nice. In front of me is our bay window, looking out onto our apple tree. I like to watch the squirrels stealing apples in the fall. I like the way they twitch their tales, look all around, then grab an apple in their paws,  and scamper away. The apple sometimes looks bigger than the squirrel.

Generally, one or both of my cats sit on my chair, purring or sleeping. The littlest one, a Manx, often sits in the chair with me. The bigger one, a Tonkinese mix, likes to curl up on the chair back. If my hair touches his ears, he flicks them in annoyance, but will rarely move them out of range.  It’s me, of course, who has to move. I’ve often had the dubious pleasure of a furry tale waving in front of my face, or lying flat across my nose.

The Manx is quite skittish. We rescued her from the streets, and she must have been traumatized out there. She purrs loudly and easily, and is very sweet, but if you so much as breathe the wrong way, she takes off fast. She’s yanked two sets of headphones out of my computer this way, and bent them all out of shape.
The two cats also don’t like each other much. If they get too close, hissing and spitting and rushing off in several directions at once take place. None of this is particularly conducive to creativity.

So why don’t I go upstairs to the perfectly nice converted bedroom Ihave up there, where I used to do my freelance editing work on my PC?  The room is too small,and I don’t like to feel shut away from the rest of my life. I do my best work in an empty house, no matter what room I’m in, but the desk in the living room makes writing seem an organic part of my life, rather than something set apart.

I also don’t feel all that comfortable in a desk chair. Right now, I am typing this on my rollout desk, in my armchair, with my legs crossed over one arm! This is probably hideously ergonomically incorrect, but it works for me. As long as I get up and walk around on a regular basis, of course. I do this quite a lot, not for health reasons, but to distract myself from the fact that I’m stuck.  Again.

Sheila Dalton has written books for children, adults and teens, and has been pubished by Doubleday Canada, Dundurn and Houghton-Mifflin, among others. You can read more about her work at her website:


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. I hope readers will take a look at my book, The Girl in the Box, on Amazon:

  2. You're welcome Sheila. Good luck with your virtual tour and, of course, your book.

  3. Thanks, Jo.Looks like an interesting blog you've got here.

  4. Thats a great blog... i am happy to see that you have time for blogging


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