Actually basement perspectives, but that doesn't work in a title.
Since joining the team at Hartline, I've been setting up a new office space in what was our son's basement bedroom. He recently graduated from college, got a job, and moved out, so I've claimed that room and begun to establish a workspace I don't have to share. This, in turn, has prompted me to reflect on what environment helps a writer work efficiently.
One size never fits all, and work spaces are no exception. So beyond the essentials: a desk with adequate surface area, a decent-size monitor into which to plug my netbook, a nearby bookshelf, and a filing cabinet and laser printer (paperless never quite works), I've indulged in a few extras based on how I know I work best.
Rather than a modern adjustable swivel chair, I sit in a substantial, scarred oak chair that was my father's. It offers continuity with my heritage. My father, as did two of his brothers, made their living with a pen and typewriter.
Instrumental music helps me focus—or provides a welcome distraction when my mind needs to reflect before I continue typing. So I installed a pair of speakers, drilled a few holes, and strung wires to my sound system in the family room. It's especially good as I listen to one of my hundreds of garage sale instrumental LP records. A born fidgeter, I need to get up every half hour and walk around. The need to go and flip the record provides a perfect excuse.
I keep on a corner of my desk a variety of Altoids, a bag of black licorice, another of pistachios, and some root beer barrels. Not what others would choose, but I know what helps keep my brain in gear.
And for those moments I need to look out the window and reflect, I enjoy a view that rivals what Jerry Jenkins sees from his writing “cave” a couple hours west of Colorado Springs. When I turn from my computer screen and look to my left, I see a snow-capped mountain behind a valley filled with aspens.
I installed the view this weekend. For my birthday, my sister-in-law gave me a giant photo poster designed to convert a galvanized window well to a view of nature's beauty—like the background image in dioramas at natural history museums.
So now when I look up from my work screen, I have the best cellar view possible.
I hope you've also set up your office to maximize the ways you're wired to work.