From Kate’s Writing Crate…
After writing last week’s Masterclass post, I was inspired to write about my own writing desk. It’s vastly different than the hulking one with 19 drawers featured in Great House by Nicole Krauss.
Writers are in business if we have pens and paper or computers, imagination, and determination. We can write in beds, on couches or comfy chairs, or at café and kitchen tables, but desks are where most of us work so it’s imperative to find the right one.
Every desk in my house while growing up had drawers. My father’s. My mother’s. The one I shared with my siblings. We even had a desk built by a great, great grandfather with lots of big drawers. Whenever I visited my grandparents, I loved to sit at my grandpa’s desk, always cluttered, even with five drawers.
So when it came time to buy my own desk, I assumed I would be drawn to drawers. But the desk of my dreams is sleek with long tapered legs and only a keyboard drawer. It looks more like an elegant dining table except for the wooden ridge along the back edge and down a third of the way on each side so pens cannot roll off and disappear—useful although I corral most of my pens in the keyboard drawer along with a few memory cards, Post-it Notes, and other office necessities.
Along with its simplicity, I love all the surface space. At 58 inches long and 26 inches wide, there is plenty of room to work even with a 24-inch wide, three-shelf bookcase filled with reference and writing books in one back corner with my printer in front of it. There is still room for my monitor, computer, keyboard, and mouse. Everything I need is at hand.
Sitting at my desk, I’ve written about 78,000 published words for this blog (over 120,000 including drafts) over 1,100,000 words in published magazine assignments (about 1,500,000 including drafts), and another 3,000,000 or so for freelance work and projects (about 3,400,000 including drafts). In total, over 5,000,000 words have been written at this desk as every word counts, published or not! (There are less draft words in the word count for projects as there are no drafts when filling a notebook a month.)
My desk is beautiful, but battle-scarred. After 18 years, the dark stain is fading along the front edge from my hands sliding on it as I type—I’m surprised I don’t have permanent stain near my wrists. There are more than a few scratches across the top, but the legs still look good even if a puppy might have chewed one.
I don’t mind any of that. When I sit down, I have a strong and stable base to support me and my accoutrements as I write. I don’t have to think about my desk while it does its job and I do mine. We’re partners—one I wouldn’t want to be without.