I have an office. A room of my very own, such as it is. Here’s the story. We bought an 1895 modified Queen Anne house and it had this small room in front on the second floor that was not original. In fact, it was some horrible Franken-room where previous owners (probably in the late 80s) had thrown up a wall in the middle of the room so they could create a monster-huge, L-shaped closet.
I hated the room. It was small, the wall was angled in the corner that made it even more cramped, and the wallpaper—tiny blue diamonds—irritated me. When we moved in, it became the room where stuff went to die.
Until I started writing. Suddenly, just as Virgina Woolf predicted, I needed a room of my own. And the only room we had in the house that wasn’t dedicated to something else was the horrible room.
Never one to surrender to tacky wallpaper, I stuck an old table in there and set up shop. Despite the poor ventilation (since the windows were now in the walk-in closet) and overall shabbiness, I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. For two years, I labored in the room of ugly.
The time did not pass unnoticed by me. I mentioned to my husband on several occasions how ugly the room was, how generally useless it was, and—this is the kicker—how the room was probably killing any future resale value of our home. These pleas mostly fell on deaf ears, though. That’s what happens when you marry an accountant. Writing wasn’t bringing any money in, so why should money go out for something as non-vital as wall color?
Then something amazing happened. I got signed by an agent. Then I sold a book. Suddenly, my wonderful husband was not only listening to arguments about resale value and aesthetic quality, but he was making them. We called the contractor and got things moving.
We tore out the slapped-in, cornered wall and ran a new one all the way back. The monster-huge closet on the other side got smaller, but we made better use of the space and wound up with more room to hang things.
Then I made my office pretty.
Soft pinky-orangy walls, a small brown border at the top to go with the brown curtains, and bookshelves—lots and lots of shelves and cabinets. My desk is covered in good-luck charms and knick-knacks that I pick up on trips, things that remind me of fun times and remind me to keep looking forward. I keep a piece of paper under the glass to remind me to think positively—I look good, I feel good, I’m having a good day, and of course, I’m a New York Times Bestseller. A girl’s got to have goals, after all. Please note the coaster—Blank Page, I Shall Thwart Thee! These are all good things to remember.
Sure, if we ever do anything crazy like move, having a room big enough to put a bed in will help, but this is my office—where the magic happens! My son has a desk in here, but he knows that Mommy’s office is a place of quiet working—in other words, the Harry Potter Lego Battles have to happen elsewhere in the house. (Although I do step on toys every so often anyway. But that’s parenting!)
Have you ever suffered through an ugly room in your house? Or are you still suffering through it? Leave a comment telling me and I’ll randomly choose one name to win an autographed copy of A Man of Distinction. Plus—bonus—I’m giving away a handcrafted (by me!) book necklaces from everyone who commented throughout the week! Check the Authorial Moms blog September 11th to see if you were the winner! For another chance to win, sign up for my newsletter here.
When not helping out at school or walking her rescue dogs, Sarah spends her days having conversations with imaginary cowboys and American Indians, all of which is surprisingly well-tolerated by her wonderful husband and son.
This post is brought to you as part of the A Man of Distinction Blog Tour. For a complete tour schedule and rules, visit www.sarahmanderson.com. Comments on this blog will be entered to win a signed copy of A Man of Distinction. All comments will be added to the weekly book jewelry prize drawing.