Showing posts with label office. Show all posts
Showing posts with label office. Show all posts

Thursday 16 August 2018

Time and Space...

After so many years of not being able to do much writing during the school summer holidays I'm having to retrain myself- now school and college days are over for my family.

My OH decided to do the redecorating in my office area this week- rather than next year- so I've taken advantage to move my chair position, add a second bookcase (it was on the upstairs landing) to replace an old half-size one that was bowing under the weight of stationery, filing and other useful bits and pieces.

This is my new walls.

My new wallpaper...

It does make my office area brighter and will make a good backing for the framed pictures that need to be replaced.

I just need new curtains or a blind to match...

Sunday 15 May 2016


Yes, I'm guilty of procrastination. I don't intend to, but somehow time passes and then it's too late to get started because everyone is home again and I need quiet to write.

I'm recovering from three busy months, and there's been lots of personal life stuff that has been taking up the remaining time too. So the second draft rewrite really has been the last thing on my mind.

But I'm determined to make the most of the free time available- yes, I know I've said that before!

Having to shift all my office around while the computer was being replaced didn't help. It's not quite back to how I need it, so I'm going to concentrate on finishing that. There's still a few things I want but can't access easily, so times wasted searching...

I'm fortunate that I have the end of the old dining room to house my office, but it still has to double as a temporary storage area for other things until we've shifted other room contents around- that's slow progress.

Hopefully by the time I'm finished there will be enough fodder for me to write a short article on procrastination for one of the annual trophies at the writers' club- it's for non-fiction, and this year's subject just happens to be procrastination.

So I am sort of working... :D

Right, I need to get started, it's the recycling collection day tomorrow.

Do you have any anti-procrastination tips that you can recommend?

image courtesy of Stuart Miles &

Sunday 10 August 2014

The Image Board Works!

That cork board for pinning images has been really worthwhile.

Since last weekend additional pictures have been added - bearing in mind the senses I know what cologne my hero wears and there's a picture of the bottle on the board now.

I also didn't have a title I was happy with when I  bought it, but three days later the new title jumped into my conscious, and a quick check on existing book titles on Amazon didn't show a book with that exact title. It also fitted the plot perfectly.

Sadly it will be a few months before I can reveal the new title, as my first three chapters and synopsis have gone off for submitting to the judge.

The first three chapters went through intense rewriting, and I needed to take bits of chapter 4 and make them part of chapter 3, which in turn created a better, but new, Chapter 3 ending. Then it was minor tinkering, changing a word here, a sentence there, or cutting a complete paragraph.

No doubt by the time I finish the complete first draft there will be more ideas I need to include early on, but I'm going to get on with it while my brain is co-operating.

I will certainly be carrying on using the image board with my other stories in future too, as they just made the connections between characters and ideas easier to include or discard.

Also I've realised that for me, writing a little and often soon builds up, and may actually work better for my sometimes hectic family life...

Working hard...

Image courtesy of supakitmod/

Sunday 3 August 2014

Using Image Boards...

As I have a number of stories in various stages of development and/or writing, I also have a lot of images in folders, and my mind.

A couple of days ago I got really fed up of having no room for the images for my Mary Street competition entry; at the end of every writing session they had to go back in the folder, and that cut the connection with the story and the characters. Plus there were numerous bits of paper slipping off my desk!

It's never been a problem with my historical based stories as I know the plots and the important images are set in my mind. But this competition entry is being created as I write, so I need the constant contact with the people I've imagined and the plot ideas in this story.

So yesterday I bought a large cork board-self-healing- and it has a surround with corner fittings so you can screw it into the wall (not that I'll be doing that with it). 

An image board-minus the images...
My images are now pinned and working on my brain,
and everything is starting to come together...

I was quite surprised how quickly I responded to having the images in one place, as every time I see the board my sub-conscious gets a jolt.

It also acts as a reminder I should be writing rather than chatting on Facebook!

Perhaps it will also help me sort out a suitable title.

I will definitely be using it for my other stories from
now on.

Do you use an image board, or do you just blu tack your pictures on the wall?

Thursday 15 August 2013


This time I'm talking about the real type Butterflies, not the tummy type...

My office window looks out onto the side of the house and over the years a buddleia bush has grown. Every spring it gets cut back, and each summer it grows huge and produces long purple flower spikes.

The last few summers there have been very few butterflies to use it, but this year WOW.

I've seen anything from 7-10 of them on the flowers at the same time- all bar one, are Peacock's.

Now it's also started to get a few bees feeding on the flowers too.

So I took a few pictures. Surprisingly I was able to get quite close up to them, but they were so intent on feeding that I think they weren't bothered I was there.

The one on the right kept folding it's wings up as it moved around, and it took a couple of attempts to get it with its wings open.

The second picture required some contortion, ducking under the branches to get in the right position...

Some of the flowers had two or three butterflies on them at a time. This one had had a third one, but it flew up onto one of the other flowers just as I got into position for the picture, so I only got two of them together...

It's been fascinating to look up and see them climbing around, folding their wings together against a rush of wind that has the flower spikes bobbing up and down as they hold on...

Hopefully the good summer will ensure we have plenty of butterflies next year.

Have you noticed an increase in butterflies where you live, or any colourful insects?

Tuesday 28 August 2012

One Man's Rubbish is a Writer's Goldmine...

Before my move into my office (okay it's only one end of the dining room, but it's as near an office as I can get) I had all my writing stuff split up in different areas.

Whenever I saw an interesting article which was relevant to one of my projects, or future projects, I'd cut it out of the magazine, or newspaper and put it to one side; or I'd keep the whole magazine.

Then whenever there was a mini tidy-up they'd get put in a bag or a box, because I didn't have anywhere to store them...

Over the weekend and the Bank Holiday Monday my OH was shifting the boxes and bags that had got shoved into corners, and was about to throw the lot into the recycling bin. I didn't quite scream 'STOP!!!!' but I retrieved the bits and pieces- including postcards, some old manuscripts, pictures and articles, and put them in another box- as another family member was at the computer and blocking access to my box files.

So I better get to filing all these pieces away before they disappear again...

Am I a hoarder? Probably.

Are you a neat and organised writer- desk clear and everything in its place?

Or like me, books and papers left on the desk, the odd lottery tickets waiting to be checked, and the odd five pence piece lurking- or whatever you leave lying about?

But at least my OH now knows not to assume that a bag of paper related items is rubbish...

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Just Catching Up...

I think this post really should be called Dust Catching Up!

Dust just gets in the most awkward places sometimes...

I'm just having a short break before it's back to the sorting, but I can report that the printer is finally in its new position- and I can start printing things again; I only need to swivel in my chair a little and I can reach out for the resulting paperwork.

If only I knew where my stapler had disappeared to...

It's surprising how many things get lost falling down the back of furniture. My OH pulled out a few relevant books on the 18th century that I'd forgotten I had; a quick dust and they're now relocated to my office shelves.

There are still a few pictures to put up but that will need my OH to do, as I can't fix anything up without it being lopsided- close up it looks straight but once it's fixed and I move away, it will have a definite slant that doesn't change however many times I try straightening the picture...

At the moment I'm trying to locate A5 size magazine/book files. (They come flat packed and you open them out and put in a few flaps, and hey prest you have a holder for booklets/magazines.
I can get the normal size but can't find the smaller ones. I have quite a few thin booklets from historic places, plus the magazine produced by our writers' club that I want to store.

So if you know of somewhere that sells them, please let me know. It may be they have a specific name and that's why I'm not finding them. So any information, I'd be grateful.

I have winning annual competition entries in the last two NWC Competition Specials (produced annually, early in the New Year) and these are A5 size too.

I keep a record of anything I've had printed since I've started writing again, either a photocopy or the printed publication. It's a good reminder if I ever get dispirited.

Well that's my rest time over, I better get back to the sorting...

Monday 6 August 2012

I Should be on Holiday...

But I'm not.

After getting most of my office organised- apart from a few bits and pieces that are elsewhere and currently inaccessible- OH and I are on a big sort and reorganise session.

Now I know lots of this should have been done years ago, but young children take up time and it's only now that they are old enough to help (after all a lot of the items downstairs are actually theirs in the first place) and tolerate the disruption that the reorganisation is underway.

Among my discoveries are postcards from various museums I've visited, interesting rooms set out for specific occasions or time periods- and I now have a box for all my postcards, with room for more.

Old pictures and articles with interesting images or information- just the sort of stuff to inspire any writer. (And yes I have boxes for them too.)

There's a lot of old paperwork from the late 90's that is now shredded paper and gone to be recycled at the tip- known nowadays as the recycling centre.

As I've been sorting items they've brought back memories, incidents and people long gone, but not really forgotten. And I'm sure they will pop up in my future writing somewhere...

The six weeks between the end of July and early September has usually been the time when I could recharge my creative batteries that are on low by July, and I usually do research while I'm getting back to full charge.

This year is different, I'm getting organised.

It's the start of a new future...

Monday 23 July 2012

In the Office...

I'm now relocated to my new office area at one end of the dining room.

There's still a lot of boxes to sort through, but my shelves are starting to fill up, and essential items are at hand.

Ever since we got broadband at home we've had a router (we're on our second one) and it's started to wear out, so at the end of last week I contacted our broadband supplier and moved to the latest device. Plus I asked if we could replace our old rental phone with a newer model, and yes we could do that too.

The new equipment arrived this morning, so I've got some reading to do before I start connecting anything.

Technology has moved on so much in the last five years and it will also improve the space available for the essentials.

I've still got a big box with books, manuscripts and stationery to empty and arrange on the shelves, so it's still a work in progress, but I can start working meanwhile.

I can now sit at the computer out of the way of the rest of the family, and sheltered from the everyday noise and movements through the house. And when the phone rings I'm there to answer.

And best of all I can't see the tv...

Friday 20 July 2012

Milestones and Technology...

I've had a busy week with technology issues, so there wasn't a blog post Wednesday/Thursday.
So now you're getting two posts in less than 24 hours.

My writing life has been very constrained for many years- because triplets take up a lot of energy and time, so every year I've made an effort to do a little more writing as ages and resulting demands of my family have changed.

Today lots of schools finished for the summer holidays; and for my three teenagers school has finished forever, and the grown up world of college beckons.

In some ways it will give me a little more free time to write.
So the office area is even more important now. And if the weather is dry this weekend I'll be sorting more boxes and finally filling the bookshelves.

Technology wise the old phone is being replaced with a newer all singing and dancing type- okay it can't sing and dance :-) but I won't need a separate answer machine to record messages. I've got to wait a few more days for its arrival, but at least I know it's due soon.

The old router has come to the end of it's life- I can't tell you how many times I've just typed out a comment on another writer's blog post and the connection has gone just as I click submit... So hopefully the new broadband device will arrive tomorrow.

And in future I'm going to check for driver updates for my computer regularly. I hadn't thought about it since the new computer arrived last year, so there's quite a few to do, and I'm still working my way through them...

So I'm starting another phase of my development as a writer- being an up-to-date and organised one.

Monday 16 July 2012

Writers Love Stationery...

I had a day trip to Yorkshire on Saturday and visited Elvington Air Museum, which is why there was no blog post at the weekend.

But back to normality now.

The office area is coming along slowly. The main problem is storage and disposal. Once I sort items out into keep or dispose, I have to arrange disposal so that pile has to hang around for a while. And the stuff I'm keeping has to be stored in boxes until other furniture is moved so I can get to the empty cupboards... I'm still not totally recovered from last year's accident, so shifting furniture solo is out at the moment.

But I have chosen a shelf for my numerous notebooks, those in use and those waiting to be opened and for their pristine pages to be finally written upon.

The notebooks in use are more numerous than those waiting- which is probably a good sign.

Now I know writers generally have an irresistible urge to buy stationery, but we each have our personal preferences.

I know a few people who love Moleskin notebooks, and although I've looked at them a number of times in Waterstones and John Lewis, I just can't see what's so enticing.

My personal preference for notebooks is a hardback with an attractive cover design and the round spring style spine.

And the paper has to be thick enough for my preferred choice of pen, as I tend to be heavy handed when writing, and if the paper is not thick enough, so that I can see the ink through the other side of the page, that really annoys me...

And my pickiness even extends to diaries.

Not only must I decide on the type- day-to-a-view or week- to-a-view, but does the diary have those extra pages of information, calendars and charts, and blank pages for notes in it?

Then it's cover colour preference- silver, black, red or navy?

My ideal diary would have (for each week) two pages for a week to a view, but then for that week also a page a day following it.

I need an overview of the week, but I also want a full page for each day so I can write in detail when needed, rather than a few key words and times.

So if there are any stationery companies who'd like to try it out, I'll volunteer. :-)

I think I'll be buying a page a day diary for 2013, even though it's thicker than a weekly view, as I'm going to start putting regular reminders in it about competition deadlines and events I want to attend.

I have a few appointment reminders for early next year already, so it will start being used as soon as I find one I like.

And I've seen a few notebooks I would like to add to my waiting box too...

Monday 9 July 2012

Brain Drain...

My brain has decided that it needs a rest.

I fit my writing in around the other demands of my life, so I have busy spells when I get very little writing done, and other times when my creativity is at full flow and hours at the keyboard go by.

Every writer finds what works for them, and my brain has decided that this week it's on go slow!

When I'm not writing then I find it easier to read, and I've finally settled down to a kindle book, 'Pets on Parade' by Malcolm Welshman, which has been sat on my computer for a couple of months. (This is his second book. I read the first one -now called 'Pets in a Pickle'- when it was first published some years ago, so I'm looking forward to revisiting some of the characters.)

If I'm in the creative spell then I'm either in writing mode or editing mode. This year these two elements have really started to become distinct. Likewise, I'm either in a short story spell, or happier with one of my longer length works.

Now I have to admit I do minor editing as I go along, as I re-read what I've written during the previous session and make minor changes to things that aren't quite right. This way I'm back in the story and ready to write the next stage of the plot.

As to editing, I really think it is something you learn best as you go along. Yes, you can read about it, but like writing you need to do it to improve.

I look in horror at all the things I missed in the editing process in my very early manuscripts...

And I still wonder why it is so easy to see the edits needed in someone else's manuscript, but still miss the odd item in my own work?

I know breaks away from the work in progress before edits are important, but I do find I need to have a long break to get a decent perspective.

I need to spend the rest of this year working toward consistency, and getting a little further along with one of my longer projects.

Now if I can just have some dry weather to get the office area box free... :-)

Monday 18 June 2012

Getting There...

Well I would be if only we had some dry weather...

The flooring in the office area is now down, and it does look very good- plus it will be easier to keep clean and hoover.

A couple more small prints are temporarily hung up on the wall- they're scenes of London places in the Georgian era.

But the sorting of all the boxes is taking time. Mainly because it's been raining so I can't take stuff outside and sift through. The local weather forcast is promising a couple of days of dry weather, so hopefully I can make some progress this week.

Even though I have managed to amalgamate the contents of a number of storage boxes, the heap just doesn't seem to be reducing...

I'd love to go to IKEA to stock up on some bits and pieces- and a new Billy bookcase for the corner- if they still do them- but my OH has an aversion to driving me there, probably because he knows he'll have to spend the next few hours putting something together as soon as we get back home.

I think storage is an issue for any home. In fact most homes never seem to have enough storage space built into them, which may explain why there's a lot of warehouse type places where you can rent units to store your possessions.

One thing I have had to decide on, is reducing the pile of fiction books that I keep.

So I can see that once I have my mini office in place there's still going to be a lot of sorting out left to do.

Monday 11 June 2012

Decorating the Office Area...

After the leaking pipework that caused big problems over the Jubilee weekend, my office area is now a step closer.

Although the proposed office area of the dining room is still full of loaded plastic boxes, I'm glad to say the surface of the concrete floor has dried out, and further inspection of the wooden skirting board has proved that the wood is dry, so apart from a small bit of wallpaper damage and the piece of soaked carpet, it shouldn't be too long before the move is underway.

As it was warm and generally sunny yesterday (Sunday) we put the boxes outside and I started sorting through them. Sat atop a box in a large carrier bag I found the bubble wrapped, framed, coloured coaching scene print that I'd bought for £3 in a local charity shop a couple of years ago.

It's actually a 20th C reprint, and the colours are more muted than the original, which you can see here. I would have photographed my framed copy but the room light would have shown up in the glass reflection...

When I'd originally shown the print to my husband, he hadn't been keen on it, so I'd left it wrapped up, and it was forgotten about. But as we'd been able to move the sideboard to it's final place there was now a big expanse of wall above it that just pleaded for this picture to be hung.

So my OH reluctantly drilled the holes for the screw fitting (already affixed to the back of the frame) and it is now on the wall; and when the rest of the room is finished I'll be adding some other small prints I have of London scenes.

I have to admit that there are a few more prints from this set I'd like, but I won't have the room. And as my OH is the one with the drill, a little pictorial restraint is required... :-)

Earlier in the week I bought some big purple box files for storing newspaper cuttings, pictures of people from the past and the present, old building images, museum info and so on. So more storage is being gathered ready for those items currently packed away.

I'm getting quite excited about my small office area, and being able to have the items I need close at hand. It will make life much tidier for everyone.

Have you found any literary or decorative gems in a charity shop?

Tuesday 5 June 2012

The Best Laid Plans...

First I have to say that the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations have been spectacular over the weekend and Bank Holiday Monday, and I've enjoyed watching them in between the unexpected disasters of the last few days...

The first couple of days was spent boxing up the stuff in the dining room area, so it was yesterday that we started to move the existing furniture, and that was when we found the problem- damp patches and mould at the bottom of the walls and on the carpet.

Now we have a downstairs bathroom and the tiled bathroom wall adjoins the dining room wall in the corner where I was intending to move into with my desk and computer.

It turns out we had a leak in the bathroom and as a consequence part of the concrete floor in the dining room is wet and needs to dry out before we can lay the new floor covering.

The walls have lost patches of wallpaper- they came away when I wiped the walls and skirting board with hot water and disinfectant ( fortunately the wallpaper is the type you can wipe over to remove marks).

So every dry and available surface is covered by boxes at the moment. And I'm still at my desk in the living room.

Fortunately the emergency plumber came out very quickly last night and did what he could-drained the hot water, so there was no hot water to wash with this morning.

And another plumber came back this morning to complete the work and finally sort our leak out. I'm glad it wasn't as bad as it first appeared to be.

Like any older house our pipework is in Imperial, while plumbing parts now are in Metric, so you can imagine how much difficulty that creates, the supplies on hand don't fit properly...

I'm glad to say the leak has been stopped, and very shortly there will be hot water available.

As to my move into the dining room area that's temporarily on hold while the corner of the floor dries out...

Friday 10 June 2011

Office Furniture Envy...

Today I had to go and buy a new chair to use at the computer.

Now it's not that I have suddenly gained an office to do my writing in- if only- no my swivel chair was falling apart and it had to be replaced.

Have you seen how much adjustable swivel chairs can cost? I'm not talking executive types either- I don't have room for those anyway. They cost!!!

I didn't need new, second hand would be fine and within my budget.

So off we went to the Office Equipment place, based in an early 20th century building that looked like it was once a large expensive car showroom with attached garage.
Within was a cave of delight for any writer.

Filing cabinets of assorted sizes and designs. Big desks, curved desks, desks with draws and shelves, and then the chairs: black, orange, brown and blue; the plastic sort you find in church halls and schools and the metal legged sort that wouldn't look out of place in a hospital waiting area. There were a few bucket chairs in black imitation leather and a reception sofa...

It was hard to concentrate on the chairs when my eyes kept lingering on the other equipment, but I forced myself.

I bought a used operator chair with adjustable height and back, and enough wheels to move the chair with ease and still swivel.

There's even room for my wide posterior to rest comfortably on the blue seat.

My dear hubby lifted it into the back of the car for me and drove us home.
Then it was a couple of hours before I actually got to sit at the computer in my 'new' chair as the males in the house got to it first...

In the meantime I will dream of the day when I can have my own office... :-)