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Taking Note of my Surroundings

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

Photo of a woman writing in a notepad on a table beside a cup of coffee and two journals. Title: On Writing. Subtitle: If only my table were this clean. @KirstenWeiss

It’s winter in Colorado, though it’s only November. But winter starts earlier in the mountains. Aside from an outbreak of flannel shirts, the chill means my writing space has moved out of my half-basement office and upstairs, to my sunnier (and warmer) dining room.

My dining area is a dangerous place. The kitchen is right around the corner. It lures me with tea breaks, cookies friends sent from Italy (the bastards), and other things I could be doing aside from writing.

Like emptying the dishwasher.

Outside the high windows are pines, and birds in pines—magpies, mostly. Though on one memorable occasion I spotted a horned owl staring back at me through amber eyes. Sunlight glides across the mountains over the course of the day, turning them first to jagged, glowing embers, then to rich brown, then purple, then midnight black.

It's a better view than that of my dining table, an unnatural disaster of books and boxes, pens and papers, labels and lotions. (Colorado in the winter is Mojave Desert dry. Despite all that moisturizer, my hands still look like they belong to something ancient and undead.)

I really need to get this table organized.

Distractions are a perennial pitfall in the writer’s life. Recently I realized—oh, excuse me, I have to take this empty glass to the sink…

…realized that my penchant for falling prey to distractions amps up in the afternoons. I now leverage this by doing lots of short tasks at that time, like checking my Facebook ads or writing a blog. The task switching keeps me working more and finding excuses to leave my chair less.

Did I say my chair? It’s actually a yoga ball. I’m trying to build my core muscles. Not sure if it’s working, but the ball is surprisingly comfortable. I have embarrassed myself, however, on the occasional Zoom call. I forget I’m on a ball and bounce around the screen.

I’ve since learned to switch out the ball for an actual, solid, wood dining table chair for important calls, like podcast interviews.

Speaking of which, you can catch my latest interview with Marcella and Macabee on Beyond the Pen. In it you can see a teeny bit of my workspace, or at least the painting behind me.

And now to tidy up this table…

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