Where I Write

Serena Bell tweets that she’s organized her office, her space where she writes. “Where I Write,” she posts, and then, Mary Ann Rivers answers with “Here’s mine.” Then another writer calls and responds. Here I am, we say. Here I have been, for hours, for days, for books, for the beginning of my first book, for as much as I can in the early morning, at night, while kids are at school. Here is my space. My space in time, my space in the world. It feels big, it feels too small, it’s temporary, I’ve been here for years. It’s messy, it’s spare, it’s me. Where I Write. Where. Here’s a space, here’s another. Most of them, most of these spaces — in our imagination.

Rebecca Grace Allen


Elisabeth Barrett

Serena Bell


Amber Belldene


Jenn Bennett


Karen Booth


Jackie Braun


Julia Broadbooks


Jaci Burton


Amanda Carlson


Isobel Carr



Ros Clarke


Shelley Ann Clark

Shelley Ann Clark


Christie Craig


Christine d’Abo


Jessica Day


Stephanie Doyle


Delphine Dryden


Cate Ellink


Mary Chris Escobar


Lily Everett


Helena Fairfax


Jodie Griffin


Alexandra Haughton


Nicole Helm


Amy Hendrickson


Kristan Higgins


Mindy Hung/Ruby Lang


Mira Lyn Kelly


Julia Kelly


Jeffe Kennedy


Ruthie Knox


A.J. Larrieu


Lauren Layne


Jessica Lemmon


Amber Lin


Cara McKenna/Meg Maguire


Megan Mulry

Megan Mulry

Megan Mulry

Megan Mulry

Megan Mulry


Monica Murphy


Audra North


Molly O’Keefe


Carly Phillips


Penny Reid


Lia Riley


Kit Rocha


Theresa Romain


Cherri Porter


Mary Ann Rivers


Jessica Scott


Kylie Scott


Isabel Sharpe


Charlene Teglia

Charlene Teglia



Penny Watson


Shiloh Walker


Lori Wilde


Lori Witt

We invite you to talk about your pictured space in the comments. We invite you to describe the your space if you’re not here today. (You can also view the original Twitter thread at Storify, here.) Biggest thanks to Marian Whitaker, intern (follow her on twitter @waityourintern), who collected these for us to post. If there are errata or corrections, let us know. Mainly, talk to us, tell us about your space, and your writing.

About Mary Ann Rivers

Mary Ann Rivers writes smart and emotional contemporary romance. Read more >
This entry was posted in Life & Wonk, Writing Wonkomance. Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Where I Write

  1. Amber Lin says:


    A few observations: Kit Rocha is a branding genius. Love Penny Watson’s Spongebob flea. Lots of dining room tables. And I am seriously jonesing for a big, comfy, lumpy, cozy armchair right about now.

    • Me, too. My chair forces me to get up and move every hour or so or I’ll cripple myself.

      I’m also jonesing for a USB port in my brain so I can lounge in bed and let the words just beep bloop beep into the ether. ;)

  2. Shelley Ann Clark says:

    Isn’t it interesting how much people’s writing spaces do or don’t look like what we pictured? Cara/Meg’s, Ruthie’s, Amber’s, and Megan Mulry’s all look like what I imagined from what I know on Twitter. And I’m excited to see other couch-writers and all the kitchen/dining tables, too.

  3. Ruthie Knox says:

    I love these pictures so much. I love peeking into these lives, and I love all the similarities — that these are cluttered spaces, imperfect, stolen spaces, carefully arranged spaces, ergonomic spaces, spaces with pets and kids’ toys and, Molly, is that a giant dog bone?

    These spaces where we make the words that form the stories, these people who we invent from scratch and invest so much time and love and thought in.

    It just makes me really happy to see all these.

    Oh, and I should say, about my space — note that the computer screen has twitter up on one side. On the other, a timed-out Netflix screen because that’s where Kidlet watches his movies. The rug has four million stains on it, because at my desk is where Kidlet eats most of his meals. I can’t even begin to tell you how hideous the red chair is, with all the dropped food stains.

    I write in the chair, exclusively. With the door locked so my kid can’t escape his babysitter and bother me. :-)

  4. So interesting how many people write in armchairs. My body just gets too stiff. Thus my treadmill desk. I also have way more clutter than most, I see. I’m a magpie, I confess.

    • Leah Raeder says:

      YAY! So glad to see someone rocking a treadmill desk. I set one up recently and adore it. Yours has a much lovelier view, though.

      So nice to not feel sleepy and sluggish after melting into my cushy desk chair all day. I’m much more alert and active throughout the day now.

  5. I love everyone’s photos so hard.

    I thought a long time about whether I wanted to share my photo because it’s not really a point of pride for me. Just a point of necessity. It’s stolen time in a moveable space. Sometimes I think I’m crazy to squeeze myself into the front seat of my car, cross legged, laptop balanced on my knees, but this is what I have to work with. Like Mary Ann says, “write anywhere.”

  6. A.J. Larrieu says:

    This is so much fun. I love Elisabeth Barrett’s mobile office, and all the gorgeous garret rooms. And the treadmill desks! I want one of those.

    Unfortunately, all I have is a tiny San Francisco condo, and the closest thing I have to a desk is a couch and a plastic lap desk. Above the couch is a map of California wine country, because in addition to coffee and chocolate, wine (*cough* and bourbon *cough*) is what gets me through a book. My other writing spot is the bus I take every day to and from my day job. Headphones and an antisocial glare get me forty-five minutes of writing time each way!

    • Shelley Ann Clark says:

      YES. I live in a tiny Chicago apartment and I’m messy. My couch is the only place to sit! Though I should have taken a picture of the interior of an El car, too, except that then someone probably would have punched me.

  7. Oh, this is magnificent. I’m such a voyeur. I loved these peeks!

    Karen Booth’s sewing machine/laptop setup is a miracle! My sewing machine table is always a giant mess. I’m so so so impressed. I’d probably forget what I was doing and use my laptop as a pin cushion at some point.

  8. Shelley Ann Clark says:

    Okay, so I have a lot to say about this. :-)

    I think the danger with a post like this is that people start to compare themselves to each other, and get insecure. As the poster girl for Keeping It Real* up there with the messy coffee table and the bra on the arm of her couch, I want to add that some people have gorgeous home offices with beautiful windows, some people write in their cars, some people write in their beds, and isn’t it awesome how all of us produce fantastic books? I’ve seen a few folks on twitter say that they didn’t want to share because they were embarrassed, or because other writers had nicer spaces, and to that I say– we are not competing. As women, we get so trapped in this mindset about our housekeeping and our homemaking, and it prevents us from ever being genuine with one another.

    So, if you’re looking at this post and feeling bad, please don’t. If you write on the backs of McDonald’s Big Mac wrappers in the backseat of your 20-year-old car, or on the fanciest Mac computer in your 20,000 square foot office while being massaged by a houseboy who looks like David Gandy– well, we’re all writing, aren’t we? And however we get it done, is the right way to do it.

    And I love you all. Even you. Yep. Over there.

    *Not actually on any posters, but if I were, they’d feature me how I look today, wearing the same pair of jeans I’ve worn for 3 days now with hair that birds are nesting in.

    • You are 100% of my sunshine today.

    • AJH says:

      You said everything I wanted to say in a much nicer way :) Well, except for the specifically gendered thing, which didn’t actually cross my mind.

      While I absolutely see the value of this post, and sharing spaces with each other – this idea that writing is just a thing that, well, ordinary people do wherever they can and however they like – I am in general troubled by ‘writer space’ type dialogues. Not by this one specifically, I hasten to add, but I often find they contribute to a mystification of writing, and writers, that troubles me. I think it’s partially because there’s a sort of like shrine-like quality to the homes & etc. of famous type writer people – like they always have this gorgeous little cubby hole filled with books and light (and they’re always really super srs books, never like The Warlock of Firetop Mountain), seeming to imply that writing stuff is somehow being dependent upon being the right sort of person, with access to the trappings of genius.

      I don’t actually have a space. It’s like of like the opening of I Capture the Castle – “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.” ;)

      • Mary Ann Rivers says:

        Shelley and Alexis–

        I think that yes, it’s important to acknowledge that a space of one’s own is such a privilege that if even the space is time, even if it’s “When I Write,” the comparisons at that level are being made inside a rarified bracket.

        A book is an enshrinement, too, and our interest in them, I think, is naturally extended to where and when and why they are made. I can’t help but think we are helpless to the mysticism of a book or where it came from, humans are story addicts and regardless of how and when and where we tell and receive stories, we do it. Helplessly. We tell stories to ourselves, even, when we sleep. Human spirituality is made of dreams and stories. It’s what defines us, possibly, more than anything else.

        So yes, we’re all authors. Of course. An author with a book is a human with an moment at a bigger fire to tell a story around, but the relationship between even a beloved author and the author’s audience still share power equally. I don’t think, if the audience wants to see where the book was made, the book that the audience gave life to, by reading it, the audience is disempowered by its interest or reverence or feelings of mysticism.

        Some of us, after all, see a space where a beloved writer has written a book that we love and we . . . *want.* It’s a point at which something powerful is lit and maintained as a ember. My background is unlikely for a reader or writer, but it was first the magic of books, and then it was seeing a teacher’s writing nook in her classroom — her small portable and coffee cup and woven seat cushion, and then it was a class trip to where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote, all those things, that made me believe that an author was a real thing. A real thing that *I* could be, despite all the other unlikely realities against my becoming a writer.

        It wasn’t magic, it was just a space. I could have one, too.

        I guess what I am saying is that we share so much in the ordinary magic of it, as readers and writers and storytellers, that I think the responsibility in keeping the gates as wide as possible, for everyone, is the responsibility of decent human behavior. Listen. Make others feel listened to. Don’t build false gates because you’re afraid or believe you must protect something that is available, after all, to all of us. Make sure the velvet ropes are there to keep our muddy shoes off the rug, not to keep all the pens and all the world locked away from our hands.

        I’ve written mainly in public spaces until recently. I’ll admit that one of the things that hurt, with my recent move, was moving away from the public library where I wrote the majority of what I have contracts for right now. I cried when I walked away from the carrel I always sat in. I took a picture of it. I made it a shrine somewhere inside of me. I did. Now I have something that looks a lot like that teacher’s writing nook, and I have a lot of pride in it, like I fulfilled some girlhood wish, or something.

        Capture the Castle is one of my favorites, and has one of my favorite opening lines. I think, actually, it could have been the title of this little wonkomance exhibit. Or something similar “I write this on the dashboard of my car while my son finishes soccer,” “I write this in a guest room bed, while my life irrevocably changes,” “I write this on my sofa, while I hope my child naps for ten more minutes.” If I could, I admit, I’d gild that kitchen sink, or guest bed, or sofa, as readily as I would my new nook, loop them with velvet ropes.

        I don’t know if that gliding, that impulse to gild, implies that writers must be the right kind of person, or that better writers have “better” spaces, or that a masterpiece is dependent upon good light or a pretty spaces. I *think* it just means that if someone is writing, and tells us and shows us that they are, we are interested, so interested, and want to *see,* want to look at it, if we can, even if the real space is imaginative and a fact of humanity. And yes, we can’t believe that a sofa corner is any less impressive than a studio, because it’s just the book making that’s the thing — in fact, the picture that moves me most is that dashboard space. To me, it says, *I want this,* and I want it above all things, including comfort or cubbies or light. It’s just the storymaking, that I’m after.

        This is all just to say, as ever, yes. There is no scarcity of human imagination, and a book is a relationship between an author and their imagination, and then between a reader and the book, and then, between ideas and the fact of the book. We all move around and engage in all of those relationships. If basic needs are met, very often what comes next is storymaking. It’s what we make of having shelter and food and sleep and each other. We make stories out of those things, and with that foundation underneath us. That’s the basic shape of all of these space, I think.

        And I did, I admit, make something of a shrine, but I hope I left off the velvet ropes.

  9. Because I’m in temporary quarters/ moving flux right now I don’t really feel dug in to my space. I do also have a desktop computer where I compose a lot of stuff, but when I’m really going strong I like the way the ipad keeps me off the internet. Also it’s a mini so it fits in my purse even with the keyboard. Perfect for spontaneous coffee shop work sessions (I always pick a seat where my back is to the wall, so nobody can see my smut).

    Also, Jodie: I have that same lap desk!

    I adore all these spaces, from the ones I envy (Serena’s window! Ros and Amy’s studio buildings!) to the ones I totally identify with (Mira Lyn’s post-its, and Molly’s dog bone on the kitchen table).

  10. Pingback: Jeffe Kennedy » Why Writers Need Other Writers

  11. Pingback: Friday Giveaway: New Covers Edition | Ruthie Knox

  12. Love this peek into everyone’s writing space. Neat to see others who write in a chair in a corner of whatever room. I’m halfway to an office in the basement, though I prefer upstairs by windows.

    And the chair I write in is one of those butt-ugly swivel rockers, but I can’t see letting it go. I mean, I’ve written five books in it! My lucky chair. :)

  13. Jaci Burton says:

    I think as long as you get the writing done, it doesn’t matter where you get it done, right? ;-)

    Jaci, who writes at the dining room table, in the back yard, in the car, in bed, on the couch, and sometimes at the kitchen counter.

  14. Kiersten says:

    Wow. I suddenly feel SO MUCH BETTER about sitting in my bed in my windowless bedroom with a lap desk and 2 cats most weekends breaking only to pee, refill the coke, and get more Golden Oreos – double stuffed, natch. ;)

    I love these spaces, especially all the light. I want a writing shack!

  15. Penny Reid says:

    Love these! I, also, should have taken a picture in my car. ;-)

  16. Too fun! Mine is hard on my eyes, but I love it. :)

  17. Lia Riley says:

    I love everything about this. Surprisingly no one has my dream set up: an island, with a moat, no drawbridge, hot pool boy and a hammock. My only envy comes from you folks with the ride or walk desks…lucky coordinated people.

  18. Pingback: Links: Saturday, October 5th | Love in the Margins

  19. Upon more leisurely perusal, I’ve decided my favorite is Megan Mulry’s montage of writing spots. My life is so uneventful!

  20. Lindsay says:

    I find this fascinating, honestly — thank you for the look into your lives! The personalities of all the spaces really shines through, and all of them are so warm and inviting.

    I’m also interested in the laptops vs desktops, and what really threw me for a second was that most only have one screen — I’m used to working with three at work, and two at home! I guess I forget how weird that is for a lot of people.

    My desk is also buried at the moment, so seeing these has inspired me to clean it off.

  21. I love this! After reading this post I immediately snapped a pic of my (messy) office and put it on Twitter :) It’s so much fun to see where people write.

  22. Laurie Evans says:

    Fascinating! I loved looking at these. I mostly use a desk, but I also write (type) at the kitchen table, on the couch, and in my bed. And once in a while at the library.

  23. Pingback: On to the Next Stage | Julia Kelly