• Shea Simmons

Nanowrimo Update & A Freelance Writer's Desk Tour

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

Hello, everyone. I am losing Nanowrimo. By losing Nanowrimo, I mean that I am epically failing at finishing a novel in a month. However, I committed to this writing journey, and I'm going to finish it out, damn it. Let's catch you up on why exactly my Nanowrimo goals haven't panned out the way I'd like, but also give you a bit of something fun: a freelance writer's desk tour.

Let's get honest. My job is unstable right now. If you didn't already know, my primary job is working as a part-time fashion and beauty writer at Bustle. I've been with the publication for nearly 5 years, and I've honestly loved it (I mean, hello, I've been there for 5 years), but Bustle is undergoing a bit of a change and will be relaunching in 2020 under new leadership. This seems exciting, and I'm sure it will be. However, it also means that there have been layoffs. Yes, layoffs of people I worked with directly. To say this has been both stressful and sad would be an understatement. Yes, I am luckily still with Bustle, but the ordeal has affected my ability to write.

I'll argue until my dying breath that it's okay to take a break from your novel. Whether it's for mental health (hello, it's me), refilling your creative well, or just because you're sick of your book and need a moment, it's okay to step away. I'm trying to remember this for myself and take my own advice, but at the same time, I want to be sure that I stay focused on my goals. It's a delicate balance, and I'm still working to perfect it.

Now, let's move on to happier things. As you know, or as you know now, I'm a freelance writer and editor in my daily life. For me, this means that I need a dedicated space to work or I'll wind up permanently attached to my couch or bed (or well, more attached than I already am). Thankfully, I've got some incredible people in my life who are both generous with their time and talents which means I've got the greatest freelance writer's desk. My mother is a furniture repurposing pro and has great taste. My dad? He's super handy and talented and just so happens to be capable of building my perfect bookshelf. The result is a mix of my style and my parents' generous talents.

Let's take a look at my writer's desk, shall we?

The first thing I need to explain is that my desk isn't just for writing. I also routinely get ready for the day here, too. While you'll see my computer, pens, notepad, and notebooks out, you can also see that my bookshelf is full of makeup and skincare. Who doesn't want to have the two things they love most in one? One last thing, yes that is a Niffler Funko Pop on my Alexa, and yes, that is a unicorn-shaped lamp from the kids' section at Target.

First up, is the far corner of my desk. Here, I keep my most used eyeshadow palettes, my myriad of notebooks, file folders with important documents (oof freelance taxes, man), my current candle (Nature Walk by Bath & Body Works), my cat-themed water cup that I got at Kroger for $4, and my bullet journal. Everything is easily reachable, and that's why I love having the space of this repurposed desk all to myself. My bullet journal is never far away from me, and it basically lives here, in this position, open so I can see my to-do list and events, immediately.

Next is well, my computer. There's not much to see here, but my computer sits right beneath the hutch that my dad also built. In fact, he even installed that electrical outlet you can see behind the laptop. My mousepad looks like pink marble, and I bought it on Amazon for all of $6. As for my computer's wallpaper, it's just a, um, gentle reminder.

My favorite part of my desk, however, are the books. I believe it was Roshani Chokshi who originally gave writers the advice to keep inspirational books where they write. For me, it's the women I call my OG three. Holly Black, Libba Bray, and Cassandra Clare are the reasons I write YA. I began all three of these novels, Tithe, A Great and Terrible Beauty, and City of Bones in high school. They bring me so many good memories of what it's like to devour a book and feel inspired by one. Of course, because it's November, I had to add a little fall flair, and that's where the pumpkin comes in.

Now, let's move to my bookshelf, which is more of a makeup and skincare shelf (I promise there are more than enough books in my house, though). On the shelf that's level with my desk, I keep my daily, morning skincare. In the photo you'll see the CosRX Snail Mucin Essence, Farmacy Beauty Very Cherry Bright Serum, Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum, Drunk Elephant Protini Moisturizer, Drunk Elephant Marula Oil, Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer SPF (always wear SPF, kids). That obviously seems like a lot of skincare, and that's mostly because it is, but hey, it's my job to test out products. Behind them, you'll see my three containers of (dirty) makeup brushes. Yes, I chose to leave them blurry because they're filthy, and I'm ashamed.

Finally, there's my top shelf and makeup shelf. Like I said, I've got tons of bookshelves filled with books, and I kind of just wanted something fun and pretty for my office. That's where my top shelf comes in. There's a faux succulent (because cats), a mini Aromatherapy candle, an essential oil diffuser, and a sign my mom found for me at Michael's. Below it, I have my acrylic organizers of makeup. This isn't all of the makeup I have (not even close), but they are the products I reach for most often.

There it is. There you have it. A writer's desk in action.

How's your Nano going? Do you have a special place you like to work? What do you always need by your side when you're working?

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