“A woman must have… a room of her own if she is to write.” – Virginia Woolf
I never needed a room of my own to write, but I longed for one anyway.
As a girl when I shared a room with my younger brother I found a way to write my really bad poetry in spite of all the chaos that little brothers can bring. (I love you, C.J.!)
But when I finally got a room of my own at age 12, I felt like a queen reigning over her queendom. My bad poetry got a bit better and I started writing short stories, too.
Fast forward to adulthood and at age 25 I found myself sharing my room again — this time with my husband. I continued to write nonetheless. No longer much of a poet or fiction writer, I was busy writing articles for newspapers and magazines, blog posts for websites, and personal essays for myself.
I could and would write anywhere — at our dining room table, on our sofa, in our bed. But that famous quote from Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own stayed in my head and I kept dreaming of a home office.
Last year, when my husband and I became first-time homeowners and traded in our two-bedroom apartment for a three-bedroom house, my dream came true.
I love my whole house from its high ceilings to its hardwood floors, but my office is the apple of my eye. And the reactions my girlfriends give when they see it for the first time cause me to swell with joy.
“Oh my gosh! Hashtag goals!” one person said.
“This is a YouTube office!” exclaimed another friend.
“Your office is like a Pinterest board come to life,” declared someone else.
But I’m not writing this post just to brag about how dope my office is. I want to offer a few tips to help you create an inspiring workspace of your own.
You don’t create an office that looks like a Pinterest board come to life without using Pinterest! Like most 21st century women, when my husband and I started house hunting I started to build Pinterest boards with home decor ideas and, of course, there was a special board for my office. Perusing Pinterest for ideas led me to the Ashley Furniture website where I found an office with an all-white theme and I fell in love. I knew I wanted white walls (they were purple when we moved in), a white desk, a white chair and a white file cabinet. This theme would be the cornerstone pieces to my little corner office.
I can write under any conditions, even if my desk is so cluttered I can barely see it. But, obviously, this is not ideal. So when decorating my office I was sure to add things that would help me stay organized. Along with the file cabinet, I bought a couple bins for magazines and random junk, a bookcase for my favorite books, and a tray for bills and other mail. I also try to tidy up my desk every night before bed, keeping my many notebooks and planners in neat stacks and my pens in a my “I Woke Up Like This” mug.
While Pinterest is a great place to start, I believe to create a workspace that truly inspires you, you must turn inward and figure out what truly inspires you!
Nothing and no one inspires me as much as the women I admire and the women in my life, and this is clear the moment you step into my office. You’ll find a wall featuring pieces by Birmingham-based artist Veronique Vanblaere (a.k.a. Vero) from Naked Art Gallery. On that same wall you’ll find quotes like “She believed she could, so she did” and “Little girls with dream become women with vision” (which I purchased at Home Goods). I also have a framed page of Maya Angelou stamps and a framed woman-centered collage that a good friend made for me years ago.
Fill your workspace with beautiful things like art or flowers.
Also, despite my all-white theme, I did want some pops of color in the room like my hot pink chair (also from Home Goods).
I highly recommend filling your office with beautiful things, but you also need to fill it with things that will motivate you to get to work. I did this in a number of ways. On the walls you’ll find my degrees from UC Berkeley and the University of Alabama.
You’ll find awards I’ve won such as the Smart Award from the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham and my Top 40 Under 40 recognition for the Birmingham Business Journal.
My “Like a Boss” board (purchased at Home Goods) keeps me hustling hard and my vision board and a picture from a See Jane Write event remind me why I’m hustling in the first place.
What items in your workspace keep you inspired?