Yesterday, I found a spot on my desk, where I can light a candle without burning down the house. I also, without fully knowing how, found a piano instrumental channel on Spotify, which fits nicely with the flickering light inside the small jar in the corner of my desk. This may or may not have had something to do with me finally finding out that the aesthetic I’m going for in my office actually has a name: hygge. Depending on which Danes (great or otherwise) one asks, it means “wellbeing,” or “to embrace,” or, possibly, “to think or consider.” In modern parlance, “cozy” might be the most accessible term.
For my purposes, we’re going to translate it as “comfortable.” Physically comfortable, yes, because when a writer is not physically comfortable, that’s going to be an obstacle to getting any sort of work done, but it’s more than that. I’ve always felt more grounded with things I love around me, so it makes sense that I would focus better when I carry that over to my writing space. Especially on a day like today:
I love snow. Snow is my favorite weather. Snow turns the entire world into a gorgeous, magical playground. I have not, as yet, attempted to get any serious writing done outside, in the snow, but, when I was but a wee little princess, I would stay out in that stuff for literally hours, making up adventures in my head, to the point where my mother would make me come in to have a hot drink and switch to my other snowsuit, because the first one would be soaked through. Snow invigorates me. To quote The Gilmore Girls, it’s my Catnip. My first novel-length fan fiction was set on an arctic planet, solely so that I could have all the snow I ever wanted.
Snow has always meant stories and adventures for me, so maybe that’s part of the current hygge-fication (is that a word?) of my work space. This morning, I rearranged the notebooks on the top of my desk’s hutch, until they felt more harmonious, like they were ready for what I wanted to bring to the metaphorical table. The books I use only occasionally are no longer the closest at hand, but still where I can get to them when I need them. The peacock cup, filled with a hodgepodge of pens I don’t really use all that often, has been demoted to the B team, and now resides on a bookcase, with the rest of my peacock themed collection. Their time will come.
Right now, I want to ground myself in what I am actually doing, what will welcome me to the desk every day. It’s a process, and I’m not going to discount the value of the time spent taking everything out of each cubbyhole, examining it, and putting back in only what has some sort of benefit. I’ve become pen-snobbier (sorry, ballpoints) and more highlighter-savvy (pastel highlighters ftw) and the way I use notebooks has evolved. Behind me, right now, is the blank cardboard binder I set up for Her Last First Kiss use, several months ago, then promptly misplaced.
The system I used to set it up at the time made sense, logically, but it was all theory, and no practice, mainly because I never connected with the way I’d arranged things. It’s probably somebody else’s perfect notebook, but for me? Ehhh, not so much. I’m more of a cannonball off the end of the pier and then splash around until I figure out which way shore is, then plan the best way there sort of gal. Deciding that, because there are four colors of notebook paper, there must then be four sections, of an equal number of pages is not going to work here. If my space doesn’t work, neither will I. It’s like trying to go through the whole day with a hole in a sock, or shoes that don’t fit.
For me, it comes down to the “embracing” part of the equation. This is my writing space. This is me, on a desk. Lots of paper, lots of pens, lots of tiny compartments with hidden treasures. Flickering light that harkens to an earlier time. Lots of layer, lots of detail. Something for all the senses to do. A place to tuck in and spend some serious time. The place I want to go when I want to go home. This is who I am. This is what I do. Welcome.