Why is a raven like a writing desk?


            Poe wrote on them.




            Today we’re talking about writing desks, and possibly ravens too, though they tend to shit everywhere and I’m not the poop-cleaning type.


            The most important place in a writer’s life is their desk. The desk could be an actual, professional looking bit of furniture stuck in the corner. A couch cushion. A bed. No matter the place, there are a few standards that cannot be overlooked when picking out the prison in which you will spend the foreseeable future, churning out stories, screenplays, and your secret collections of monster porn.


            We’ll start from the ground up.


            You’ll want carpet, or grass, preferably something with a high to medium pile to catch the crumbs and sticky things that dribble from your mouth as you snack and type. I like jolly-ranchers; rubbing your bare feet over candy shards will do more for your perk-up than a mug of coffee. You could use broken glass, but I find visits to the emergency room detrimental to the creative process.  


            Next, the chair.


            Comfort is not an important factor. In fact, you should purchase a chair without ever having sat on it to avoid becoming too-familiar with it. The back should be high and wide enough for your cat to claw across during your most restricting deadlines. (And if you haven’t got a cat, shame on you. SHAME.) Sit forward on the edge of the seat and hunch as low as you can without actually resting your face on the desk. Back pain is crucial for angsty literary pursuits. Ideally, the chair will be either a touch too short or too tall with a wobbly right leg, but under no circumstances should you enjoy the wobble. Place your toe beneath the wobbly leg to discourage enthusiastic rocking.   


            Ah, the desk top.


            The place where magic happens.


            Where pleasure meets pain as you slap your forehead against the keyboard until blood oozes between the keys.


            You’ll want your computer or notebook or typewriter, obviously. But the tool for writing isn’t nearly as important as the items surrounding it. Ambiance is half the battle.


            To prepare the proper writing desk you’ll need:


Half empty water bottles at the corners and on at least two shelves. These ward off demons as well as combat the caffeine hangover.


Dozens of pens. It is imperative that only half of them work.


Coffee and wine over the surface like a Picasso painting


Inspirational talismans. Mine happen to be a paper bookmark of the Twelfth Doctor and a miniature flask.


A pyramid of crumpled paper. Any less than a foot high and you might as well give up writing forever.


Bottles of vitamins you have every intention of taking and, in fact, placed them on your desk so you would remember but ignore to spite the human condition.


A thrice-cracked dictionary so out of date Shakespeare wouldn’t touch it.


And over the top of all of that, a thick layer of dust—at least a year old—to give the area a sense of authenticity.


For good luck, prepare a drawer of useless items—safety pins, an empty roll of scotch tape, and out of date appointment cards—and convince yourself that they will one day provide the answer to a scathing plot question. A shrine dedicated to a particular writer is acceptable, but only if the writer is dead. Otherwise, people will be wont to throw around words like obsessed and insane and stop making out with that photograph of the Cohen brothers.


Finally, ensure that you will not be disturbed by assuming a Grinch-like grimace and avoiding personal hygiene for at least four days out of the week. If you’re feeling especially enthusiastic, grow your toenails and use them to scratch at the wall every time a distraction appears at your door.


Now that you’re properly prepared (thanks may be given in the form of donations of cash and chocolate), go forth and write. Litter the world with your inane, coffee—stained scribblings. We are waiting.   



Katrina Monroe and the Dark Side of Fiction

Ravens and Writing

Katrina Monroe is an author, mother, and professional haterologist. Her favorite things to hate include socks that fall down, grape-flavored anything, and the color 'salmon.' Grab her books here.

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