What is an office? Is it a physical place or a location in one’s mind?
I have an official office in my home and—surprise!—I often write in it. It’s a confined space and keeps me focused. I post things on the walls above my computer that help keep me in the story—maps or notes. It looks a bit chaotic, but it’s not. I know where everything is.
I also have a kitchen office where I do most of the “business” side of my career. Emails, text messages, research, mailings, etc. I have lists upon lists of to-do chores. I’m not going to share that photo with you. It’s just too messy to behold! Here’s a peek at my book covers, though:
I have an office “outside” in my backyard. I visit when I need to drink in fresh air, admire nature, and listen to my inner thoughts. Occasionally I type!
Roses are in bloom right now. I adore roses! When we lived in Charlotte, NC (we moved a lot for my husband’s career and finally resettled in Los Angeles, where we first met), I had dozens of roses. They took so much tending that I wasn’t able to write as much. Nowadays just a few bushes seems to satisfy my hunger for tending and tweaking.
There are times when I have an “unofficial” office at Starbuck’s. I go there after I drop my adorable goldendoole Sparky at the groomer’s because the traffic is so clogged (so early in the morning) that I take an hour to simply write while the rest of the world moves past me.
I get some great ideas for characters at Starbuck’s. I also eavesdrop on conversations sometimes, just to hear rhythms of dialogue. I like a decaf café latte. One sugar. I usually bring something sweet that I’ve baked so it’s a real treat time! [I’m a “foodie” mystery writer; I have to bake!]
Sparky likes to join me in the official office, so he has his “office” pillow and camps out there. He knows the exact moment I’m heading there—when I pour a cup of coffee and grab my computer and a treat for him. Off he runs. So cute! So smart!
Right outside the office is a little nook filled with pretty flowers. When we bought our house in Los Angeles, there was one ugly palm tree in the nook. Yuk! It took a while, but we were able to create a truly meditative little space. I love to open the door and listen to the birds chirping and the wind chimes tinkling.
What I find difficult when I enter the office is all the other stuff that I have to “do.”
Yes, I’m supposed to write, but oftentimes I’m preparing for a release and I have release party gifts on my couch. I donate baskets to a few charities, too, so I have those baskets “in progress.” Plus I do regular giveaways on my Facebook Author page and on Mystery Lovers Kitchen, where I blog with other foodie-loving mystery authors. Argh.
Looking at the pile of goodies is enough to keep me from ever feeling creative, but PR happens to be part and parcel of selling books. So I remind myself to breathe.
What truly centers me when I enter the official office are all the photos of family on the walls. Everyone in my family has been so supportive of my career. I don’t know what I would do without them. I’m very blessed.
Savor the mystery!
About the Author: Daryl Wood Gerber
Agatha Award-winning and nationally bestselling author DARYL WOOD GERBER ventures into the world of suspense again with her second stand-alone novel, DAY OF SECRETS. Daryl writes the bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries and will soon debut the new French Bistro Mysteries. As Avery Aames, she pens the bestselling Cheese Shop Mysteries.
Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to read and cook, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!