A History of One Writer’s Workspace

Back in the mid-1970’s, when I first started my writing career, my “office” was a small, blue Smith-Corona portable typewriter that sat at one end of my dining room table.  This was before anyone knew about home computers, but at least this typewriter was electric!  I used this typewriter and “office” through the years (79-83). I attended college as a returning student and earned a degree in English and worked on my writing.

I continued to submit manuscripts, and after my graduation from San Bernardino Valley College, I began to make more sales.  Soon, I upgraded to a wonderful IBM Selectric typewriter that had its on little typing stand.  I loved it!  I added a filing cabinet to hold my published articles and a rolling file to hold the “pending” ones.  All of this fit under a window in our family room.

However, the age of computers was slowly creeping up on me, and in the late 1980’s, I was dragged kicking and screaming to my first computer, a bulky Tandy/Radio Shack model that used actual “floppy” disks.  Of course, I had to get a computer desk to hold the various components, and all this along with the files, etc., took up most of a wall in the family room.

After much “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” I learned to use this equipment quite effectively, and enjoyed being able to type faster, move text around,  print out documents and save them to a disk.

By now our son had married and moved out of the house, and I finally had a room I could turn into my very own home office.  After a much-need thorough cleaning of the room, we painted and papered, and I added more filing cabinets, a nice assortment of fitted bookshelves/cubicles/drawers.  I moved the cumbersome Tandy computer and desk and the old faithful IBM Selectric into this room.  I was set to go.

By now I was making many more sales and was very happy in my new environment.  But technology was pushing at my back, and I soon realized everyone was using much smaller computers, and Microsoft Windows and the Internet were a must.  So I, in the late 1990’s, I purchased my first PC and set it up in my convenient office.  Once again, tears flowed as I struggled to learn the intricacies of the Internet, e-mail, AOL, Googling, etc., and I soon developed a love/hate relationship with my new computer.

I’m now using my third PC (it’s amazing how short the “shelf life” these expensive machines have!) and have moved up with the various AOL programs.  Most days find me sitting in the office I once longed for (and can’t imagine how I ever functioned at the corner of the dining room table!)  However, with all the paper generated by my computer printer, I’m afraid all this organizing hasn’t prevented me from falling victim to the “swamp syndrome,” that was mentioned in a previous blog post, no matter how much I promised myself to file every day! And we won’t even mention the small closet in the corner of my office, where published manuscripts, rejections, paid bills, IRS returns, and other miscellany go to rest—-not too neatly!

But among all this clutter and chaos, I manage to get manuscripts written, send them out, and continue to make sales.  And I feel blessed to have my own office, my own space.  And, I can close the door on it at night!

Contributed by Marjorie Flathers


5 responses to “A History of One Writer’s Workspace

  1. Marge, I’m confident you could crank out all those wonderful stories no matter where you had to do it!


  2. Thanks, Gloria! What a day-brightener!!


  3. What a great article, Marge. It really takes me back to those old days.


  4. Thanks, Marilyn. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and I appreciate your kind words. Those WERE the “good old days,” in many ways, weren’t they? 😉

  5. Shirley Shibley

    I go back even farther than that, Marge, to a manual typewriter and before that, even good old pen and pencil! I must say I’m happy using my computer.


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