A Place of My Own

I need a "happy place" for writing.

abstract watercolor illustration of a cozy corner of a room with an overstuffed reading chair and bookshelves
Image created via Midjourney

Yesterday, I saw a post from a guy sharing his "happy place" in his home. It was the definition of a man cave, with a punching bag, a cozy chair, and a tv. At the end of the post, he asked, "What's your happy place at home?"

The question made me pause longer than I expected. Because I don't have a happy place at home – a spot for "just me" – and haven't for a long time.

When we first bought this home ten years ago, my desk was in the living room. The room is long and narrow and it seemed to be an efficient use of space. But that meant no privacy for me. Even though the kids were gone during the day (day care, then school), I never had a door or a way to shut myself away from the busyness of the house.

In 2019, we added an addition to our house with the intent of giving me an office. But the final version ended up with a room that was much smaller than planned, due to some electrical issues. I moved in, with my large desk and a daybed we use when guests visit, and it was cramped. It was a place to work, but not a place to be cozy.

Eventually, I traded places with our youngest child, my rainbow baby. The room made more sense for her due to its location in the house... but her former bedroom wasn't much better as an office for me, being roughly the same size.

So I moved into our sunroom. I claimed a much larger space, but gave up privacy again. I have no real door. The kids traipse through the room on their way to the backyard. It's also a three-season room, not a four season room. Hot in the summer and I need a space heater in the winter.

As I write this, I'm sitting on my bed with my laptop. It's Sunday morning, so the kids are home. If I were in my sunroom office, I'd hear the noise from the tv in the living room. But it's hard to write on the tiny screen of my laptop, while sitting cross-legged in bed. Sundays are my time to myself, but the environment keeps me from being as productive as I'd like.

Perhaps I didn't mind the lack of a dedicated office as much when the kids were little. I was so busy with work and parenting. But now, as they've gotten older and I focus on my writing more, I know I need silence. I've done a few weekend retreats where I check into a hotel for 24 hours for some uninterrupted writing time. I love those days.

We had plans to build a backyard office (a tiny home) back in 2022. It was going to be a little writing studio for me. But then the contractor stole our money and tried to disappear. We reported the crime to the local sheriff's office and finally got our money back a year later, but the experience soured the entire idea of building a backyard office. Plus, the further we got into the details, the less appealing it became (like needing to walk through snow to come into the house to use the bathroom in the winter).

We're on the precipice of another major construction project. The sunroom is two stories high and will be split into an upper and lower level. The upper portion will become my office. A space just for me. With a door.

I can't wait, but it will be quite the production to get this done. Months of really invasive work, noise, and dust. I'll have to work somewhere else in the house while construction is going on and haven't quite figured out where yet. I'm sure I'll be irritated and unproductive most of the time.

But it's like a light at the end of a long, long tunnel. I've already planned out how I'm going to arrange my furniture: my desk and bookshelves. Maybe a cozy chair. I can't wait to have a dedicated office. That doesn't feel cramped. And has a door. And will allow me to shut myself away and get the quiet time I need.

I painted the office that we had intended to be the nursery.
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