Weekly Journal

What Does Your Writing Desk Say About You?

Kaila Krayewski

Kaye Chang

13th June 2018

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” quotes Laurence J. Peter, a Canadian educator and “hierarchiologist” best known for formulating the Peter principle in one of his quotes.

The content castle

Busting the Myth About a Writer’s Desk

Most aspiring writers believe that to get started on writing a new book, you need an escapade from the bustle to settle in calm serenity to hone your solitary pursuits. Perhaps an own room in a private villa could work great, and if not, a shared room in an apartment closer to the beach with scenic views of the sea and lush greenery around can inspire to pen down the most creative draft. This is rather untrue in most cases.

It’s easier to imagine that all famous authors have a room of their own, surrounded by idyllic nature’s bounty to inspire them to write. A ‘room of one’s own’ is but a far-fetched luxurious dream for most writers and authors. They are not paid high enough to own a magnificent villa next to the beach. Getting started requires them to settle for sneaky corners of the kitchen, a garage, a cafe or a doorway of the shed to pen down vivid thoughts and imaginations. The luxury of a private writing desk is, perhaps, all they own long enough in their journey.

A writing desk is a self-explanatory narrative of an author’s journey seeking comfort in a shabby chair during harsh lonely winters, sultry summers, and rainy days, deliberating on tons of ideas and reasoning it all out in the head. It speaks of the remains left behind—the secrets shredded during vets and edits, before the final copy transpires to make its way to the publishing manager.

Lounge area at the content castle koh samui

The Writing Desk: Up Close and Personal

Believe it or not, each writing desk has a story to tell about the writer. With coffee mugs never finding its way to the dishwasher or kitchen sink, too many crumbled first drafts of paper overflowing the trash cans, and complete lack of organisational abilities speaks of the rumble-jumble in a writer’s mind.

It can be quite intriguing to understand how a writer’s desk subconsciously portrays a side of the author which is not quite visible on the surface. There are some writers who practice the concept of chaos and madness with stickies on the walls, accumulated notebooks and reference books, while there are others who believe an organised, clean work desks boost clarity, efficiency and productivity.

There is also a third group of writers seldom talked about, who tread the in-betweens— muddling through the clutter and explosive creative disarray, to sometimes clean desks. Most writers would like to conveniently justify chaos by reasoning the need to find writing essentials at arms-length.

Herein, we present some interesting observations about the writer’s desk and their creative corners:

Lounge area at the content castle koh samui

Well-Organised Desks

Growing up, I have always been someone who likes things in order. Spic-and-span spaces with neatly organised desks inspires me to work. It helps seek clarity and focus on the priorities on hand. Personally, it helps find a balance between Zen and chaos.

Writers with neatly organised desks are more commonly referred to as ‘Pansters.’ Pansters are those who just sit down and write. They let their imaginations take over with first drafts guiding them towards the end. Later going back to revisions, tweaking phrases all the way, waiting for some divine intervention to guide them along.

Writers with neat and tidy desks are poised planners who like to follow routines. They are hard working, sincere, committed, reliable, and achievement oriented, conscientious people. They are curious to know exactly what they’re going to achieve each day and like to prioritise tasks to draw work-life balance.

“Moderation” and “balanced” form of writing is exuded in their approaches to subjects. They hold a subtle charm by not attacking sentiments of people and coming across as extremists. They would rather demarcate lines of control, by allowing room for accommodation of world views, opinion,s and cultural perspectives.

Lounge area at the content castle koh samui

Messy Desks of the Plotter

Unlike a panster, the writing desk of a plotter looks cluttered, disorganised and yes, colourful. These writers seek inspiration within chaotic and disruptive environments. They like to be in sync with the latest trends and today’s social media content-consumption patterns intrigues their interest. They like to stir conversations around subjects of public interest with a reader-friendly tone.

The plotter is an excitement seeker, who gets easily bored talking about subjects. These writers are extroverts by nature. They have very little time to tidy up their desks after sorting out the knick knacks in their everyday life.

Lounge area at the content castle koh samui

Desks of the Introvert Writer

Unlike extrovert writers, introverts draw their energy from solitary pursuits and you can see a fortress built around their desks with papers neatly piled up, books stacked vertically high and hardwares such as headphones within reach to seek refuge in solitude.

Most times, introverted writers are viewed as someone lacking agreeability on compassion, sympathy, and helpfulness. Their desks, and at times, their cubicles are in shades of grey and pastel colour schemes—the colours that go along well with introvertedness.

Then, there are also writers who add no personal touch to their writing desks, how do we define them? They will have a wide range of books and communication materials on their desks for public display to showcase curiosity, sharp thinking, and openness. Their writing desks might also look distinctively stylish and unique with vivid colours to showcase artistic bent of mind. However, in reality these writers are more concrete, they lack imagination and are of traditional nature.


The Conscientious Ambivert Writer

A desk which is not all neat and tidy, neither messy, but spatially inviting and open with a moderate levels of personalisation to include—single stack of books, personal coffee mugs, and notepads—essential tools within reach are signs of a conscientiou,s ambivert writer.

These writers generally own experimentative writing styles and inclusive abilities to invite new world perspectives. They are picky, choosy of the social networks in which they mingle and prefer going around within business circles. Journalists, reporter,s and writers working for business publications mostly belong to the conscientious ambivert personality types.

Take a look at your writing desk now, observe everything that’s placed on the table, and let us know if we got any closer to identify your ‘behind the pen’ persona.

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