As both a practising poet and (aspiring) minimalist, my workspace, that is, my desk, has been through a few changes up to this point, which finds me sat with a healthy dose of purpose and strong black coffee at 6am at said desk, happily typing away; comfortable in the knowledge that I have if not the perfect workspace, one close to it.
One thing that Minimalism has taught me (and countless others around the world), is that in the end, size doesn’t really matter; it’s how you use it. Don’t worry; we’re still talking about desks. My desk is tiny, but that’s fine, because it’s big enough; and if it wasn’t this small it might not fit so well in front of this Regency-tall sash window that looks out onto the busy Bath Road of Cheltenham. Which brings me to my next point…
Sitting here, my laptop a comfortable distance from my face, and the window mere centimetres behind my laptop, I’ve learnt that workspace location can mean the difference between, well, in my case, staring at a blank wall and having a valuable view out onto the developing stage of morning – populated by people, cars, birds, the weather and life. That, essentially, is what I need to be looking at every morning not only for peace and clarity of mind, but also for ideas.
Objects, things, clutter, call it what you like: every desk has stuff of some sort; otherwise you’d be sat twiddling your thumbs (which is fine, as long as you have something to hand for when inspiration hits). I have things both on and in my desk. But they are only the things that are necessary. “Tidy desk, tidy mind” and all that.
Up top sits nothing but my laptop, my phone and a lamp (and a cup of coffee, until it’s finished). I might occasionally have a book or two to my side, but only if I need them to be there.
Moving down, the first shelf contains a few items of stationary (ink cartridges, one red pen for editing and some early test copies of my self-published pamphlet What Remains).
Further down are a few more copies of the same pamphlet and some notebooks, some new and some filled (these are the notebooks in which I sketch out poems and ideas, as well as keep a semi-regular diary).
At the bottom of my desk is a single cupboard in which I keep a pack of printer paper and my laptop bag. Notice I mention printer paper – so I must have a printer, right? Right. But I will only bring it out (of my wardrobe) if I need to use it. That way, it’s not in the way.
And there you have it. My desk: a small, simple but dear friend to me. We may part somewhere down the line; I may even feel it appropriate to find a bigger desk. I can’t know. All I know is that a workspace must be treated like all material things in the domestic environment: with purpose and added value in mind.