Where Writers Write: Steph Auteri

Welcome to this week’s installment of Where Writers Write, featuring freelance writing superstar Steph Auteri. I know Steph through the interwebs (which is a great way to meet fellow writers, btw!) and I closely follow her blog, Freelancedom for tips, tricks & musings on the freelance life. This week, she shares her writing space with us. If you’re interested in sharing yours, shoot me an email at kristinoffilerwrites@gmail.com!

Take it away, Steph!

I got ridiculously excited when Kristin mentioned she was starting a new blog series on people’s writing spaces. I mean: office porn! I love it!

Even though my space isn’t ideal, I wanted to participate, too. I mean, this is where I live. This is where I am almost all day. Every evening. And (I’ll admit it) on the weekends. Even if it isn’t ideal, it’s important to me.

When my husband and I were looking to buy a place, shortly after we got engaged, housing prices were sky-high. At the time, I was commuting into the city for a full-time job with an academic book publisher, so we couldn’t move far. Because of that, we couldn’t get a lot for our money. We ended up in a one-bedroom condo, and converted the small dining room space into an office for the two of us.

It has its faults. It opens up directly into the living room so, if one of us wants to watch TV while the other is working, that person has to wear headphones. It’s also the only room in the condo with space for our three cats’ two litter boxes. So it can get smelly. And there’s always litter underfoot. 

When we decided to put our condo on the market (we still haven’t sold, and it’s been two years; prices have dropped so low!), our realtor suggested we move out a lot of our furniture for staging purposes. So I had to go even more minimalist. I sort of loved putting the china cabinet in storage. It gave us more space. But at the same time, I also had to get rid of the large, oversize desk I’d had since college. After many, backbreaking months of working in bed, I eventually brought in my mother’s desk. It’s beautiful, but the drawers are much smaller, and there’s no shelving for extra storage.

Someday soon, we plan on buying a four-bedroom house, whether or not we can sell the condo. We plan on converting one of those bedrooms into my office. I dream of wall-to-wall bookshelves. A window seat. Plenty of storage. Space to roll out my yoga mat. Lots of color.

But for now, this is where I am.

1. What is your writing space like?
As mentioned above, I’m set up against one wall in what would otherwise have been a dining room. I use my mother’s antique desk, and an ergonomic chair I splurged on six months into full-time freelancedom, once I had matched my previous salary as an employee. The desk is small, but it’s forced me to choose my tools and resources with care. I actually keep my favorite how-to books in a drawer, including Kelly James-Enger’s Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks, Mike Nappa’s 77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected, Adair Lara’s Naked, Drunk, and Writing, and Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears’s The Boss of You. Oh! And of course my AP Stylebook. Another drawer contains nothing but magazines. I flip through them to make sure my magazine queries are on target.
I also keep a small om on my desktop, to remind myself that I shouldn’t sweat the small stuff… it’ll all work out. And of course, there’s always a mug of coffee.

I also hung a series of prints along the wall, to bring in some color. Even though it’s not the best space, I wanted to make it mine. These pictures include Andy Warhol’s “So Happy, ca. 1958” (because I’m a crazy cat lady) and a series of three drawings from my favorite city in the world: Boston.

2. Do you keep a writing routine? If so, what is your routine?
Every day for me is different. In addition to working on my own book project, I also do freelance writing for print and online publications, ghostwriting, editing, and career coaching. Throw into the mix the occasional funeral singing gig, and a daily yoga practice, and anything can happen. I will say that writing goes smoother for me when the sun is shining, when the coffee is fresh, and when I’ve done up an outline first. 😉

3. What’s something unique and interesting about your writing space?
My desk used to live in my mother’s childhood bedroom. I love peppering my home with things from my family’s past and, even though this desk is smaller than my old one, it has a lot more character. My little om is also new. While I started exploring yoga casually about a year and a half ago, I didn’t really get serious about it until six months ago. Adding that om to my space reminds me that it can’t all be workworkwork. One needs balance as well.

4. If you could have any writing space in the world, what would it look like and why?
I started daydreaming a bit above, but let me go a little crazy. My idea writing space would have:
– a door with a lock
– lots of natural light
– wall-to-wall shelving containing my own private library
– bay windows with a window seat… piled with pillows… for the best reading nook ever
– lots of color and personality and artwork on the walls
– lots of storage space
– and maybe enough floor space to roll out my yoga mat? (is that asking for too much?)

Steph Auteri is a freelance writer and editor, and the founder of Career Coaching for Word Nerds, through which she offers one-on-one coaching and consulting to freelance writers and other publishing professionals. She has been published in Nerve, The Frisky, Forbes, Business Insider, Time Out New York, and other bastions of fine writing. She also co-wrote an ebook with Ian Kerner — a noted sex counselor — called 52 Weeks of Amazing Sex. Her work is her life, but she can sometimes be found at the yoga studio, hoop dancing, cuddling her cats, or losing herself in a good book. Feel free to check out her website and blog, and to stalk her on Twitter.

 Thank you so much for sharing your writing space with us, Steph!

What do you guys think? Share your thoughts and your dream writing space in the comments!


Just Another Writing Blog? Nahhh.

It seems like everyone has a blog, doesn’t it? So why am I creating yet another one to add to the heap?

Because I hope mine will be different enough to interest you.

My name is Kristin Offiler, and if you’re reading this, you’re either interested in my work and want to harness my amazing talents for your business, you’re a lover of the written word, or maybe you’re someone I’m related to (hi mom!). Whatever the case,  this blog will be different, and here’s why:

  • I’m a writer with a hand in many, many cookie jars (I love cookies, by the way). I’m just about done with my creative thesis for my Master of Fine Arts program at Lesley University (let’s hear it for fiction writing), I’ve done quite a bit of freelance writing for local newspapers in southern Rhode Island, I’m a social media intern for the cool website YourTango.com, and now I’m trying to get my short stories published. I’m also working on a novel that may or may not be the next Great American Story.
  • I recognize my talents, but I also understand that I’m still new to the writing industry and have lots to learn.
  • I’m ambitious and motivated and usually take on multiple projects at the same time (i.e. planning a wedding, buying a house, and working on a graduate level thesis, ahem)
  • And, most importantly, this blog will be different because I want you to be a part of it. Yes, you. Whoever you are. If you’re a writer, let’s talk. Tell me your story. Talk to me about writing and what it means to be a writer today. If you’re an aspiring editor, a voracious blogger, a PR maven, or anyone else– share your journey with me here. I want this blog to reflect my writing style and career goals, my voice, and my journey, however, I know that there’s endless knowledge to be gained from the experiences of others, so I want your input. I want us to learn together, to figure out how to start our own businesses, be successful, and maybe even define what exactly success means. The point is to learn from others and be open and receptive to knowledge.

You might be wondering why you should care about this blog. I don’t blame you– there are so many blogs in the blogiverse that it’s impossible to give a hoot about too many of them. But if you stick with me and keep checking back in, I think you’ll like the journey we’ll take together. If you have a blog that you think I should feature in this blog, tell me! If you know someone who is interesting and has paved a way for themselves and you think it would be beneficial for others to hear about it, shoot me a line.

So that’s what’s up over here. This little ole blog is joining the rest of the blogosphere in hopes that you’ll contribute thoughts, ideas, and information about writing, freelancing, publishing, and being a living, breathing human in general. Leave me some comments or email me at kristinoffilerwrites (AT) gmail.com, tell me what you’re thinking about today, and let’s see if we can build connections that will help each other succeed.

Follow me on twitter: @KristinOffiler