I am very fortunate. My job is my hobby. I love settling down to work at 9am on Monday morning. The only trouble is that it’s hard to stop. I don’t dash out of the office at 5pm on a Friday and forget about work for the weekend. So it becomes a bit of an obsession.
I’ve almost always worked from home. At times I’ve worked in spare bedrooms or from a sofa in the living room. I’ve set up a desk in a conservatory (hiding under an umbrella when the sun was too bright to see my computer screen). I’ve written blog posts whilst eating breakfast, I’ve edited book chapters on the loo.
But over the last couple of years I’ve begun yearning for a specific workspace of my own. A place where I could think “this is where I work. Today I am going to grind out some creativity and get 2000 words written no matter how little I feel like it.” [There’s a big difference between grinding out creativity and the sparking of creativity which comes on long runs, visiting new places, chatting to interesting people.] I wanted somewhere to play Thunder Road on repeat very loudly. I needed to leave home, to go somewhere to work (‘I’m heading out of here to win!’) and then to come home again when I’d finished and to properly relax, like normal people do.
I couldn’t really justify renting an office when all I need is a computer. And, besides, I didn’t choose my direction in life in order to have an office. No. What I really wanted was a shed. Middle-aged male stereotype, perhaps, but I challenge anyone to visit the Cabin Porn website (it’s safe for work! Except that it might make you hand in your resignation…) and not feel a deep longing for a place of their own.
So when my royalty cheque arrived for my Microadventures book (due out this June) I decided to treat myself to a shed of my own.
If I had the skill of my friend Nick I’d have built something from scratch (like this). But I don’t. So I bought a kit, recruited someone with skill to help me, persuaded a very nice couple to let me use some of their land, and set to work.
It’s interesting taking decisions which seem small and simple but which have unalterable consequences (such as picking the spot to build on):
The secret, I guess, is to try your best to get the decision right but don’t fret too much. Otherwise you’ll never get started.
Next up: fine tune the direction. Getting the balance between winter sunrises and summer sunsets is a tricky compromise.
I was committed now. It’s a nice feeling. You might as well stop worrying and plough on as best as you can. Get the foundations right, take your time on those, for without the solid basics the rest isn’t going to work long-term.
Once you get going it’s amazing how quickly things start to take shape.
Power drills and wellies: building my writing shed was more fun than working in it’s going to be..!
Getting the roof on and watertight was a good moment. We’d been at the mercy of the grim weather (though I loved working hard outdoors) and it’s always a good feeling to take control of things.
Nothing worth achieving is done without plenty of tea breaks.
Electricity in. Heater in [a log-burner due in Shed 2.0]. Internet in. Al in. Time to work!
I’ve just moved in – this is my first blog post from the shed – and I love it! I could do with some help though as it does currently feel like I’m sitting in an empty sauna. I haven’t even got a chair yet! So if you have an ounce of interior design skills in your body (which I don’t!) then I’d love some thoughts on what I should put it in here to really turn it into an awesome hub of creative genius (plus me)!
Building this shed was the most relaxing, de-stressing thing I’ve done in ages. It was satisfying to build something as well as we could, something that will stand for many years. I enjoyed learning new skills (and playing with power tools). I loved seeing a daydream take shape into a solid reality.
And now I guess I’d better get to work…
Loving my new giant map from @futuremaps. A struggle to even fit it in the shed! Really beautiful printing, and lots of adventures to plan.