Physical objects have long held the power to soothe, comfort and inspire us. Many of these have religious or ritualistic connotations but we all have objects made sacred simply through the meaning they hold for us.
As writers, we spend long hours sitting at a desk, in our own company. We also spend much of our time in our own heads, in the intangible realm of ideas. I’ve found that surrounding myself with a few concrete objects that really speak to me, help me to keep going.
Here’s what I have on my desk today:
The books I’ve written: they remind me that I’ve done this once – so I can do it again.
An empty picture frame that I’ve had on my desk for over ten years now inspired by an essay in Natalie Goldberg’s wonderful Writing Down the Bones. It’s a fantastic writing prompt.
A small candle holder given to me by a writing friend who died before she was able to publish the novels she dreamed to have out in the world: some days, I write just for her.
A dream jar from a stay in a quirky Swiss hotel with my husband on our honeymoon. Writing is sometimes akin to dreaming, especially in those first, giddy stages of composition.
A picture of my Tata, who always believed that I would be a writer.
A piece of artwork by my 6-year-old daughter, who reminds me, every day, that creating things is an essential part of what it means to live and grow.
And a new addition: a little worry doll that used to belong to the daughter of a friend before she passed away at age 13. I’m helping my friend write her story and the small doll, loved and touched by her daughter, is a huge inspiration and motivation.
Some of the objects I have stay constant. Others change according to what I’m writing. It’s part of creating what Austin Kleon calls creating our ‘bliss station.’
The objects catch my eye when I’m writing; they anchor me; they enchant and inspire me; they remind me that, at my core, I’m a storyteller.
What do you have on your writing desk?