On Writing: You Don’t Need A Fancy Desk

On Writing: You Don’t Need A Fancy Desk

I’ve been doing a bit of woodworking the past month, building a coffee table with a removable top for storing Lego and other toys. I’ve never done a major woodworking project in my life and certainly never built furniture. But the kids got a bunch of Lego for Christmas and I thought they needed a nice surface play on, so I figured why not. Also, Lego tables to purchase go for $100 at the cheapest. I figured I’d be able to make something for less than that.

My “workshop” isn’t much to speak of. I do my work in my basement, unorganized and chaotic. My tools have no home, really. They are on a pile in the floor. I had never used my table saw before this project.

However, if I decided I’d have to wait until I had a proper workshop I’d never built anything at all. You don’t need fancy tools to do something. YOU. JUST. NEED. TO. START. I started and this is what I accomplished:




Not perfect, but certainly not bad. Anyway, it’s the same with writing. You don’t need fancy toys. You don’t need that Macbook Air. You don’t need that beautifully large desk inside the rotunda of that gorgeous Victorian home. You don’t need absolute silence, or the kiss from a unicorn under a rainbow. To write all you really need is to begin.

It could be a napkin in the coffee shop. It could be the back of the mortgage bill while you are lying in bed, unable to sleep. It could be at your laptop on your lunch break at work. It could be any or none of these things, so long as you just write.

You don’t need a fancy desk. Heck, you don’t even need to know what you’re doing. I didn’t, and things turned out okay.

11 thoughts on “On Writing: You Don’t Need A Fancy Desk

  1. Holy crap! You built that from scratch? Despite your modesty that is an awesome skill to have. Well done. And good advice on the requirements for writing. An idea, something to write or type it on and the stubbornness to just keep at it. That’s all I need.


    1. Thanks Thomas. It really was my first project. I’m staining it tonight and will post pictures post-stain application. It’s been a lot of fun.

  2. I’m pretty darn impressed, Paul. That looks amazing for a first project.

    I also agree with what you said here. I think we put more and more limitations on ourselves as we grow older. It’s so self-defeating. This is a great reminder to just get in there and get your hands dirty.

    I bet your kids will love this!

    1. Thanks Sarah! I wonder if I’ll look back on it years from now and say, “how did I every do that?” or will I continue to build things. I hope the latter.

  3. That is a crazy good piece of furniture there!! And also, what a great analogy! My tendency is always to say, “when I have everything I need to do this right…” be that time or workspace or skills, and I have to work around that tendency to, as you say, just begin. The beginning is the hard part. Once you begin, it’s hard to stop. 🙂

    1. Thanks Heidi!

      I used to be one of those “when I have everything I need to do this right…” people, but then I realized I’m too lazy to do any of the up-front planning involved in that mindset 🙂

  4. That’s a pretty nice table. My boys would have loved that and as a mom I would have loved that. I agree you don’t need anywhere fancy to write, although it would be nice to have a quiet spot. That’s what I’m lacking.

  5. Really nice table! At the first glance on your update post I thought you had a store-bought table you were modifying, so see? Nobody will know the difference.

    Also, as far as working where you can. I’m a little chagrined at my work space — it’s a TV tray table where I set my laptop and I pull it over in front of the couch. But! I wrote a whole book on it, so it works even though it’s not fancy.

    1. Look at you, all fancy with your tv tray table. I have no trays to write on 🙂

      Thanks for the table compliments. I have to say I’m proud to have pulled it off.

Comments are closed.

Comments are closed.