I recently read an article on “Why You Should have a Messy Desk,” and it got me to thinking about my work space. I often write where and when I can. That tends to be on my laptop or in my notebook, sitting in a chair or sofa somewhere in the house. There are times when I need to retreat, though, to get away from everything and truly concentrate. For those times, I go to my writing room, and my trusty kotatsu.
A kotatsu is a small table with a heater built underneath. Mine looks like this:
This version of my kotatsu is much cleaner than it tends to get later in the colder months. Right now, I’ve just pulled it out from under about four piles of laundry. My scanner and portfolio are missing, too, because my husband made me put everything away when we had company a few months back. (No, I haven’t pulled them out since then. I haven’t really drawn since then, either, sadly. But that’s a lament for another day.)
The kotatsu might look like any other table…until you look under the blanket:
That’s the neat little electric heater that makes everything under the blanket oh-so toasty. It’s a memory I have from childhood years in Japan that I was excited to recapture when I learned I could purchase a kotatsu here in the US. (And I could afford the purchase, of course.)
The heat isn’t constant – it activates and deactivates on a regulated timer, based on your heat setting – but the blanket keeps the space warm. It’s not so energy efficient as a fireplace, but it’s more convenient than heating the whole house, especially when I’m alone. It’s pretty spacious under there, too. I’m short, so I can stretch my legs out, but even my six-foot-tall husband can get comfy underneath. He just can’t stretch out like I can. The only bad part about our kotatsu is that one of our cats seems to have a sixth sense for when I turn the thing on. And then, even I can’t stretch out as much as I’d like:
There’s a specific warning on the kotatsu packaging that you should not let pets sleep under the lamp, because it can get quite hot…but you can’t keep a cat from heat. If you ever get a kotatsu, just turn it off when you step away for any length of time. The heat dissipates, and your cat will become chilled again. Probably miffed, too, but I can’t help you with that.
Do you have a special place where you like to work?
I had no idea we could get a kotatsu here in the States! I could actually use one, since my dish chair has no heat and I’ve been freezing lately.
My writing places at home are either my bed or my dish chair, both requiring the use of my lapdesk. If I’m at school, I like to arrive early and sit in my empty classroom and write for awhile, but that’s usually interrupted by friends and classmates popping in and saying hi.
I get the feeling that if I get a kotatsu, I won’t get to use it to write much, as it could become a popular spot in my house. I guess that’s what late night writing sessions are for.
I am lucky to have a small study with a door I can close! I have a white board on the door with the words “Beware: Writer Inside. Proceed with Caution.” Inside, it’s pretty messy and cluttered, which I don’t like but it’s the only space I have where I can keep everything I need for my personal writing and my freelance work.
I can write in other places as long as I’m not distracted. I love to sit on my screened porch when the weather is nice because we have a nice backyard surrounded by trees and birds and fairies. 🙂
I am not as productive in public places; however, if I must, I will write at soccer practices, in a doctor’s waiting room, on a plane, any place where I know I can knock off at least fifteen minutes of writing.
I’m lucky, too, to have my own office in the house—and a husband who’s good about not interrupting me when he knows I’m writing. 🙂 I usually keep the place neat, but sometimes I’ll let things slide. The “to be shredded pile” builds up, calendars for my WIPs get spread over the desk with my notebooks…. Then I’ll clean up again, and the cycle repeats. 🙂
The heated table looks like a great idea, but I could see myself getting drowsy from the warmth and dozing off while I tried to work!
Yes, I bought mine from a place out in California. I justified its cost to my husband by reminding him it cost about the same as 2 new Xbox games. 😉
I’m a firm believer in grabbing opportunity when it arises, especially when it comes to writing. Luckily, it doesn’t take as much quiet concentration as drawing does, for me. I can see how it might be a bit frustrating at times to get interrupted, but it’s also good to see friends. (I’m terribly anti-social when I go on writing jags.)
Thanks for stopping by! I see you’ve been updating. I need to get over there and read your latest posts!
With the exception of that one lucky time I sat next to another writer, planes are always difficult for me: the extended close quarters situation makes me uncomfortable. Especially when I’m writing about sex. 😉
I love the image of having trees and birds and fairies in your backyard, Kate. It’s so comforting and lovely. You’re quite lucky! 😀
The heat is quite comforting, JM. There are certainly times when I need to remind myself to work and not nap. 😉
Your space sounds like a good work/play area. Organized just enough to stay productive, while messy enough to keep the creativity flowing. 🙂
My cat would LOVE that! xx
The kotatsu is so energy efficient. Very nice. I tend to work at my messy desk. Or editing/reading is done on my bed. I love my piles. the system works for me. 😉
I totally understand about piles, Kourtney. My desk at work is full of them…yet, I know exactly where everything I need is!
We’ve had a spate of warm weather, recently, leaving my kotatsu relatively unused. But, I’m looking forward to getting back to it as it turns cooler.
Thanks for stopping by!