Will the Real Office Please Step Forward?


I wrote what I hoped would be an inspiring post back in the summer about setting up a home office. I even dreamed that mine could one day resemble those in some of the images I posted. I wrote with such authority that I convinced myself. But somewhere between me drooling over pictures from Office Beautiful and picking out paint colors for the kitchen, my dreamy home office morphed into this.

Image by Amy Ramirez-Leal

I had to actually look at this photo to realize how much chaos was living in this one small room. In my defense, I’m in the middle of renovating a very old house but this is evidence of how out of control and out of balance my work life has become. If it makes you feel any better, I spent most of the afternoon Sunday cleaning and organizing. I was even able to sit at my desk today.  But that’s not really what this post is about – my messy office/tool room/guest room/storage shed.

You Can Work Anywhere

It’s true! You don’t need a home office that’s worthy of a Pinterest following. When I started this freelance dream I envisioned myself sitting on the balcony of a hotel in Cancun. I thought it might be fun to buy an RV and have my own traveling freelance adventure. With a laptop and an internet connection I could work anywhere. Why not? Aren’t there plenty of images of people just like me sitting with their laptop on the beach? I mean the camera points to their sandy toes with freshly painted toenails. Surely they’re writing the next great American novel with the sounds of waves crashing to the shore and sea gulls screaming above. I’m a true testament to the ability to work from any location. I’ve written huge pieces of a master’s thesis from the back seat of a car traveling across the country. I’ve worked in public libraries with small children peeking at me over the adjoining carrel. McDonald’s is an excellent work location. You can drink coffee all morning and then gorge on a Big Mac and fries in the afternoon.

Image by Amy Ramirez-Leal

And the Real Office Is…

Don’t let the fact that you don’t have the perfect office set-up at home deter you from fulfilling your dream of being your own boss. I’ve written some of my best pieces propped up against the wall in my living room that was converted for a time to a bedroom. And if I buy that RV I have my eye on, my next working space might be the rest area on a desert highway. You never know. Some of us will use the excuse that our space isn’t conducive to writing – whatever your work happens to be – and put off personal and professional growth. If you can’t an article from a table at a coffee shop, you’ll probably struggle to write it from a room in your own home. Now, I’m not against people designing a drool-worthy work space. But if you don’t have the mindset that building a business is so much more than the desk you work from, it might be time to do some soul searching. 

2 thoughts on “Will the Real Office Please Step Forward?”

  1. Jae says:

    An excellent reminder not to let work area turn into an excuse to avoid work. I think I read Stephen King’s desk was a plank of wood laid over the top of the washer and dryer, for a while.

    1. Amy Ramirez-Leal says:

      Thank you for commenting! I like the idea of a plank of wood. I’ve really had to come to terms this year with not only my expectations of what my work space MUST be, but also my work habits. It’s been a hard road to walk but I’m taking a few steps each day. I’m finding the most interesting places to work.

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