Posted on January 18, 2010 Posted by John Scalzi 35 Comments
This is how I’m working today: Manuscript for the Tor version of METAtropolis on the desk (which I am proofing), with keyboard to the side just in case I need to type something. On the monitor: my inbox and a PDF of the Subterranean Press version of METAtropolis, from which I am double-checking the Tor version. Below, completed proofed pages. Coke Zero to the right, gum to the left. Mirror so I can’t be snuck up on by ninjas. Speakers playing classical piano, which is perfect music to proof by. And in the background to the right, just visible, The Mallet of Loving Correction. No, it’s not just a metaphor. I actually have a mallet.
And there you have it: my workspace.
Huh. I should customize the colors of my gmail!
I’ve noticed that when working with words (programming, in my case) that music with vocals tends to be a distraction, while instrumentals are less so. That’s why I keep a playlist of Beethoven’s nine symphonies on my iPod. Also a playlist of Halo soundtracks.
Have you considered adding a second monitor? You could pipe video from your webcam onto it to help with that ninja problem.
An open can of pop?! Egads! I’m nervous enough having a driving mug of Diet Coke on my desk just waiting to be knocked over onto a manuscript (which has happened before).
Are ninjas a worry for you most days?
Which classical piano? I’m kindof a Brahms girl, but I’m always looking for suggestions.
It’s all too clean.
Anyway, I imagine a napping cat will at some point work its way into the still life.
Now they just need to invent a way to hit people through the internet, and you’ll be all set.
So are you serious about the mirror, or is it just lying there? I have two workspaces in my tiny office, one for writing and one for model-building. Writing, I face the door. Nothing behind me but a wall. Model-building, I have my back to the door, and I do, indeed, have a convex rear-view mirror screwed to the frame of my workbench at eye-height.
Hypervigilance: the survival secret of ninja targets everywhere.
Stop killing zombies, that music’s just for proofing! Get back to work.
You must go through a lot of monitors.
Do you normally proofread the manuscripts for your own books, or is this something that comes along with your editor responsibilities?
I had always envisioned a room full of minions toiling away at the publisher’s office, checking for typos before the book goes to print, while the author kicks back at a beach somewhere, soaking up the rays and sipping a margarita (or kicks back at home, fighting zombies and sipping a coke zero – your choice).
But I guess you can’t trust minions with these types of things.
Only one monitor? For shame :D
Get two, turn them to portrait mode and viola, two giant A4 pages to work from. Much more comfortable (and cheaper than the 23″ behemoths):
One word for you Mr. Scalzi…. AWESOME…
you forgot to point out all the writing untensils!!
What’s with the mallet??
I had to give up on those Microsoft keyboards because they made me completely incompetent at every other keyboard.
Now I have a clicky-clacky-with-no-labels “Das Keyboard”, which has forced me to learn even the obscure keys and has scares any prospective keyboard touchers away.
Would like to see the Mallet of Loving Correction in its full-blown glory.
(My fav Gmail/iGoogle skin is the little fox in the teahouse. For whatever reason, it reminds me of this nightlight I had as a kid.)
If you like classical guitar, you should check out Sérgio and Odair Assad. They are pretty fantastic.
Ninjas? I thought you’d have the mirror for zombies. Of course, zombies do make a lot of noise when they approach, unlike ninjas. How can you type with the keyboard there or do you just pull it down to type?
Your desk area is much cleaner and organized than mine is.
I also enjoy the 8-bit theme for gmail.
Classical music is awesome for mental tasks. iTunes has some great compilations. If you do internet radio, http://sky.fm has some great classical channels (“Mostly Classical” is my particular favorite.)
Speaking of workspaces, when is your office going to show up on Kyle Cassidy’s Where I Write?
That’s up to Kyle Cassidy, not me.
is that the Mallet of Loving Corretion or the installation device from the Acme BrainPal Kit?
This is the first posting from my newly expanded office. I finally got a notebook to read the papper on while in the kitchen. I’ve decided I like working from there because it’s closter to the food.
Seconding the request for more specifics on the classical piano, but then again as a classically trained pianist, I am perhaps more fixated on that sort of thing than most.
Funny how much curiosity there is in seeing other people’s workspace; I posted my old one here, and The Guardian has a whole series on writers’ rooms.
For a moment I thought there were two monitors, now of course I see there’ only one. Brain-melt. Alos, I want a mallet.
Is that Windows 7?!
I love seeing workspaces. :]
Just don’t forget that the mirror won’t work for sneaky hungry vampires. We’d hate to see you drained.
I love seeing other writers’ workspaces. Yours is one of the neater ones I’ve seen — most are messier.
For writing music, I prefer movie soundtracks — Jerry Goldsmith is great, also Thomas Newman and, lately, Michael Giacchino.
would it be overstepping my bounds to request a more detailed picture of the mallet? or are we just to live in fear? :)
And how long did you spend cleaning before taking the picture?
A Windows computer that’s not displaying a blue screen error, fancy that!
I also am both impressed and worried about the mallet. Ah, of course. It’s a Windows computer and so loving correction is frequently necessary…
John, what are those markings on the manuscripts? I noticed corner markings and whatnot on earlier manuscripts. Is there an industry standard which only “published” writers are privy to? Curious. PS When are you publishing You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing in paperback. Man, I’d love to be able to order this book in paperback format.
They’re typesetting marks.
Also, no plans for a paperback of “Coffee Shop.”
Ooo, Orbit gum contains xylitol, and while cats don’t *usually* eat gum and mints, etc., dogs…well, dogs are not so picky. Just make sure the pets don’t eat anything with xylitol – even in small quantities, it can shut down their liver. See: http://www.petmd.com/blogs/dailyvet/2009/May/26