Late Stage Book Writing Office

The Human Division is (oh God please) only days away from completion, which means pretty much everything else except for basic sanitation is taking a back seat to getting the thing done. As a result, please to see the stage of chaos currently existing in my office. The only reason it’s not worse than this is that book deadline or no, Krissy would snap my neck. She has standards, even if I do not.

And before someone notes it, yeah, I blew past my official deadline (which was 11 days ago). I had hoped to get a significant amount of writing done last week while I traveled, but for various reasons that did work as well as I hoped (I got some writing done, but other circumstances — some good, some less good — conspired against doing a lot). One of the nice things about this book is that it is episodic, however, so presumably my editors can work on the parts that are in while I’m trying to finish up.

Speaking of which: Later, peoples. Tragically, books do not write themselves.

31 Comments on “Late Stage Book Writing Office”

  1. Surrounded by books while writing a book. I could be happy in your office, but i would be reading one of those books, I fear.

  2. “One of the nice things about this book is that it is episodic, however, so presumably my editors can work on the parts that are in while I’m trying to finish up.” – that was part of the point of my question after your reading at Capclave ….

  3. Oh, dear. How do you avoid breaking your neck, trying to navigate through the stacks? And you have cats! Mine would be constantly tumbling towers of books to the floor with unholy glee.

  4. Apparently, mathematics papers do write themselves. The title is misleading, as the paper wasn’t really accepted.

    I appologize for linking to so many Gawker sites today. I’m not doing it on purpose.

  5. Ah, now this looks like the pictures of your office that I remember from before the remodel. It looks like the smaller desk has provided more storage space elsewhere in the room. Not that that’s a bad thing…

  6. “You’re a science fiction author…can you not foresee a time where books could, conceivably, write themselves?”

    See Fritz Lieber’s “The Silver Eggheads.”

    As for myself I like what you’ve done with the office; you used a bigger bomb this time!

  7. As to books that write themselves, that’s been a viable subgenre at least since Jonathan Swift became known for “Gulliver’s Travels” (1726). Swift started working on this book apparently around 1720, when the idea was advanced in the Scriblerus Club, of which he was a member. It was to have been incorporated in the “Memoirs of Scriblerus.” It has the advantage of being a book of interest to adults because of its satire on man and his institutions (the scientist in Laputa generating random alphanumeric strings with a hand-cranked stochastic computer, and writing down the best lines in books, later revisted in Borges’s Library of Babel), and to children because of its Fantasy.

  8. Looks like my office used to before my partner dropped the hammer on my head. Now it’s marginally neater. FWIW every writer I know reaches a point close to deadline where the space around the desk takes on a life of its own.

  9. I now feel a touch – just a touch! – better about the condition of my apartment. For the past few weeks I’ve been discouraging visits from all but my closest friends (i.e., the ones who have either told me they don’t care that I can be a slob, or have demonstrated the ability to be even worse than me), for reasons comparable to your reason for the disarray of your office. Huzzah, I think.

  10. Did you take that picture… from a ladder? Stilts? Magically expanding lower legs? Krissy’s shoulders?

  11. @mearsk 1:23 PM
    Obviously that’s what he’s standing on to take the picture. I can’t figure how else got that perspective.

  12. Is that a baritone uke I see propped up against what appears to be either a bookcase or just a stack of books? I have one that’s over 50 yrs.old. My dear departed husband Bill bought it for me on our way to NYC for a quick get-away-from-work week-end. I can still play the only song I ever learned to play on it: “Has Anybody Seen My Gal”! I’m going to take it down from the top of my row of bookcases where I keep it safe from little fingers who think it is a kid sized guitar … and I’m going to sing that song in your honor. Hum along with me, if you know the melody. If not, just tap your foot. Then get back to your writing!

  13. It put a smile on my face to notice that the Mallet of Loving Correction is resting blissfully on a guitar stand while the tenor guitar and its ukulele sibling are balanced precariously among the flotsam.

  14. Congratulations John, your recent Gawker/Reddit post of the 18th finally got you on my temporary nsfw list. Sigh. Whack and weed indeed.

  15. I am another reader who is thankful to you for making me feel better about my apartment.
    Also, though you have made it clear multiple times and for better reasons than this that you are, you should be very thankful for your wonderful wife. At a level of messiness as little below where you are here, I stop allowing people over to my place until I can hide the evidence of my slothful ways.

  16. Can we have a larger file of this picture? I want to zoom in, look around a professional writer’s workspace. I’m fascinated. I’d love to have a room like this, dream of it, actually. BTW You’re looking healthier nowadays . . . younger even.

  17. I figured out how to zoom with my MacBook. A couple of questions. What kind acoustic guitar is that? Do you ever stop writing and play music to unwind or whatever? Why don’t you make you life a whole lot easier and just buy a new iMac 21″? I’m thinking of taking the leap later in the week, tired of writing on this 11″ MacBook Air.

  18. Hi John. I,too, have had a giant deadline that I finally hit last week. Your deadline posts helped me keep my own head in the game, so, thanks. We know you’ll come out the other side, and we look forward to the results. All of those 19th century serialized authors probably had similarly messy offices. Just think of the posterity and keep typing.

  19. “Tragically, books do not write themselves.”

    Having read too many Xanth novels, I feel that may be wishful thinking, Mr. Scalzi.

  20. Is that a Blueridge guitar amongst the clutter? I’ve been the owner of a Blueridge BR-160 for some ten years now. A fine guitar, indeed.

  21. Reminds me of a book seller’s office from years ago. His was bigger but it was at a real office as opposed to an office at home. Krissy has my sympathies.

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