2014 writing spaces

Happy New Year!

So, my action plan for 2014 starts today. And here’s where I do most of my work, along with the tools I use to do it.

My main working space is the upstairs office. My wife has half the space, and I occupy the opposite side. We both use the same simple Ikea desk.

The set-up here is my primary computer – a Mac mini (2.3 GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB internal hard drive with two external 2TB backup drives hidden on Twelve South backpack behind the display) running Mac OS X Mavericks. This is paired with an Apple bluetooth keyboard, and I use a Razer Deathadder 2013 mouse.

IMG_2206I’m a big fan of quality mice – like socks, you will never regret the expense, and my accidental discovery of “pro” mice about ten years ago (while I was browsing for something in Apple store, I played around with a Logitech MX510 that was plugged into an iMac and couldn’t believe the difference it made) pretty much changed everything!

The display is an Apple Thunderbolt display – 27″, which runs at 2560 x 1440 resolution. Perfect for side-by-side display of three full-size A4 pages, when the need arises.

On the wall is a pair of Sennheiser HD210 headphones (the bottom end of Sennheiser’s offerings, but a giant step up from the crappy Sony pair I used to have).

The chair is a copy of an Eames office chair – the real thing costs thousands, so I’m just fine with a knock-off.

Downstairs is my secondary working space, the library.

IMG_2208The library is actually a dining room, better served with six large bookcases and a repro Eames lounge chair.

The computer is a 13″ Macbook Pro (2.4 GHz Intel i5, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD) with retina display, which actually showed up just yesterday, replacing my old 11″ Macbook Air.

IMG_2212The Macbook Pro is something of a revelation – the retina display has a native resolution of 2560 x 1600, and then uses pixel doubling to produce a 1280 x 800 image of, quite frankly, jaw-dropping quality. It’s also pretty light, while giving me some useful screen real estate, making it an obvious upgrade from the Macbook Air.

I’ve mentioned software a few times on Twitter, as it’s a conversation that comes up with reasonable frequency. I use Scrivener for all first drafts, as I find its project statistic tools a wonder when it comes to managing deadlines and word counts. From the first draft, I export the file as a Word doc and use Microsoft Office 2011 (Mac edition) for the subsequent edits and rewrites.

When it comes to editorial notes from my agent and editors, I switch to the Windows version of Word 2010, running in Windows 7 inside Parallels, which lets you run Windows apps inside Mac OS X almost invisibly. I resorted to this as the Mac version of Word is still very buggy, especially when using track changes. To ensure maximum compatibility – and to ensure I never lose any more work to random crashes – Word 2010 was the answer.

And in Parallels, the Windows version of Word is much more responsive than the Mac native app anyway, which is slightly depressing! However, my primary complaint with Windows is its appalling font rendering, and using Windows 7 in Parallels is no different.

So that’s me all set for 2014. I suppose I should actually do some writing then.

See you tomorrow!



  • EllieAnnSoderstrom

    Good write up. I think I’m going to have to switch to Parallels. Since my Pro is always crashing when I’m editing in Windows.