Destroy Your Desk

Last week, we talked about how to immerse yourself in your creativity (Picasso-style). Yet the great artist went too far, never really emerging from his creative stupor to re-engage with the real world.

As artists, we have to lead real lives. Unless we’re lucky enough to be self-sufficient millionaires, we need to talk and interact with people. In fact your family (however you define it) is your most important support system. 

The perfect example comes from Stephen King. I’ve been a fan of Mr. King for year, but I only discovered this current slice of wisdom via the cartoonist Gavin Aung, where they talk about Stephen King’s desk. 

It turns out Mr. King started out a lot like the rest of us. He wanted to be a Writer (with a capital W). And what better way to establish his position in the authorial world than with a behemoth of a desk. One that wrapped around him like a cocoon to insulate him from the rest of the world. Or as he states it, he felt “like a ship’s captain in charge of a voyage to nowhere.”

From the Gavin Aung comic: Stephen King the Desk

Later on, he shifted tact and ditched the massive slab of a desk and redesigned his writing space with a couch and a TV. The room no longer belonged solely to him and his writing endeavors. Instead, he brought his family back into the fold.

All our situations are different. I can’t really redesign my office as a hang out spot (though I do often share it with my family). Instead I keep my writing and art portible and versatile. I don’t need the full desk and PC to get to work. I often relocate to the downstairs table or even outside. This way, I can create, but put the process on pause anytime. 

Stephen King summed it up extremely well: “Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”

So yes, immerse yourself in your art. But know when to disconnect. Art should enrich your life. And an integral part of life are those people around you.

Tim Kane

4 thoughts on “Destroy Your Desk

    1. Years ago I downgraded to a smaller desk, but it’s just large enough to do art/analog writing on one side and computer typing on the other. However lately, as my schedule has gone just nutzo, I find myself using an iPad and setting up wherever I can get space (often the kitchen table).

      Do you find you like to sprawl when you work, or do you keep yourself tidy?

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