My Writing Desk (AKA All the Crap I Dragged to Mexico)

by Kim on November 9, 2014 · 38 comments

I’ve been meaning to show you around my new home of Sayulita but it’s been kind of gloomy the past week. Yesterday unfolded into the perfect day but instead of grabbing my camera I grabbed my beach towel and spent a blissful few hours reading in the sand. I know you’ll forgive me.

The truth is, anyway, that I spend most of my waking hours at my writing desk. These five months in Mexico are more of a working retreat, a time to focus on writing and building a sustainable income, than a vacation. Maybe we’ll succeed and maybe we’ll fail but we need to find out what’s possible.

Over the past seven months I spent a lot of time staring out the car window. You know what I thought about? My Mexico writing desk. So when the time came for that desk to become a reality I knew exactly what I wanted to lug south to adorn it with: books that inspire me, writing tools, good luck charms and prompts to inspire creativity.

That tour around Sayulita will have to wait for another day. In the meantime, let me show you around my desk. (P.S. A big shout out to Lindsey of Chasing the Wild. I loved reading about her Traveling Writer Kit and I was inspired to share my own).

Here she is in all her glory. My writing desk:

my desk

Isn’t she pretty?

On top of my desk lives my 13-inch MacBook Air. I have dragged this computer with me all around the world. I carried it in my backpack when I walked 500 + miles across Spain. It is my most prized possession.

My Macbook Air

To the left of my computer, on the bookshelf, live my absolute favorite books on writing. 1) The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell 2) Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott 3) Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir by Natalie Goldberg 4) The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language by Natalie Goldberg 5) On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King 6) The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield 7) The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Not pictured: Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg.

My favorite books on writing

I also dragged down a bunch of books to give my writing brain a break and stimulate other parts of my noggin. My favorite is Coloring Mandalas. Yes, it’s a coloring book, but I’ve already found that when I’m stuck on something while writing I’ll color in a bit of a mandala and get unstuck. Coloring is very meditative but it’s not cerebral so my brain can mull over the problem while my body works on something else. Plus, you’ve probably forgotten, coloring is fun.

Coloring Mandalas

I also picked up and have really enjoyed Draw Your Own Alphabets: Thirty Fonts to Scribble, Sketch, and Make Your Own by Tony Seddon. I’ve always wanted to learn how to hand letter and, while I’ve got a long way to go, it’s been a lot of fun testing out the fonts illustrated in the book.

Books for creativity

On a whim I also brought down Just Draw It!: The Dynamic Drawing Course for Anyone with a Pencil and Paper by Sam Piyasena. I’m a terrible artist and I actually get angry (sometimes) when I sit down to work in this book. The other day I tried to draw a coke can and it ended up looking like a worm with wrinkles. My brain actually ached with the effort. The book says that anyone can learn to draw. I suppose we’ll see about that.

Just Draw It book

I have my journals from the last 3 years with me. These are helping me write the book I am working on. The problem is, I’m terrible at journaling. All I ever write about is how I’m feeling. I wish I’d focused a bit more on describing my location in detail, the smells and sounds of a place, descriptions of people I met and dialogue. Note to self: Start doing that now!

My old journals

I also have my current journal with me. A gift from my lovely friend Rhonda:

My journal

And of course, I can’t get much journaling done without pens. I’ve got a pen from every hotel we stayed in throughout the U.S.A. and they’re stored in an empty can of refried black beans (the past and the present collide).

Writing tools pens

Finally, I brought down quite a few good luck charms. I’ve got my beloved statue of Ganesh:

Ganesh statue

The prayer beads I bought from an old woman on a mountain in Nepal:

Buddhist prayer beads

Bits and pieces of beloved little relics like this Ganesh head from India, this Viking ring I bought at an antiques dealer in Florida and the OM symbol I found in Chile. I suppose each of these things helps me feel connected to something bigger, deeper and wiser than myself.

good luck charms

Finally, I brought the crystals I bought in Arizona. They’ve finally gotten a proper cleanse (both in the ocean and under a full moon) and while I’m still unsure of their magical properties you better believe that I grab them often, hold them in my hand, and offer up silent prayers. They feel strong and solid in my hand.


Now, I guess all I’ve got to do is write. It’s been a slow grind so far but I learned a lot writing Life on Fire. The middle of the writing process feels hopeless and impossible but in the end, when a book rises up out of the chaos, it’s the most magical thing in the world.