Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Toni Rakestraw and The Birthplace of Inspiration: A Writer’s Desk

Some writers and I had an interesting discussion the other day. What do they glance up form their computer and see? What's in place to keep them motivated? Please, welcome Toni Rakestraw.

"My desk is where I spend the vast majority of my day. It is located in a corner so I can utilize as much wall space as possible. I call my corner The Cave. You can easily see how it might get that name. I try to keep it personalized to some extent, or it would end up buried in work debris. I try to keep all the information and inspiring items I may need for my works in progress as well as use my desk for work. For instance, for Saucy Jack, a work in progress, I bought a book that contained all the official documents pertaining to Jack the Ripper. We even bought a map of Whitechapel in 1888. I have it pinned to the wall above my desk, so I can refer to it whenever I need to. I’ve marked the murder sites on it, and have utilized a color coding system to track the known movements of all the important parties. While Saucy Jack is currently on hold, I rather like the map up on the wall. It may get to stay indefinitely.

I have lots of pages cluttering my desk for my current project. It’s a romance that will hopefully be a part of Ruby Lioness Press’ Clearwater series. I have character lists, a map of the town, and copious notes I’ve gathered. Online I’ve collected images that I want to bring into the story; the sheep my main character raises, old barns, farmhouses. These are the things I draw from, even though this story doesn’t have the usual historical bent I usually deal with.

Another tool I utilize is the sticky note. I have them all over in every color of the rainbow. On my wall, on my desk . . . they are everywhere. I use them for notes, sketches, whatever I need to keep on hand so I don’t forget it.

My other wall consists of work from my day job as a freelance editor. I have two boards for clients; one for formatting and book covers, and one for editing and proofreading. If all that doesn’t keep me going, nothing will.

The other things I keep around my desk are mementos and things that have meaning for me. Some inspire me, others give me confidence. I’ve got two trophies from winning Best In Show at a couple of local rabbit shows from 2005. They commemorate the only time I’ve ever won anything that big. I’ve got a ceramic horse a dear friend gave to us. I love horses, and it’s nice to have something pretty on my desk to distract me from all the clutter. My rutilated quartz crystal ball sits at the base of my monitor. I find crystals to be energizing, and it helps me focus when I’m feeling scattered.

Titanic DeceptionBehind me resides my grandparents’ old telephone table. On it I keep a few books that I’ve had a hand in creating and I have room for the occasional flower from the garden to brighten the cave. I love watching the plants grow outside, and this gives me the opportunity to bring a little of the garden indoors to enjoy while I work.

So, if you write, what do you keep on your desk? Is it spotless or a mess like mine?"

Toni Rakestraw is a freelance editor and writer. She often collaborates on stories with her husband, John. She spends most of her time at her desk doing what she loves: working with words.

You can find her book here.

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