There is a desk in my room. It was bought several years ago with the intention of being used for desk things. Work. Writing. Maybe as the occasional impromptu nail painting station. On a perfect day, my beat-up but functional desk is completely cleared, the light bulb in the lamp actually works, and my planner is sitting next to my laptop with an ambitious but achievable to-do list.
I used to strive for those perfect days. I would wake up extra early and clean my work space, making it Instagram-worthy—seriously, I would line up pencils in rainbow color next to my laptop even though I rarely use pencils. In my mind, a picturesque space was synonymous with a space that would automatically make me insanely productive and happy with my work.
But it…didn’t. In a twisted way, I had turned the “clean place, clean headspace” game into a deceptive form of procrastination. I told myself that I wouldn’t be able to properly focus if my room was a mess or the kitchen floor seemed like it needed a quick mop. While I was being productive in a way, I found myself frustrated at the end of the day when over half of my to-do list sat on my desk with a severe lack of checkmarks. My bank account also felt the disappointment when I found that my freelance endeavors were not pulling in as much as I wanted them to be.
A couple of months ago, I started doing something I considered a failed writer cliche and slightly gross: I sat in my unmade bed, dirty laundry from the night before still on the floor, desk a wreck, and started to do work. This was doubly hard because A.) I am something of a neat freak, if that wasn’t made clear before, and B.) this was not how I pictured myself as a freelance writer. My life was supposed to be full of hard work, but also dreamy. I was supposed to be like all of the lifestyle bloggers I followed and worshipped, despite not having the five person design team to help me create the perfect tousled bed look.
At first I found myself wanting to take “breaks” between tasks just to “tidy up a bit,” but I didn’t let myself. Despite the crawling feeling under my skin that working from my bed somehow made me less professional and a fraud, I pumped through my day. The first few days were rough, but slowly, I found myself being more productive than I had in months.
I found myself going through emails much quicker. Researching for articles I pitched became more exciting. I would take a break every now and then to tidy up, but that is because I had just had a killer three hour non-stop outlining session for a feature I had put on the back burner for months. I was being the person I wanted to present myself as.
As I write this, I am actually sitting at my desk. I know, I know, it seems to negate all of the backhanded praises I have just given to working from bed. But for me, I don’t think it was ultimately about the bed versus the desk; I think I was just hooked on an idea of how my life should look, when frankly, no one is looking at me as I type my freelance pieces or take photos of my candles for my Etsy shop. It’s just me, my wiry-haired chihuahua and fatter-and-holier-than-thou calico with me in my room as I hustle. With 24/7 access to social media (which I love, don’t get me wrong), I felt like my work life had to be socially-presentable 24/7, especially since writing from home and working at a school part time isn’t exactly the stable career path I anticipated after graduating college.
But guess what? It’s working for me. And writing anywhere—whether it be on my unmade bed snuggled up next to my pup, at a someone pristine desk littered in Girl Scout cookie boxes, or at the completely Instagrammable coffee shop near me—is now my focus. I’ve let go of the need to “prove” that I am a hardworking, almost-adult via traditional workspace. Plenty of adults work from bed. Henri Matisse did it. Mark Twain wrote in bed. I write from bed. If you work from a picturesque desk, no hate from this lady: just do the damn thing.