It isn’t a fancy chair. It doesn’t swivel, and I cannot ride it across the room when I randomly get the desire to touch the opposite wall for no reason. The table isn’t fancy either. It doesn’t have cabinets at the side, neither does it have that slot through which the WiFi cable goes. I bought this table 5 years ago when all I wanted was to stop writing while seated on my mattress; which at the time, also sat on the floor.
I have since upgraded my chair (slightly) because the one that I had bought then, didn’t provide for a lot of lower-back-support (which you have to consider if you’re going to be seated in it for twenty+ hours a week!). Not the table, though. The only change that I’ve made to the table, is to buy a cute, neutral-coloured table cover. Most things haven’t changed because, in this area at least, my needs are not terribly fancy. So; a table, a chair, and a computer.
Aaah, the computer 🙂
My computer-guy (when you’re not an expert in certain things, you find people who are experts, and then they’re your guys). Anyway, my computer guy says that I should stop referring to it as a computer, and start referring to it as a laptop. Apparently when I call him about bugs and such, talking about ‘my computer’ confuses him because he doesn’t know what machine I am talking about :-/. I bought this laptop second-hand (or third? who can be sure?) from a guy called Alex; who deals with this kind of refurbished merchandise. Pleasant chap. I told him what my budget was and what i’d be using the machine for; and he hooked me up with this: a Dell Inspiron Mini. I was apprehensive at first, because my previous laptop was HP and I sort of wanted to stick with that, but I got over my reservations very fast because, budget considerations. Alex gave me a complementary laptop bag and I took it home. I named it, Excalibur.
It’s handy, it’s powerful, and like the chair and table, Excalibur is not fancy. There are times when it drags its feet, and there are times when it needs to be re-started for no apparent reason. Sometimes it snores when you turn it on, sometimes its mouse-pad has got a mind of its own; but Excalibur is the vehicle through which bread, marmalade and the occasional bacon strips find their way to my table..
It is on Excalibur that I set up this website and all my other online presence. It is here that I research companies and send out emails – letting them know who I am and what I can do for them. It is on Excalibur that I have read blogs and tutorials on how to write for websites and manage social media accounts for businesses. It is here that I hone my craft; learning, practicing, diving in to do things, making mistakes, learning from them and then doing it all again. Excalibur has helped to connect me with writers and people around the world; reading their stories and sometimes, relating powerfully with them. It is also on Excalibur that I have watched weird tutorials that I’d never expected I would need! Like that one time when I had just moved house and needed to connect coaxial cables to set up my TV aerial. I didn’t know how, but after watching the tutorial, I got it done.
More recently, Excalibur is also where my little missy, Ella (6 years old) plays computer games. Games like purble palace (i think it’s called), and NFS Underground; because apparently a computer-game-menu is nothing without, “ile ya gari”.
Excalibur also has two stickers of Dora the Explorer pasted on its cover, don’t judge. Considering the powerful name that this laptop carries, the stickers may seem like a bit of an oxymoron, but this is how we roll.
I often imagine that when I send out proposals to companies, the business owners who read those proposals create a mental picture of me through my words and through the way that we communicate over the phone. They probably imagine that I am contacting them from an executive suite of offices. An executive suite in which I have an assistant who handles phone calls while I am in the proverbial zone – drumming out copy. Or maybe she handles my calls while I hold meetings and presentations in the conference room. They probably imagine that my assistant and I have those desks that have cabinets at the sides and a slot for the WiFi cable. Perhaps they also imagine me seated in a chair that swivels, periodically kicking off and riding this chair to the opposite wall because I can. They imagine me swiveling distractedly in this chair; with the tips of my fingers formed into a thoughtful steeple and reading glasses perched on my forehead, while a nice lady in a well-pressed uniform serves me coffee – white and not-too-strong, because that’s how I like it.
Not in these parts though. In these parts, you walk over to the kitchen and pour your own coffee. There isn’t a swivelling chair (yet), and there are no shenanigans where you kick off and ride your chair to the opposite wall for no reason. Here, you have to be more creative with your shenanigans; they don’t come that easily. These parts require you to manage your own time, budget, clients and projects. You dig-in your heels and use your resources because bread, bacon and marmalade are favourable outcomes. You reach out to srangers and woo them. You find out what their websites, blogs, newsletters and social media pages need; and with this information, you woo strangers. You find the words to tell them that with their message, your words and the Internet, you can create beautiful, melodious harmony for their relationship with their clients.
In these parts, it is you who has to decide to switch off that episode of How to Get Away with Murder, right in the middle of a lecture by Annalise Keating. You switch it off because you have timelines to meet, clients to whom you need to deliver results, and a white, princess’y bunk-bed to buy for your daughter. In these parts, you have to be the one to pace yourself; determining when you need a day off, knowing your limits and acting accordingly. In these parts, you also have to be the one to decide how much you’re going to read, study, research and grow; so that you can consistently provide value to your clients.
Here, we also treat Excalibur with respect. We do not give him cute nicknames like Cal, Carl, Exca or Carli; and we do not write the first letter of his name in lowercase. We do not place books or other things on top of him, and since he started doing that snoring-while-starting-up thing a few months back, we no longer burden him with multi-GBs of Dr. Who and other TV series.
They’re not fancy, these parts; but they work. And what else can a girl ask for from a work-space, than a space that works? Just a table, a chair and the girl who wields Excalibur.
Image credit: 1stackablechairs.com and columbiarising.com (respectively)