Tara here. Ever since I started working for myself, I’ve gone back and forth on whether I want an office to go to everyday, or if I just need to stick with the good thing I have going on—working from home. But after five years of dreaming and talking about it, I finally found the happiest mix of both—and built my own backyard office that I call “the writing shed.”
The writing shed. “Going out to the shed,” means walking down a stone path that curves through my lawn to a ten-by-twelve foot little cottage built in the back of my garden. It has lots of windows that open to the breeze, with a desk, a small sitting area, and a sleeping loft above with a skylight that looks up into the trees.
The shed is where I write, creative direct and develop brands for entrepreneurs and businesses. It’s small, this little place I sometimes call The Shire (like my own Hobbit hole made just for me), but it feels big. It feels like a dream.
It took a little time for me to just “do it.” I had to save the money, and then make the mental commitment to start the building process with uncertainties still circling my head like: “Will I actually use my writing shed? Will it be practical or just become a novelty? Will the wifi work out here? Will I slowly start migrating back into the house to work? Will the shed turn into a neglected dusty catchall, like a long unused playhouse with spiders living in the floorboards and wasps living in the rafters?!”
But the vision outweighed the doubts and I hired a contractor/carpenter who took about two months from start to finish. I’ve been working in the shed every day since. No more nomadic room-to-room working for me. Shed working is exactly what I imagined it would be.
“No more nomadic room-to-room working for me. Shed working is exactly what I imagined it would be.”
It’s not a “she-shed,” it’s my office. Just with personality and a little fantasy. I’m not out here having a tea party for one on a flowery chaise lounge. Though a lunchtime episode of Girls and a late afternoon glass of wine are a regular part of my shedworking life (so maybe the she-shed label applies part of the time!), but more than anything my office retreat is where I’ve gotten more calm, focus, and work done than I ever have before.
“My writing shed is where I’ve gotten more calm, focus & work done than I ever have before.”
When I was a teenager, my room was sacred. When I was in it, I was in my zone: reading, drawing, and creating elaborate extra credit homework projects, all while watching old reruns of my favorite eighties shows on my tiny TV, and occasionally shouting at my younger siblings in the hallway to get away from my locked door. Sometimes on rare occasions, I’d let them in.
Now that I have my own space again, it’s the same. But when I do let my two boys in the shed, they somehow seem quieter, more calm up in the loft reading, drawing, or more likely playing on the iPad, until they wander back out. They only wanted in for a little bit. Now I can let them in.
It’s the personality plus the practicalities of the shed that have made it the center of my daily routine. Maybe you’ve been dreaming of a shed of your own, too. Here’s what has made shed working a working dream for me:
– One perfect place for my laptop to live. No more moving my stuff all the time. Sure I can hop over to a coffee shop if I want a change of pace, but I love, love, love having a designated spot for my computer, plus a second monitor so I can “spread” out my work on both screens.
– Less stuff. I just need one small shelf for mail, paperwork, and miscellaneous, I don’t need drawers and files full of paper in here. But I do love a place for hanging some of my more whimsical art and giving our “magical” client-attracting Braid chalkboard a worthy sport right by the door.
– Lots of windows. I think my carpenter thought I may be crazy putting such large windows in such a small shed. The last thing I wanted was to feel cooped up. My desk sits wrapped in windows so I feel like I’m working outside, and all the natural light is great for video meetings.
– Shade and a place for stuff to grow! Light is great, but it can get hot, so we shaded the front of the shed with a light-filtering arbor which is also great for vines, which I’m trying to coax to grow as quickly as possible, to get the whole Secret Garden vibe going on.
– Other details I’m glad I added to the shed:
– two skylights, just enough to see the trees above, my sister’s idea
– a sleeping loft, I think its white ladder may be my favorite feature
– a garden gnome to guard the door, he was a shed-warming gift for Mother’s Day
– a lucky horseshoe! also gold, above the door for good luck
– my Apple TV! I may love me a garden but I still need my shows!
– you can check out My Writing Shed board on Pinterest for your own shed inspiration
Some people ask if I’m going to writing a book back in the shed. Nope! Not yet, but never say never! What I am writing is visioning, positioning and more articulate brand messages paired with design for our Braid Creative clients. If you’re wondering about working with Braid 1:1 just contact us here and tell me your vision for where you’d like to take your brand next.