Look at my Desk – Michele Corriel

Back on track again with a peek into the Creating Places of some of my book-creating friends from all over the world. I just love uncovering the similaraites – and differences – between all our Creative Places. This time we Look at the Desk of my delightful friend from Montana (USA), Michel Corriel, another awesome SCBWI Regional Advisor.


This is my Bat Cave. My Fortress of Solitude.

I arrive here daily at approximately 9am and start a list. This consists of things that must be done today, things that should be done today and things that better be done by the end of the week. I’m very hard on myself. It’s probably why I’ve done well working for myself. No one else will.

Let me introduce you to my desk. Notice the healthy snack (grapes). That’s for show. My real snacks are hidden in a bottom drawer. But don’t tell anybody, especially my daughter. The post-it notes stuck to my printer remind me of special phone numbers – people that haven’t paid me for work I did. There is always something in the printer because, let’s face it; I need more paper on my desk!

On the left hand side is reference material for a magazine article. (Let’s not talk about deadlines, okay?) There are disks with various photographs on them I’ll pull up when I’m trying to get inspired … totally not wasting time and I have a small yellow pad that I keep notes for another project along with the digital recorder.

On the right hand side is my assignment book, my holy bible, a combination of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Tony Stark’s blueprint for Iron Man. Without this I would be lost. It has due dates, payments, word counts, names and phone numbers for every story and magazine article that has a deadline associated with it. The best part of the book is looking at all the giant check marks. They mean the piece is finished and out the door (and the cheque is in the mail). Yeah! (This is so celebratory that I often reach for the hidden snacks as a reward.)

Under that is my large pad where I keep my notes on the novel I’m working on. Depending on whether I’m working on a first draft or a revision, the notes can be very extensive or accidentally become another book.

Behind my desktop computer screen is a file of ideas for my next book, and the next one, and maybe even the next one. Half-covered is The Essential Rilke and T.S. Elliot’s Four Quartets. These are for inspiration. (Again, not to be confused with procrastination, a talent and an art-form in some writers’ circles.)

Under my desk is my foot heater. I’d marry it if there wasn’t a law against it. It does keep my feet warm – and the white noise it produces seems to make everything all right. Music is too distracting.

My desk faces a window that I can’t really see out of it. My screen takes up most of my vision and the window is so dirty I can only see if the sun is shining or if it’s snowing; these conditions are not good. If it’s sun-shiney outside I want to be outside. If it’s snowing, I’m too depressed to write. So I fill the shelves with books and whatever flotsam has crossed my path lately. Stuff is a good barrier. It puts that ever present wall between me and reality. It allows me to delve into the world of fiction, of creativity, to go the place where that little tiny seed of an idea has been nurtured enough to take root and grow.

For me that growth requires lots of papers, notes, post-its, random poetry … and snacks.

Michele Corriel is a childrens’ book author and freelance writer living and working in Belgrade, Montana. Her work is as varied as the life she’s led, from the rock/art venues of New York City to the rural backroads of the West. Published regionally and nationally, Michele has received a number of awards for her non-fiction magazine work as well as her poetry. Her first book, Fairview Felines: A Newspaper Mystery, Blooming Tree Press, came out in 2010. Her second book Weird Rocks, Mountain Press, will be out in the Spring of 2012 (just about now!). She is represented by the McVeigh Agency.

You can find Michele at http://www.michelecorriel.com/.

One Response to Look at my Desk – Michele Corriel

  1. Thanks for sharing. My desk looked very much like this a week ago. As did the entire floor of my office. But I cleaned it for the first time in two years, having just finished two projects. I barely recognize my own desk.

    Mary July 12, 2012 at 5:15 am Reply

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