She Noted: The Anatomy of a Copywriter’s Desk

What’s in a desk? A desk by any other name would still be as untidy…

Were I writing an ode to my desk at work, that would probably be it – partly down to the oftentimes chaotic, creative energy that fuels my day, and then my love of well, stuff. At home, I have a cabinet of curiosities and a recently acquired kitchen dresser – both are filled to the brim with all manner of antiques, vintage pieces and collectable porcelain. Do these serve a purpose beyond my own aesthetic enjoyment? Well of course they do! They tell stories, they take me back to a certain time or place and they’re a part of what makes coming home all the more worthwhile. At work, I believe that my desk within the office is my habitat and rightly or wrongly, it’s an extension of my personality. Naturally, it needs to function as a desk, with what I need close to hand in order to get the job done, but it can also be mindful of how I work best – and that’s with the things that inspire me. Surveying said desk this morning, I thought it might be fun to dissect it in the context of my day job as a copywriter and content creator. To give the briefest of backgrounds, I’ve landed doing something that I love; something that, rather brilliantly, combines all of my interests and keeps my mind ticking as it should. It also helps writing for brands that I truly care about, though I haven’t always been this lucky. If you can get to know someone from the contents of their handbag, then you most certainly can by way of their executive clutter! With that all bubbling away in mind, let us away on a somewhat off-kilter, whimsical tour….

Front and centre are the latest editions of our print catalogues – a stack of these is, I quickly learnt, essential. As my role involves elaborating on the catalogue for online descriptive and editorial content, I think of the catalogue as my gospel or road map, steering me to where I need to go. They’re very useful for scribbling on to plan pinterest boards and stories for social, along with content themed around a particular edit. There’s a whole other team of fellow creatives and buyers involved in assembling the catalogue, so it’s my first port of call for getting to know the collections each season and plotting them into a wider marketing scheme.

I also use the space between my keyboard (don’t look too close, it’s rather dusty!) and computer screen to prop up cards that make me smile. Since Baby Yoda can honestly do no wrong, he presides over my typing like a zen master; content just to be a part of the party.

Between my twin-screens (never underestimate the power of two screens when multi-tasking and juggling deadlines), I keep some blank cards – in case I ever need to pen a quick thank you. I also keep a small empty jam jar filled with mini hand creams and my relaxing rollerball from Oliver Bonas (never underestimate the power of essential oils to soothe overwhelming, especially chaotic moments) – the hand cream is to make my hands feel loved having bashed away at a keyboard all day and flexed some mad shapes flicking through notes and writing things I must not forget down. I keep my appreciation of Anne Boleyn alight with my Book of Hours trinket box – which is actually a part of one of our collections. It’s there for no other reason than liking it.

I’ve never thought much about coins, until I discovered the Royal Mint’s Paddington set. As this 50p is literally described as featuring Paddington ‘politely raising his hat’, of course I could never bring myself to spend it. Instead, it’s stuck with blue tack to my monitor; a nice little reminder that it always pays to be polite and considerate.

The left side of my desk is a bit of a muddle, but it certainly has character. I keep the vitamins that I’d otherwise forget to take here, along with the water that our team runs on and a sizeable mug for generous cups of tea at a moments notice. I have a small box for post-it notes (essential) and paracetamol (essential), both of which are needed and related to intense bursts of activity – resulting in either a fabulous innovation or, less favourably, a migraine. For when it’s the summer and the office becomes a hot house, I have my trusty USB fan. I also have an accurate portrait that a friend drew for me and my rallying cry of DO WHAT YOU LOVE by way of a quotation card.

I keep my planner as a monthly view, which means very small boxes to write anything in – this is ideal for me though, as it allows an overview of the bigger picture. In copywriting, I sometimes find that time runs away with as you can get so engrossed in what it is you’re doing. You’ll start on a Monday and before you know it, its been two weeks. My schedule allows me to be accountable for deadlines and to plot in advance; for the smaller day-to-day tasks that crop up, I keep a dated list in a small blue notebook that I then tick off for the sheer satisfaction of ticking things off! With a schedule like mine, the tippex mouse is a dear friend; one who often tidies up any last-minute changes.

I found the fabric phone case on Etsy and had it custom made for my phone, I call it my grandma case and ran with this when choosing the pattern. I’m always misplacing my phone, so a large padded case that’s easy to spot is a must. Regardless, I still manage to lose my phone (and the case) quite frequently, but it’s nice when it works. The purse is for when I really need a bakewell tart or coke zero to power through the last of a big project, usually called for when I’m working on a big seasonal upload. These involve mammoth spreadsheets and a great deal of concentration; I’ll likely plug in the headphones that I have at the ready and listen to a history podcast or a classic audiobook to focus. If it’s a classic that I’ve read before, it creates lovely, soothing white noise at an ideal tempo to write to. If it wasn’t enough to be spending most of my day reading and writing, I also have a few books from home to dip in and out of on my break. It’s a useful habit, as you encounter so many different styles of writing that way!

Finally, there are my photos. Featuring my fiance, who is a teacher, so that when I feel swamped, I can just look up and imagine all the marking that he’s doing at that exact moment. That’s how I know we’re really in it together.

Desks are awfully insightful and I hope that you’ve enjoyed having a jolly round mine! Ultimately, I think that wherever you work and whatever you’re doing, it’s important to find what works for you. I’ve based my working philosophy to-date on a series of trial and error and by knowing that there are so many different ways to get the job done; you just have to find what works for you and what feels comfortable. The rest follows.

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