What My Very First Writing Desk Looked Like

What My Very First Writing Desk Looked Like

Ah, my first desk. I suppose I feel about it like most teenage boys feel about their first cars.

Recently, I was digging through old family photo albums (you know, the non-digitized kind) in search of something I wanted for my upcoming courseΒ How to Write Amazing Character Arcs. While in the midst of all those Fujifilm artifacts of my childhood, I stumbled on a snapshot my mom had taken of me at my very first desk. (Aww! How cute!)Β 

Me at my first desk at age 13.

The calendar says it was taken in February 1999, which would have made me thirteen. A year earlier I had started a newsletter calledΒ Horse Tails, whichΒ was, of course, about horses. I wrote it for five years, through high school, during which time I ground out 60 issues and almost three times that many short stories and articles.

Horse Tails Newsletter

Below is a closer look at my desk. Hover your cursor over the pic and click on the black dots to get more info. (If you’d like to see what my desk looks like these days, click here).

Let’s chat! Do you remember your first desk? What treasures were on it? Tell me in the comments!

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  1. Cool! A trip down memory lane. That’s uber cute! A little Weiland! You were a full fledged writer at 13! I see where your habit of writing comes from now.

  2. Impressive. And the fact you were writing that much at such a young age. Wow, congrats! I didn’t get a desk (of my own) to write on until I was 45, more than two decades ago. Of course, writing before that meant pen and paper (at the time I hated writing with a pencil.

  3. Mine was a step at the top of the back stairs. My secret writing life. No photos, just memories.

  4. There wasn’t a desk in my childhood. I did all my homework at the kitchen table — probably so my parents could keep an eye on me and make sure it was schoolwork I was reading, and not a library book. LOL. All my early writing was done at the kitchen table, too, or in a notebook on my lap. The first desk I remember was the one we bought for our son.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Hah! Did you ever do like Anne Shirley and try to hide a novel behind your school book?

      • Anne Shirley! Kindred spirit. First time a book really made me cry–Matthew. πŸ™ Stuck with me all these years. I re-read the whole series, well, and Emily too, quite often.

        • K.M. Weiland says:

          I read the Anne books over and over when I was young. They still have a place of honor on my shelf.

  5. What an amazing kid! Love this. πŸ™‚

  6. Ha! I love it!!! And I love that pic of you when you were young. Cool beans, kiddo! <3

  7. that’s really cool! thanks!

  8. You did indeed rock it. It looks great. I’m glad the “how-to” link is on it–wink, wink.

  9. While I did have a desk in my childhood, I was never there. Probably was outside somewhere terrorizing the neighborhood. Homework was done mainly at the kitchen table when my uncle was drawing his artwork. If we happened to bump the table for any reason, he’d let us have it.

    It’s cool that you did that in your early years. You should include that in your memoir and autobiography. *he he he* πŸ™‚

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Yes, the sad thing about being a writer is you spend way too much time inside. From the moment I started writing at 12, my outdoors romping time went way down.

  10. remusmdh says:

    First, those “flicker” monitors were caused by the very very bad default device driver windows had for monitors. It was typically set to the lowest possible refresh rate. If you turned it up, that flicker and all the eye problems it caused, went away. I was building computers back in those days, and that default refresh rate caused me all sorts of eye pain until I learned that lesson, lol.

    Second, OMG do I now feel old. 1999, 13? Arrrggghhh…

    Third, my first story, at 13 in 1983, was written at a desk constructed of a piece of plywood laid over the top of four plastic, milk cartons. When we later moved that desk was taken from me and I didn’t have another one for a couple of years. And that desk is ironically still in storage “somewhere”, lol.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Yeah, those flicker monitors were horrible. I literally went from 20/20 vision to being insanely nearsighted.

      • remusmdh says:

        I have a migraine tendency, luckily not the full condition, and those monitors were… Well there was a very strong motivation go fix the problem, lol. Thankfully, modern monitors are usually some kind of flat screen and those do not have the problem the picture tubes in those earlier ones caused. Heck, these days, there is almost no way nor reason to CHANGE refresh rates from the default. And it can break a digital flat screen, lol.

  11. Twenty years your senior. Omg.

  12. Catherine H. says:

    My first “writing desk” was a table I had in my room when I was five. I would sit at that table and write and illustrate “books” about a little girl named Jane. I insisted it was spelled “Jan”. We still have a few of them. My mom thinks they’re cute. I think they should be burned.
    My first actual writing desk is the one I have in my room now and it’s not even a desk. It’s a shelving unit with one of the shelves at desk height.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Ah, never burn that stuff! In the wise years of my early teens, I burned some of my childhood journals. I would so love to be able to go back and read them today.

      • Catherine H. says:

        Even if I wasn’t too lazy to do it in the first place, my mom wouldn’t let me anyway. And yeah, I know about getting rid of journals. I threw away two I wrote during sixth grade and I wish I hadn’t.

  13. robert easterbrook says:

    Yesterday, I sat next to a young woman in a workshop who was BIG into horses, and the first thing that came to mind was you! haha And I mentioned you. πŸ˜‰

    Oh, and my ‘first’ writing desk was smaller than yours. πŸ˜‰

    Then I progressed to the kitchen table (for more room) until I got a better desk.

    Now, I work anywhere, anytime, on anything, including my lap.


  14. Ah, those huge monitors that had to be put in the corner of the desk. My dad still puts his monitor in the corner instead of right in front of him, even though he now has a flat screen one.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Hah! You know, I hadn’t even thought about why the monitor was in the desk corner. :p But, yeah. Wow, that really takes me back.

  15. R R Willica says:

    My first desk was a table and it had my mom’s Underwood typewriter on it. Not sure how old it was, maybe from the 1940s. It was the same typewriter she used to type her master’s thesis. I painted the bottom half with liquid paper when I was nine.

    Once she decided I was serious about writing she bought me a Brother’s word processor when I was twelve. After she passed I wrote my first novel on it, a fantasy adventure staring a fairy and and elf which ended up around 60 thousand words. I was 13. Without her guidance that manuscript just gathered dust, and it was the beginning of understanding that if you want to reach your goals it’s up to you to make it happen.

  16. Candace C. says:

    I love this! So neat to take a trip down memory lane with you! I didn’t officially get a personal desk until I bought myself a little, solid oak roll-top one when I was thirteen. I still love it! Before then, I wrote anywhere and everywhere; outside, at the computer, sitting on the floor of my bedroom. Good memories πŸ™‚

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      I’ve always loved rolltops. One of these days I’m definitely going to treat myself to one.

  17. In 1999 you were 13 years old? Wait, I thought you were older than me! o_0 Sheesh, we could have gone to high school and hung out together. My goodness.

    I wasn’t lucky like you. I never truly had a desk I could say was my own until recently. Before that, all my writing and other work was done on notebooks as I held them in my lap either in my bed or on the couch. (Bad for the back, by the way.) While I lived briefly in North Carolina with my dad and his wife, she let me sleep in her office and let me have full run over the desk that was in there– and it was heaven! Drawers down along both sides of the seat, a small drawer directly in front of me where I kept my pencils and blank paper, and a pull-out tray to one side of me to rest my arm on or cram extra paper onto to write or draw. I could fit most of my writing and art supplies in that sucker, plus my diabetes supplies and a few books. Big surface area, which I filled with notebooks, a calendar, and a day planner, and there was an adjustable lamp at one corner. TT^TT Man, I miss that thing!

    Right now I have a school desk that a neighbor was throwing away, because the only reason HE was keeping it was to store his video games, and he got a new TV center to replace it. Tiny little thing; I’m the only person in the house who can fit in it (semi-)comfortably, but unfortunately I keep letting it get overrun with junk that I stack on top of it. :/ I also don’t use it as much as I could be because my husband and I share a laptop for our collaborative writing, and there ain’t no way in heckles that he’s going to squish his freakishly huge self in that tiny little corner of the room we have cleared out for it. πŸ˜› On top of that, my artwork now relies heavily on Photoshop.

    Poor little table, I bet it cries itself to sleep now…

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Well, I was homeschooled, so I don’t think our lockers would have been near each other. πŸ˜‰

  18. I remember a while back my mom brought our grandmother’s old word processor. A computer made solely for writing? I was ready to give it a go! I ended up writing a short story in the classic fairy-tale style, with dragons and everything. I mean, sure, there may have ended up being a coin slot on on the back of the dragon’s neck, so maybe not *classic* classic… But hey, whatever the plot calls for, right? πŸ˜›
    Needless to say, our desk went from “computer desk” to legitimate “writing desk” for a while.

    It’s awesome to see how seriously you took your writing back then. My desk when I was younger was always too cluttered to do much with except hope that the keyboard didn’t fall off into your lap. Nowadays I use a laptop (which I guess kind of means the keyboard is *always* in my lap), which works well with my schedule, though I look forward to the day I have dedicated desk space again. πŸ™‚

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      I like the portability of taking my laptop around with me. But I find the keyboard really awkward and uncomfortable for my wrists, so somehow I always end up staying at my desk.

  19. I think those of us who write loved writing from a young age. It is great to look back and recognize how far we have come. The internet has changed the world in more ways than one.

  20. Gary Townsend says:

    My very first writing desk wasn’t a desk. Instead, it was my dad’s old drafting board set on top of two large ceramic elephants from Vietnam, with me sitting on a swiveling rattan chair from Thailand between them, and my parent’s old Olivetti-Underwood Studio 44 manual typewriter sitting on top of that drafting board. Now *that’s* old skool! LOL!

    My father was in the US Air Force, and we were living in Bangkok, Thailand, when my parents bought those elephants and the rattan furniture. This was back in 1971-1974, when the Vietnam War was still going on (okay, I’ve just shown my age, kinda sorta LOL yeah, I’m one of those for whom the idea of “googling something” originally meant using the library card catalog). Speaking of Thailand, I taught myself to type on that old Olivetti-Underwood typewriter while sitting on the balcony of the apartment where we lived in Bangkok, overlooking the neighbourhood swimming pool, with my mum’s old typing manual sitting beside the typewriter so that I could do the prescribed exercises. By the time I got into high school (which was in England, not too far from Oxford β€” my mum’s from London, btw), I was speeding along in typing class at 50wpm while my classmates struggled to get to 20wpm.

    Finally, regarding Tina’s comment that “those of us who write loved writing from a young age,” I say definitely. At least in my case, I know that’s true. Long, long ago, in a southland far, far away, in Biloxi, Mississippi, I wrote stories when I was all of 5 and 6 years old, some of which were speculative fiction. I think writing is an incurable disease, ‘cuz I haven’t been able to stop.

  21. Oh… I guess I had a desk once… Yes. There was a desk. Home made and rustic. So little space there, those old monitors where too big (and so small). Later I have one with space for handwriting… Oh! I had this folder there with my “works in progress”! That folder was a reason to write; it was just a folder but… I don’t know. I just loved to go there, open it, and continue with the story. Now where is it…? Is an archive folder, with some of my last essays (I don’t write that any more).
    Now I just have a desktop, I guess.

    It looks like you really really really loved horses. Do you like them so much these days?

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Horses were a formative part of my life, but I don’t own them anymore, so mostly they just provide good memories. πŸ™‚

  22. Ooh, that’s an awesome writing space, and such an inspiring story! Newsletter writer at thirteen! The desk at which I wrote my first story was a bulky desk-and-shelves combination, intended for desktop computers (the popular IKEA kind). That story, and the desk, thankfully never saw the light of day, and these days I usually end up in a very-much-not-ergonomic position in my couch, despite having a very nice, and comfortable desk. Whatever works, I guess. πŸ™‚

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Yes, sometimes the problem is that the most ergonomic writing options don’t lend themselves to the most conducive environments for writing. :p

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