Friday Feast: Guest Natalie Markey’s Inspirational Writing Space




Constructing an inspirational writing space for the New Year

By Natalie C. Markey


As 2011 reaches an end many of us are starting to think about our New Year’s resolution. For writers, many of our New Year’s resolutions are writing related but it doesn’t have to be about craft specifically. Sometimes the smallest and simplest things can make the biggest differences in the way you live your life. I know some of us don’t have an actual office but wherever you work, you should take it as seriously as you take your writing.


Before I had a spare bedroom I use to write from our kitchen table. For the record, I DO NOT recommend this! Every time we ate all of my notes had to be moved and things always got out of order. I spent the most of my time trying to make sense of my stuff. You really need to have a space of your own to devote to your craft. Even if it is a small card table in the corner of a room, it is better then nothing.


But this space should not be just about writing. While cleaning this week, I noticed and smiled at the pictures on my desk of my daughter playing on the beach at Lake Michigan. I laughed at the picture of snowflakes on my dog, Oscar’s nose on the very picture that was published in my first book. Now yes, the last picture ended up being career related. I have no intentions of writing about my daughter and the fun we had at Lake Michigan but whenever I hit a snag in a scene it makes me smile and takes some of the stress away when I see her trying to figure out how that sand toy works.


I also incorporate quotes around my office to inspire me like, “I’m convinced fear is at the root of most bad writing,” said by Stephen King. New York Times bestselling author Bob Mayer recently mentioned that quote on his Write It Forward Blog and I loved it.


We are so easily influenced by our surroundings. We often focus on the outlines we make and our plots and characters but our surroundings can impact our work just as well as all those craft books we read.


Construct an influential and inspirational workspace for your writing. Incorporate craft, humor and family. What do you have around your writing space that keeps you going during a rough day?


Natalie C. Markey is the author of ‘Caring for Your Special Needs Dog.’ She is a freelance journalist for multiple publications and also writes young adult and middle grade fiction. You can learn more about her at her blog, Pen to Publish and @NatalieCMarkey.


And for this Friday Feast don’t forget a tasty sweet, especially around the holidays!


Oat Mill- Chocolate Chip Cookies


Filled with chocolate chips and toasted walnuts, these cookies are just right with a glass of cold milk.


  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 12 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)


Prepare the baking sheets
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line 2 rimless baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix the dough
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in the oatmeal, chocolate chips and walnuts.

Bake the cookies
Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared sheets, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until the cookies are golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely. Makes about 60 cookies.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Baking, by Lou Seibert Pappas (Oxmoor House, 2006).

My thanks to Natalie and Oscar. These cookies will be tested in my kitchen soon!


There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing,

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous. Bob Mayer Jenni Holbrook Kristen Lamb Inspiration for Writers, Inc. Natalie Markey Amy Shojai

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

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Be well, write well