A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

A Desk of One’s Own by Mo O’ Hara

I approach my desk in a pretty Virginia Woolf kind of way actually. So I think the title is justified.

My desk is nothing special to look at. It’s vintage Ikea. It’s a little small for practical purposes. It’s always, always messy. The most important thing about my desk though is that it is mine. Totally and completely ‘no one ever put a paperclip down on it without asking because I’ll notice the difference’ mine. And that makes it very very special to me.

For the first few years I wrote as an actual paid writer I had no desk. I had a well worn round wooden kitchen table that had glue, glitter,wine and chocolate stains on it. I wrote in the afternoons while the kids were at school and after I had cleaned up after supper and put them both to bed. The table was work, play and dinning for the three of us.

Then the three of us became four when my partner moved in and I started working more. We decided to take the plunge and get a loft extension. For my partner it was ‘Yaaay- we get a better bedroom a whole floor away from the kids!’ For me it was, ‘I can FINALLY have a study and a desk of my own.’

We moved upstairs to the new room. My daughter moved out of the small single room into our old bedroom and I went to Ikea to buy myself my first ever professional writer’s desk. I think this was the second smallest one they sold (there was one that flipped down from the wall but I thought that would be too tempting for small kids to send laptops flying.)

mo's desk

I am sitting at my desk now to write this blog post and I have written every book since that day here at this desk as well (except for a one book when construction was still going on at the house).   I will brainstorm on the couch or out and about. I will research on my laptop downstairs but when I want to get down to the real work of writing then it’s time to settle down at the desk and get to it.

A desk of one’s own doesn’t seem a big ask but it has been a bit of an emancipation for me and my writing. It meant that my writing was a valued thing that required a designated space of its own. And I think because of that I’ve felt valued as well. I’ve since expanded into shelving of one’s own and pretty organizational filing stuff of one’s own as well.

shelving and boxes one

My desk is cluttered with books I love, childhood toys, photos of my kids, husband and friends, my books and friend’s books and some actual practical stuff like my laptop, notebooks and some pens.

The best things that are on and around my desk though are pictures and drawings and little notes that kids who’ve read my books have sent me over the years. They are the ‘pick me up’ on the days when I can’t write a single funny word or string a sentence together that makes sense.


artwork from kids

A troubling of goldfish


My desk makes me write but my desk also makes me smile. 🙂

I wish you a desk of your own as well.

Ps. My desk also comes with obligatory grumpy cat on laptop. This does not help me write but does still make me smile.

cat on computer



186Mo O’Hara
Originally from America, Mo now lives in London with her husband, kids and two mischievous cats. Mo now has six books out in ‘My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish’ series for 7+, published by Macmillan in the UK and Feiwel and Friends in the US. The latest in the series is ‘Jurassic Carp’ which came out in July 2015. Her new picture book with Macmillan comes out in August 2016! It’s a funny, warm take on melded families called ‘More People To Love Me.’ She also wrote six books in the Ladybird series “Puddle the Naughtiest Puppy.” Mo worked as an actress and as a storyteller, touring theatres and schools all across the UK and Ireland. As well as her stories for children Mo has also written for radio and theatre and has performed her own comedy material in London and Edinburgh.


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This entry was posted on June 22, 2016 by .
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