What’s In An Author’s Chair?

Photo purchased from Shutterstock

Back in 2002, author JK Rowling donated the chair she had used while writing the first two Harry Potter books to a children’s charity. Instead of donating the humble chair in its original condition (Rowling reportedly described the chair as something that could have been “purchased from a junk shop for a tenner”), she hand painted it in rose, gold, and green paints, infusing it with a bit of literary magic.

Do you gravitate to a special author’s chair while writing? If so, what is it about that particular chair (or couch, or coffee shop booth) that helps get your creative engine running?

Update: Sorry for delays in responding to folks: I’m away helping the family celebrate my father’s 90th birthday, too busy celebrating!

Photo purchased from Shutterstock

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16 thoughts on “What’s In An Author’s Chair?

  1. My writing chair is over 30 yrs old. It’s a desk chair that I move from room to room, not because it’s brimming with muse juice, but because it’s the only chair I can sit on. I would love to lounge on the sofa and write. Or go outside and get some sun while I think. But that’s not possible. I was injured in a bus accident when I was in grade school, and my spine got a little beat up. So I have my one chair. I’m not complaining, believe me. I just envy people who can write in places other than their homes, sit wherever they want and let the words flow. To me, that seems quite neat.

    • Thanks for sharing, Laurie! I would call that 30-year old chair a true and faithful friend, which is more valuable than any flighty Muse!

  2. I’m not one of the ‘write anywhere’ crowd. The only thing I’m going to do if I try to write in my recliner, for example, is sleep. 😎 I’m also not a ‘write at the cafe/bookstore’ person.

    I just sit in a regular old office chair at my desk at home. For about 20 years that chair was a cloth covered number—comfortable in every way except that for me as a short person, the seat had too much depth and the lumbar cushion only helped a little. Now I have a smaller office chair that’s more comfortable for my short nature, but it’s not cloth, which means for almost half the year you’re sticking to it, literally, here in the Phoenix metro area. 😎

    But that’s okay. I’d still rather sit in my regular old office chair at my 20 year old desk that I’ve dragged with me from apartment to apartment, because that’s where I like to write.

      • I should have said I lived in Prescott for six years without air conditioning. So I understand your sticky pain. At least I had cool mountain air occasionally. Phoenix-folks are a tough breed.

        • I love Prescott too! Sticking to a chair may not be the most fun, but I don’t mind the heat overall, because it’s better to me than freezing my butt off. Anything below 60 is too cold for me. 😎

  3. What a generous thing to do. Rowling never ceases to amaze.

    I do have a leather executive chair that I love but it’s desk-less at the moment. A friend is building me a new desk, with a natural edge (bark on). Till then, I’m stuck at the table in the sunroom. It’s all good, though. I can write almost anywhere.

  4. I spent some time and money finding a good cushion to sit on. The chair doesn’t matter, but the cushion does! It’s the PURAP gel cushion and I can sit for hours on it as compared to just about any chair seat.

  5. I don’t have a chair since I can, sorry guys, write anywhere. As long as I’m sure I’ll be sitting there for a while and no one else is around that might want to chat. But, I feel most writerly on the swing on the back porch. It’s a place where I don’t have my computer, I write on a braille tablet, so no internet, and nothing else to distract. The only danger there is reading a book, but the swing seems to knock that temptation out of me if I want to write.

  6. Since switching to lap top, that is literally where I work — on my lap. I’m a nomad, moving from sofa to cafe to bar and back to the sofa. My fave spot is in the den on a tufted velvet chaise lounge. When we moved recently, the moving guys carried it in, calling out, “Where do you want the Marilyn Monroe sofa?” The name stuck.

    • I don’t know why, but I was struck with a picture of you lying on it like Cleopatra…with a laptop.

  7. If I were bidding on JK Rowling’s chair at a charity, I would be disappointed that she repainted it and made it “pretty.” I’d want it as it was when she was writing.

    I’ve been known to write in many different environments. Back in the days of my Big Boy Job, I did most of my writing at a bar in some far-flung city. (I never like eating alone in the dining room of a restaurant.) Nowadays, 90+% of my writing is done on my laptop on my desk. I sit in the same ergonomic chair that I’ve had for at least 15 years. It fits me. Plus, I still watch my fingers when I type, so focal length comes into play.

    To work on a laptop actually on my lap, I set my computer on top of a lap-sized drafting board that my father used when he was in high school. Later, I used it to do my homework all through my childhood. If you look carefully, you can see the faded graffiti from way back when, both from my father, and from me. Later, my own son used it and contributed to the graffiti. I nothing else, we have living proof that mine is the worst handwriting in three generations of Gilstrap men.

  8. I have an ergonomic (Steel case) desk chair and work best at my desk. Can’t adjust to the smaller laptop (Surface) keyboard for writing at length. Ijust replaced my desk keyboard and it’s a fraction smaller than its predecessor, and I’m still readjusting.
    My recliner is for reading (and falling asleep). I’ve never been comfortable writing on my lap, as I need my mouse and have yet to master the touchpad thingie.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who has that issue with the touchpad. I gotta have my mouse.

  9. I tried one of those ball chairs for a while to be ergonomic but I found at night I couldn’t face it – I just wanted to be comfy:) Now I just have a regular office chair.

  10. I’m one of the minority that doesn’t write at Starbucks or from room to room in the house. I have a home office, and it’s to that room that I retreat when I need to write. As for chairs in that office, I think I’m on my third or fourth–and have yet to find the perfect one. But that’s okay. I bit of discomfort in a writer of medical thrillers seems appropriate.

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