Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Barbara Techel, author of Through Frankie’s Eyes: One woman’s journey to her authentic self and the dog on wheels who led the way.


Welcome, Barbara!


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?


Author Barbara Techel

As I’ve moved into my early 50s I’m enjoying life so much more than I did when I was in my 20’s and 30’s. The almost daily worries of what others thought of me, being very shy, and making choices based on what society thought best for me, are but a distant memory.

Having worked in the corporate world for over 20 years, I found the courage to listen to my inner voice and pursue writing – and writing what I adore best – which is dogs and animals. The genre I write in is nonfiction.

For the past twelve years I’ve been deeply interested in self-exploration and spirituality, learning many of my lessons about life from my dogs – most profound and life-altering lessons especially came from my first Dachshund, Frankie, who became paralyzed and needed a dog wheelchair due to disc disease.

Besides spending a lot of time with my two dogs, Kylie and Gidget, I love to read, practice yoga every day, walk, date night once a week with my husband, John and time with family and friends. And my new, recent interest is making SoulCollage cards and I love the process so much I took the training to become a facilitator. I love how art can enhance the writing process.


On Workspace

1. Where do you do most of your writing?

Most of my writing is done at my writing desk in my 10 x 12 writing cottage which my husband dubbed MySpace.calm after he completed building it over five years ago.

techel writing cottage outside 5

It is such a wonderful gift to have had my talented carpenter husband build this quiet and beautiful space for me. But more than that, it was that he truly understood how important it was for me and my work.

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2. Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

You know, I don’t remember!  But I’m sure I picked it up from a 2nd hand shop because I do remember painting it my favorite colors, periwinkle and chartreuse, though you can’t see the chartreuse legs as I now have a skirt around my desk to hide my files and printer underneath. But at one time, I used my desk as a craft table.

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I arrange my work area at least twice a year.

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In the warmer months I love to have my desk facing the deck and my open door.

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When the door is open I have a bird bath and hummingbird feeder right outside it. I love to see and hear the birds splashing when taking a bath, and hear the hummingbirds when they flutter to the feeder.For such tiny birds they sometimes sound like small jets coming in for a landing!

Stained Glass piece

3. What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

Important on my desk are the following:

*Photos of my past and current dogs.

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*Stones and crystals that have meaning to me or that I’ve written special words on.

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*Journals that hold quotes I collect.

*The books, Still Writing by Dani Shapiro and Animal Spirit Guides by Dr. Steven Farmer.

*My weekly schedule.

*A mock-up cover of a book I’m working on if I have one that I’m writing.

*Always a glass of water and/or cup of tea.


4. What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I love that my workspace is separate from our home. I actually take 12 steps each morning from my bedroom patio doors to my writing cottage just about every day, always Miss Gidget (my current Dachshund) leading the way.

I love that I have seven windows in my workspace. I love having a lot of light filter into my space and it feels as though I’m outside. I have to feel like I’m part of the world, but yet feel secluded and have quiet.

I love being surrounded by photos of my dogs, plus my hanging fairies and wind chimes. One very favorite item of mine that I see each time I look up from my desk is a stained glass piece my mom gave me that was custom-made. It is of my second Dachshund, Joie, who was also in a dog wheelchair like my first dog, Frankie.

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5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

My favorite beverage is wine. Ha!  But seriously, I don’t drink wine while I write – but I love to have water or tea beside me when I’m writing. Though drinking wine could put an interesting twist on things!

 young barb

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

My all-time favorite author is Jon Katz. He writes about life on Bedlam Farm with his donkeys, dogs, chickens, cats, sheep and artist wife, Maria. I’ve read all his books and read his blog every day.

I remember my eighth grade English teacher, Miss Phieffer. I wasn’t very good at English and was often frustrated trying to understand it. But one thing she told me that always stuck with me is that I was good at writing from the heart.

I’ve had many others tell me this over the years, which inspires me. I consider it such a gift if you can touch a chord in someone and connect with them, or write something that resonates with them that helps them to lead a more meaningful life.


2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

If I’m working on a book, which I just came back to doing so after abandoning a book I started a year ago, I make it a point to sit at my desk and write for at least one hour 5-6 times per week.

I also keep an online journal (a.k.a. blog) that I post to 5-6 times per week and I also write a weekly newsletter. I typically do my writing first thing in the morning. Tuesday mornings are reserved for working on my newsletter.


3. Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I do write just about every day, though I usually take one day off and that is typically a Saturday or Sunday. If I’m working on a book, plus keeping up with my online journal and newsletter I write anywhere from 2-4 hours a day.  I’ll write more per day when I’m deep into a book I’m working on.

Summer is my worst distraction.  :)  Seriously, I get more work done in the months when it is cold or not as nice out. I’m easily distracted during summer.

4. Why do you write?

I began writing as a way to share my deep love of animals and the profound wisdom I’ve gained from them. But I also write to share my voice. It is actually easier for me express myself through my writing than trying to talk something out.

As I’ve been doing this on a consistent basis for the past nine years, I’ve found that I also write to connect with other like-minded people. It is such a joy to hear from my readers when something I wrote made a difference for them.

Speaking of which, a key reason I wrote my children’s books and my memoir was, to in fact, make a difference. Frankie being in a dog wheelchair was a beautiful example for children to see their challenges in a positive way. Writing my memoir and sharing my fears and vulnerability was a way in which others could connect with me and not feel alone in their own fears. Making a difference in this way has truly been a gift in my life.

 Miss Gidget

6. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

I don’t have any techniques, really. But one thing I’ve often told other aspiring writers is to write what you are passionate about. I’ve found this to be a great motivator during those times when it feels like nothing is happening in regards to your writing. For me, it has to be more than about writing, it has to be how I can add value to another person’s life. That drives me. To make a difference makes my heart feel good.

As for a favorite quote, I love and have this quote by Dani Shapiro from her book Still Writing tacked to my bulletin board next to my desk:

I have seen again and again that when I am most emotionally specific and truthful, most fearful that I am saying too much, that is when my words find their true home. –Dani Shapiro




Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Barbara!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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13 Responses to “Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Barbara Techel”

  1. Thank you, Nustschell for the honor of being your featured writer this month!


  2. LD Masterson says:

    You have your own little writing house. Wow. Your own little writing house. How cool is that? I’m sorry, I did read the whole post. Honest. But…you have your own little writing house!

    (yeah, I’m jealous)

    • LOL, LD! I really got the idea for one when I hired a life coach to help me figure out what I wanted for my life when I was in my early 40s. She had her adorable office space above her garage and it overlooked the lake. I knew I’d want a space of my own someday too. She inspired me!
      I didn’t really have the $$$ at the time to build it, so I sold a car I had that I loved dearly – but to this day, don’t miss that car. This writing cottage is ME and continues to inspire me daily.
      I also like to share with others that even though you may not be able to have a space like this for whatever reasons, you can create a special little place of your own in a spare room or corner of your house — perhaps even just an altar. A place you can go to with things that make you happy and inspire you.
      Thanks for stopping by!


    • I’m not sure why my comments didn’t show up from yesterday, LD, but thank you for stopping by. i do love my writing cottage – but I also encourage others who may not have the space or financial means, to create a place of their very own within their home. Even just a small altar area which they can go to that inspires them – speaks to who they are.

      -Barbara :)

  3. M.J. Fifield says:

    I love the writing cottage. That’s amazing! I must have a writing cottage.

  4. I bet Frankie inspired a lot of people.
    Your writing house just rocks.
    And good to hear from you, Nutschell!

  5. […] that really is her name!) I was her featured writer for her Wednesday Writers Workspace. Take a peek if you wish! It was a fun […]

  6. That is the most inspiring writing space I’ve ever seen! What a lucky writer she is and I love her pup on wheels.

  7. It’s good to have a talented carpenter husband.

  8. Hey Nutschell! Just wanted to let you know you’re missed.

  9. What an amazing writing space! You are lucky to have a handy husband. :)

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