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 Margo Berendsen, author of that fun blog Delusions at High Altitude.

Welcome Margo!


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?


My hidden talent is playing Nerts, the best card game ever. But I’m better known for my delusional belief that mythical creatures are real. They can be sometimes found hiding in maps (my day job is analyzing digital maps, which is almost as much fun as writing).

Besides writing and mapping, my other hobbies are riding horses, hiking in the mountains, and sitting on my back porch watching my kids play. I nearly always have a cup of tea and book near at hand. I read and write primarily young adult and middle grade stories because I love the sense of wonder and discovery that you can find in them.


On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

My day job requires a desk, so when I write I avoid desks at all costs. My writing space changes with the seasons. In the winter, I’ll pull up a comfy chair near our woodstove; in the summer I sit by the window looking out on my garden.  But mostly I work in my bedroom, because it has the least amount of distractions. Just give me my laptop, Lizzie, and lots of pillows.

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

See the picture!

 margo's writing space


On Writing

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

I started writing around age 10 after reading Lassie Come Home – I came up with a near knock-off (with a horse instead of dog). Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Mary O’Hara are my most influential authors, but I have many others too. Most recently I’ve been captivated by the writing of Rachel Hartman in Seraphina.


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

My worst distraction is a good book that just begs me to keep reading it. Over the years I’ve developed all sorts of nifty tricks for getting into writing mode. If I ever remember any of them, I’d be glad to share.


3. Why do you write?

Because of writer’s high:  when I hit my writing stride and the words and ideas start flowing, it’s one of the best  feelings in the world. Writing also helps me sort out my issues and remember my passions. I love moments that make me catch my breath and wonder, things that catch me by surprise and make me scramble for a paper and pen to write them down before I forget.



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

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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35 Responses to “Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Margo Berendsen”

  1. I love seeing Margo here. What a great photo. Cats are good writing companions.

  2. M.J. Fifield says:

    Love the picture. Although my cats are terrible writing companions.

    It’s also interesting that when she’s writing, she avoids desks at all costs. I love my desk, but I understand that if my day job required one, I’d probably do the avoiding thing, too.

  3. What a great answer to ‘why do you write?’ I love that moment when I catch my breath because I know something great is happening!

  4. Margo says:

    Thank you Nutschell! Now I need to find a similar post about you to get to know you better, too. This is a great idea!

  5. Margo says:

    Thank you Nutschell! Now I need to find a similar post about you to get to know you better, too. This is a great idea!

  6. I’ve seen Margo around and love learning more about her and her writing process.

  7. Love the picture with all the stuff going on in Margo’s space. It’s true for me as well that writing helps me remember the things in life that I’m passionate about. It’s nice knowing Margo a little better.

  8. Love the cat! This has convinced me I really need a laptop!

    BTW, Nutschell, I lost your email asking me to do this. Can you resend, please? Thanks!

  9. Great interview.

    Your writing space looks cozy, Margo, but my back couldn’t take that. I have to have my office chair. :)

  10. Lexa Cain says:

    I adored Margo and her description of her workspace — especially the picture with all the funny captions! She reads for the same reason I do, that sense of wonder and discovery that other worlds can give you. :-)

  11. Jemi Fraser says:

    Nice! I don’t use a desk at home either – love my comfy chairs :)

  12. Pat Hatt says:

    Yes cat hair can surely distract, especially when it goes up ones nose.

  13. Cherie Reich says:

    It’s nice learning more about Margo! Love her cat! And I haven’t heard of the card game Nerts before.

  14. Great photo of your writing space, Margo! I love that writing high as well. :)

  15. Tolkien and Lewis are early influences for me as well. Nice to meet you, Margo!

  16. Bish Denham says:

    I’d love to be able to write in bed .But if I did I’d have paper and notebooks and three ringed binders all over the place. Then I’d have to pick it all up so I could sleep. A desk and ironing board work best for me. :)

  17. tcavey says:

    When I read the answer to #3 I felt as if I were reading my own words. That’s how I feel about writing. Writing isn’t just a passion for me, it’s a way I can sort out my thoughts and feelings. It helps me work through things. It invigorates me when I’m in my stride!

  18. DEZMOND says:

    ah, yes, cats are a part of the setting of every writer’s chambers :)

  19. Mary Pax says:

    Great to meet Margo! I usually have a cat on my desk when I work. She seems to think I need a lot of help.

    Happy Wednesday, Shell!

  20. Great to find Margo here and see her special work space and feline muse.

  21. mshatch says:

    Hi Margo! Great answers and boy do agree with you about the purrs (yay) and cat hair (nay)!

  22. I can relate to a fur-lined keyboard.

  23. Nas says:

    Great eMeeting Margo here today!

    All the best!


  24. Akoss says:

    I’m so glad I stopped by today. I had no idea you were being featured.
    I love that picture and the cat looks sooo serious. lol
    It was great reading and learning new things about you. :)

  25. Great to meet Margo. I love reading your writer’s workspace series. A good book (oh and the damn internet) are my biggest distractions. Cute kitty!

  26. Wendy says:

    Favourite author – JK Rowling

    Hours spent writing – anything from a meager hour till I’m almost asleep on my keyboard. Just depends.

    Why do I write? Because there’s voices in my head wanting to be heard. Well, that’s what I tell people anyway :)

    Interesting post!

  27. Meradeth says:

    I love that you love maps, Margo! I think that’s awesome :) Great interview–so fun getting to know other writer’s habits!

  28. Michael Pierce says:

    I concur with not wanting to write on a desk after sitting at one all day at work. Thanks for a little glimpse into your writerly life! :)

  29. I love Nertz Margo! Those games always get intense. You always have interesting interviews Nutschell.

  30. Robyn Engel says:

    Lizzie looks like a sweet writing companion.

    Nice spotlight. Thank you, Margo and Nutschell.


  31. I never thought about the writing high before, but it’s so true. When you hit a word count beyond what you were expecting or the story flow or your get a great idea, you really do feel high.

    (PS. You didn’t miss the agent announcement on my blog. I didn’t make one. I just listed my agent in the side bar. This was the first week I mentioned it. Too many writers land agents, make a big deal over it on their blog, and a year later the relationship is over. I decided to save the announcement for if I land a book deal).

  32. I love this writer’s space, so real to life. Put a few kids in the picture and you have me :)

  33. deniz says:

    Lovely to “see” you Margo! I like your cat/hobbit/inspiration writing centre!

  34. Julie says:

    It was nice getting to know Margo, and seeing her creative workspace! Thanks Nutschell!

  35. LD Masterson says:

    Does the purring make a difference? I have a furry keyboard, courtesy of my writing buddy, but she’s canine so no purring. Maybe that’s why my editing keeps getting bogged down.

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