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 Michael Di Gesu, author of that informative and fun blog Writing Art and Design.

Welcome, Michael!


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?

michael di gesu 1

Blogger Michael Di Gesu

I am a former fashion model from NYC and I currently live in Chicago. After leaving the fashion industry ten or so years ago, I dived back into the arts. I studied art and have my BFA in Illustration and Interior Design. I re-established myself as an Interior Designer nine years ago and when the economy tanked in 2009, I decided to write and illustrate a novel to keep me busy. I wrote my first MG fantasy novel in three months. The illustrations and cover took another few months… then the editing began. Little did I know then that four years later I am still on re-writes for this novel. For some odd reason I can’t let it go.

I enjoy writing in different genres. Fantasy of any kind is my favorite, but my second novel is a edgy YA contemporary, and I am currently writing a Film Noir novella set in 1940’s Chicago.

As for hobbies, I enjoy anything artistic: drawing, painting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, baking, remodeling houses, landscape designing, gardening, etc. I am into all of it. As for hidden talents, well, most people are floored by my ability at the wide range of my talents. But these are generally not hidden, but discovered as they get to know me better.


On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

My first novel was written in my newly remodeled kitchen, at the dining table. After living through six months of construction and DRAMA,  I wanted to really enjoy the space. Four years later, I now write in my fantastic new office, which I created by splitting my oversized living room. Condo living space is limited, but it can be reconfigured if you know how. This new space is amazing. Flooded with light all morning and afternoon it is the perfect place to work and write.


Michael’s office

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

My desk is a Biedermeier reproduction drawing table/desk, given to me by my first clients in Chicago nine-years ago. They had seen it in a showroom while we were shopping for their original pieces and insisted on buying it for me as my bonus. THOSE were the days.


Michael’s desk      

The arrangement needed to be functional as a drawing table too, so I kept the surface simple only placing a Christmas cactus, handcrafted teapot, lucite pencil/pen box, a small note pad, Harry potter stationary and feathered quill, and a mock copy of my first novel. These items are easy to remove when I need to illustrate or create a floor plan for a client.

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

Actually all the pieces are important to me. Since I am THE Harry Potter fan, the quill and stationery from Wizarding World are very special. The teapot is a signed one of kind piece, and it is so whimsical. The cactus dictates where it wants to live and will only bloom in the south/east corner window. So there she sits. Originally when this space was part of the living room the cactus was on a plant stand. And the lucite pen holder, not only holds my writing and drawing instruments, but also homes two beautiful bookmarks, signed by author friends. Each one hand created. So they mean a lot to me. Actually my whole work space is carefully designed with all my favorite things placed in points of honor.

I must have all my drawing supplies around me to work, but for writing all I need is my favorite mug of coffee, my computer table, and laptop. I write on my day bed.


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 the light. I have four windows that face southeast. So I have natural light to work in all morning and afternoon. Plus the entrance into the space has a large sliding glass French door. Light streams in through the arch from the living room window whether the door is open or closed. As I had mentioned before, the teapot, quill, HP stationary, and my book. I use my computer … ALL THE TIME!

tv stand

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

Coffee, coffee, and more coffee. Plus the occasional cappuccino.

 living room

On Writing

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

I have two authors who are my favorite and have inspired me. First and most importantly, JK Rowling. Harry Potter brought my love for reading fantasy back into my life. Once I discovered Rowling, I quickly found Terry Brooks while waiting for Rowling’s next book to come out. Rowling has the monopoly on creating amazing character chemistry, but Brooks has the high fantasy imagery and world building which I always try to have in all of my stories. So I learned so much from both of them.

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

Sort of … Since I work on various projects until around 2 AM, I usually start my day a bit later, around 7:30. After I snap on the coffee maker, I go into my wonderful office and flip open my laptop. I start my day blogging. After a few hours of connecting to my buddies and leaving comments, I am ready to face my writing challenges. Like so many, I constantly check emails as I edit or write. At two in the afternoon, I usually begin my design work. Make phone calls, sketch out designs or sometimes even do an illustration. My client meetings usually run after three, so if I happen to have one, I generally prepare for it in the early afternoon and leave my home by two. I return back to my writing usually when I get back from the gym around eleven and work until I drop … LOL.



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

 I don’t write every day, BUT I am always editing. I spend at least four hours a day working on something that pertains to my stories. My distractions? Two main ones: Blogging and working out at the gym/exercise. I need to keep moving.I feel it’s important to have a life outside of writing. For my first two years I was obsessed with writing and had gained over fifty pounds. It took me the next two to lose that plus another thirty. I never felt better and my writing is much stronger.


4. Why do you write?

I write because it’s part of my heart and soul. It has become my FAVORITE creative outlet. For most of my life it was drawing and painting, but for the rest of my life, it will be writing.


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

The most important tip I can ever give to a writer is to WRITE from your heart and soul. It needs to be REAL, HONEST, and PASSIONATE, because only then will it be believable. As for a favorite quote, I tweaked this one (“A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”) a bit and use my version as the header of my blog … “Creativity is a terrible thing to waste…”



Thanks, Michael, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

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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44 Responses to “Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Michael Di Gesu”

  1. So glad you spotlighted Michael. Knowing he’s a designer, I knew his workspace would be awesome and I wasn’t disappointed.

    Glad to know I’m not the only one that takes years to revise a fantasy novel. And I’m impressed writes 4 hours a day.

  2. mooderino says:

    Very stylish workspace, as I’d expect from Michael. Nice interview. Great to see two of my fave bloggers in one.

    Moody Writing

  3. What a great looking home Michael has. If I worked until 2am, I wouldn’t be up again until lunch time!

  4. Nice to see Michael here. What a nice room. And look, a corner office!

  5. What a great writing space! Love the relationship you share with your Christmas Cactus :)

    Cool interview.

  6. Good morning, Nutshell …

    Thanks for featuring me today. So nice to be here at your cozy blog!

    HI, Everyone…

    Thanks for dropping by and sharing my space with me. Right now I am currently away in Florida and MISS my office so much.

    Yes, Natalie,

    I am still revising that first novel. Glad you like my space.

    Thanks Mood,

    I’m glad it disappoint you. I worked hard at getting it JUST RIGHT!

    You’re so funny, Annalisa … I wish I could sleep until noon! But my body won’t sit still that long. Not with so many projects and bloggers to visit.

    Hi, Theresa,

    Man, it’s been ages. I need to drop by your place to say hi. When I have wifi again… I don’t have it where I’m staying in Florida. I’m currently at the local McDonald’s.

    LOL. Carol,

    Yes, that cactus is quite the fussy girl. I guess she’s like me before I have my morning CUPS of coffee.

  7. Michael’s workspace is beautiful and I love that light plays such an important part in his enjoyment of where he works. For me, it’s always about the light. Thanks for the interview. I enjoyed meeting your guest, Nutschell.

  8. Hilary says:

    Hi Nutschell .. great interview with Michael .. he is one talented man isn’t he ..

    … but don’t tell him -he might get a little pig-headed!

    Love the workspace and your ideas and thought processes .. and yes keeping moving is essential isn’t it – and you do look good as you say it worked with all that weight loss ..

    Cheers enjoy Chicago or Florida .. whereever you might be and good luck with that novel when the time comes .. cheers Hilary

  9. Lovely work space. I’ve been so busy lately that I need to declutter mine.

    Michael’s got great taste in authors.

  10. It’s great to get a glimpse into your world, Michael. What a lovely home! And I totally love that desk.

    I’ve never read Terry Brooks and now you have me very curious. Love Rowling and Harry Potter.

  11. Mina B. says:

    Excellent interview, Nut! I loved getting a glimpse into Michael’s world. It’s very lovely!

  12. tcavey says:

    Sounds like you’ve lived a fascinating life, Michael. If you lived near me I’d have you decorate my house as I can’t seem to pick a theme and stick with it.

    I’m a Rowling’s fan as well. I was sad to see the Harry Potter series end.

  13. Al Diaz says:

    That’s an amazing working place, and one amazing person. Michael, you walk your life journey hand in hand with creativity. You do all the things I love and you do them well. If dragons wore hats this would be the hats off moment. :)

  14. Pat Hatt says:

    Agreed, exercise is important to get in and have a life outside, but right now I’d have to say, what’s outside? lol

  15. Lucy Ravitch says:

    Wow, I wish my house was neat and tidy like his with lots of charm. My kids give my house a different kind of charm : ) Nice write-up!
    Kids Math Teacher

  16. Four hours a day? Whoa! I manage that during NaNo but I don’t know where I would fit it in during other times.

  17. What a lovely condo you have, Michael. Your decor is to die for. You’re so creative in so many ways.

  18. Nas says:

    Lovely place. I do believe the creativity comes from all around you!

  19. Awesome writing space! I love your desk and like you, I write with lots of coffee.

  20. Akoss says:

    Hi Michael.
    It’s such a pleasure to see your writing space. I remember last year when you shared your holiday decorations too.

  21. Thank you for the peek into your space, Michael! I’m a huge Harry Potter fan too.

  22. Jemi Fraser says:

    Great space Michael!! :) I’m a huge Rowling & Brooks fan too. I read the Shannara series soon after I’d discovered LotR a few decades ago – loved those stories!

  23. I need a writing area like that. I’m not a designer and it shows.

    I’m exhausted reading about your day, Michael. 😀

  24. Tyrean says:

    Awesome writing space! I love the light. I find that I need as much of that as I can get too. We have an office in our basement . . . and neither my husband or I use it. It’s way too dark. We both set up our laptops by windows. Light is just necessary. I loved reading about your favorite authors and your need to go to the gym. I think I need that kind of gym addiction.
    It doesn’t sound like you sleep much . . .but maybe you don’t need it. It sounds like your life is filled with creativity!

  25. Classy work space, Michael!

  26. Mary Pax says:

    I love that desk, Michael. It’s so much cleaner than mine. I write for the same reason, it’s part of me.

    Happy Wednesday, Shell!

  27. That’s a beautiful work space! Light is can be so conducive to creativity; I love that you have so many windows.

  28. Michael DI Gesu says:

    Wow, thanks for ALL the great comments everyone. And thanks again for inviting me nutshell… You are so kind!

  29. Lexa Cain says:

    I sure love Michael’s hardwood floors – they’re gorgeous. I also blog or answer emails first thing when I wake up — I’m too sleep-stupid to manage any actual writing! lol

  30. Robyn Engel says:

    Michael is a nice, multi-talented guy, and I love all the natural light he gets at his home. This is a fun series, Nutschell. Thanks.


  31. Laura Eno says:

    You are so right, Michael. Creativity is a terrible thing to waste. I love your writing space!

  32. Nick Wilford says:

    Michael has a gorgeous home and a very harmonious space to work in!

  33. Great interview and beautiful pictures.


  34. VR Barkowski says:

    Gorgeous home and workspace. I can see why you’re inspired!

  35. I love how much light gets into that space!

  36. Julie says:

    You have a beautiful home, and I really love how your floors shine! It shows how your surroundings are in as great a shape as you are. Wonderful interview Nutschell!

  37. Your writing space is truly awesome, Michael. I love the natural light and your colour choices. Yum!

  38. mshatch says:

    Michael is a wonderful person and I can say that in all honesty because I’ve met him! And if I ever need any remodeling done I know exactly who to call – what a lovely space :)

  39. Such a gorgeous home and writing space. And with tons of light, too? What could be better?

  40. PK Hrezo says:

    Gosh Michael’s place is so pretty. Not a single kid toy anywhere. lol love love love it! Great advice, Michael!!!

  41. What a great post! I agree that Michael has awesome lighting in his office. I love the history behind the desk. I am a huge HP fan and love the quill and stationary. I will have to read some Brooks now that I read this post and found out that JK Rowling and Brooks are his two favorite authors. :) Thanks for sharing!

  42. Carol Riggs says:

    Michael definitely has an awesome workspace, and it’s fun to see it again (I saw it on his site originally). And creativity is definitely a terrible thing to waste. Love the advice to be Real, Honest, and Passionate. If we are those things as writers, the readers are more apt to connect with our work! :)

  43. deniz says:

    I love that writing corner, Michael! That gorgeous desk and all that natural light… so inspiring!
    How do you get by on 5/6 hours of sleep?! I wish I could…

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