My Workstation


Every morning, I wake up and sit here. My retainers are still in and I’m mostly starving, but I take a few moments to see where I am in my work. I began storyboarding my novel ideas a few weeks ago to focus on my narrative pacing and visuals. Of course, the standard, writerly outline is right on my laptop. I’m also a post-it note maniac. The post-it’s here have been gifted to me by friends who happily feed extras into my mailbox. One on the backboard says, “Don’t think about what you’re going to work on; think about what you’re working on now.”



At first I was a little embarrassed to show this, but I thought why not share my process. I maintain lists and graphs of all my submissions. I never have a finished piece/poem/excerpt that is not in circulation. These charts keep track of who’s reading what, what needs to be sent where, statuses, and numerous rejections. I started this system when I began thinking of how to narrow the gap between each publication. I wanted to be more prolific and maintain the quality of my work, but smartly. And, oh no, there’s a Hayao Miyazaki poster…



On my desktop, it’s not unusual for me to edit 3-5 poems at a time. From the very little text you see, you’ll notice my fascination with murder whether it’s physical, cultural, social, or psychological. I feel it might be a theme that will help thread my poems together for my thesis and poetry book. It’s an exciting time for me–to be able to say these things. In total, I try to average at about 3,000 words of quality prose a week, 2-4 working poems, and at least 1 finished, polished poem. I’ll usually take my Sunday to update social media counters: mainly Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress, Google+, Facebook. I would call all this writing and updating, “outside work.” They’re outside of the program’s curriculum and outside of a paying job or internship. It’s like an obsession that I treat very kindly. And sometimes, it reminds me I’m a poet, I’m a writer!



  1. 12fv

    im so glad to have caught up on your life, even if it is just a blog post. been wondering how youve been doing out in ny. hope all is well, ang!

  2. Nate Chang

    I love this Angela. I might use this post for my students. Once I start teaching again. It gives me a clar pictures of how hard a writer works. THIS IS SOOO AWESOME!!!!! ps do have any publications??

  3. Ken Fees (@kenfees)

    Ms. Koh;
    Thanks so much for sharing your process with us. What a privilege it is to peek behind the curtain of your productivity!

    Your words flow so smoothly, and your openness displays the growing confidence you have in your ability, talent, and skill. What progress you’re making!

    I’m in awe of the emotional and intellectual depth in your work. And looking forward to your next poem.

  4. angelaejkoh

    Hi Ken, I’m surprised by the positive responses. I’m starting to think that maybe I’ll share my process more often (maybe my notebooks would be an interesting place to explore). Thanks so much and I hope to have more work out soon!

    • Justin Kirby

      Angela,I’m so happy to see someone share their creative process, especially in pictures. So wonderful to see it!

      • angelaejkoh

        Justin, I bet I sound like a broken record by now, but thank you. This post is getting some attention, so I think from now on it’d be a mistake not to start posting more pictures of the creative process. It’s fun for me, too!

        • Justin Kirby

          I think you’re right about continuing to post pictures. Congrats on your idea being a success. I really enjoy hearing & especially seeing someone’s process. & no, you don’t sound like a broken record. Keep up the good work:)

  5. writesandrights

    Goodness. You really have harnessed this creative process into a regimented system. I find it fascinating because while I try to be disciplined about writing consistently (same time, same place) with projects and articles I’ve assigned myself or that others have asked of me, I have not gotten to the place where I chart the volume of my work. It’s an interesting approach! Thank you for sharing. :)

    • angelaejkoh

      I was talking to a good friend of mine and actually, her process is very different from what I do here. I think I’m the type that really needs to enforce a kind of system because of my character and because it works for me. That doesn’t mean it necessarily works for anyone else. My friend doesn’t have a kind of schedule in place, but she writes as much as I do in a kind of fluid, hassle-free way. So, I encourage you to find out what’s best for you!

    • angelaejkoh

      Hai, thanks for putting up that video. I want to share it! It makes sense to me and I feel like someone has said something similar to me before, but I forgot it until now.

  6. Painting Lessons

    Hi! – Thank you for the word ‘Workstation’ and the image of your story board. For years I drag myself into my ‘Studio’ and endure another day of assembling painting lessons and editing videos while trying not to fall over the horded wires and canvases that clutter my way.
    I removed the ‘Studio’ sign and replaced it with ‘Workstation’, what a difference a word makes, I tidied up the mess and arranged the painting lessons neatly on the floor.

  7. obsidianfactory

    Wow, you are so organized! I just am one big messy person rummaging through my stuff and losing them, finding them again lol

  8. Russell Ragsdale

    I loved seeing your process too. It is so interesting to get a look behind the scene when there is something to see. All the submission processes for me are files on my laptop. It’s not very organized or very interesting to look at I’m afraid.

  9. Pingback: Everyday Habits « Angela E J Koh
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  11. Wendyy

    Rishabhcew on February 20, 2009 I really liked your chnnael and this video. If you need any help getting this video exposed I use a site called tubeviews.(net) It has really helped like 20 of my main videos get to the top in position. Its nice.I like what i watched.

  12. Pingback: That Blog You Write After You Turned In Your Novel « E J Koh

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