Mac mini 2010 modelIn February, I wrote about the quest to replace my trusty Mac mini, Sergio. I purchased my first Mac mini in 2006. After 3.5 loyal years of operating splendidly and 2.5 excruciating years of driving me crazy, I finally needed to move on.

Fast forward to late April. I searched a number of online venues selling quality PCs because I’d had enough of Apple’s manipulative tactics. I made my list, prepped my cashflow and waited.

I was perfectly willing, ready and able to buy a PC again, but my conscience plucked at my pride. Did I really want to defend my reasoning to every knucklehead devoted to the cult of Mac? Did I want to give up the choice real estate in my office setup? Did I want to deal with the extra virus protection I’ll need in exchange for more autonomy?

I needed a sign. So I took to eBay to find a 2010-model Mac mini in good condition. I found a few computers at reasonable prices. They all were listed “like new” and the pricing hovered just below a new 2011/2012 model (i.e., without the optical disk drive seen above).

Those offers were okay, but they still left me on the fence. Nothing screamed “Mac is your home. Why won’t you just go to your home?!” /Happy Gilmore.

Until … I discovered Toshiko. That’s her name. I christen all my computers and Toshiko was the sign I had been looking for.

She arrived as a 2010 Mac mini with the plastic cling wrap still attached. After transferring all my files via Crashplan, I started her up. Her optical disk drive hummed perfectly, and her applications ran on all eight.

Amelie inspires me instead of a windowI purchased Toshiko not only because she came with a top eBay seller’s reputation, but she also has MS Windows for Mac 2011, Aperture, Pages & Keynote, and Adobe Acrobat Pro already loaded. For the same price of a new model with nothing installed and a valuable component missing, I felt Toshiko was a great deal.

So yes. I guess I’m staying in the Mac-lovin’ cabal for another 5 or 6 years. I’ll keep my PC skills sharp with my netbook, but for my freelance business and general home-life use, I’m apart of the Apple herd.

Although that may sound regretful and arrogant, I am grateful to have a personal computer at all. I know many around the country (and the world) do not.

I’m blessed not only with a quality computer I can call my own, but also a lovely office space. When Virginia Woolf wrote about women needing a “room of one’s own,” she probably wasn’t talking about modern home offices, but the concept still applies.

Freelancers need a place to get messy. Whether it’s a separate den-turned-recording-studio in your house or a computer desk stuffed in the corner of your living room, artistic professionals need a place to create.

My slice of freelance real estate is my dining room. Perfectly situated so my eyes never peer into my kitchen, I placed my black Mission-style writing desk against the wall and my mobile filing cart with multi-colored folders to my right. Above that, a collage-in-progress to remind me of my vision and business plan.

It’s nothing special to look at, I know. But it suits me fine. I don’t have a window, but I fight enough distractions with the internet as it is. My daily inspiration? A 27″ x 40″ poster of one of my favorite films, Le Fabuleux Destin d’AmΓ©lie Poulain. My favorite surprise? My red lantern on the bottom bookshelf adds a nice pop of color in such a small space.

My bookshelfThe only thing missing to make my creation studio complete is a rug. But not just any rug. One that won’t impede my swivel chair or clash with my color scheme. What goes with black again?

As a matter of fact, with the dark palette and the occasional flash of color, Toshiko really stands out in her silver casing with the black Apple logo on top.

My office isn’t for everyone. I’m sure others would prefer a window or more space to roll their chair about. But like my choice to stay with Apple (for now), I need a room that serves my needs specifically and reflects my ever-adapting lifestyle. Most importantly, I need an office that inspires me to do great things while making the best of my money, my time and my energy.

Share a description or photo of your workspace.
How have you adapted it to your freelance needs?