Tiny Desk {Entre}View: Abby Hollingsworth

I’m thrilled to continue our Tiny Desk {Entre}View series with Abby Hollingsworth.
I met Abby during a close friend’s wedding weekend (thanks, Leah!). 

I knew that she was cool immediately.

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And when it came time for me to redo my own web site,
I couldn’t find the words or the ability to make it all make sense.
A huge fan of her blog and writing style, I emailed Abby
with a subject line that read, “Branding help for the Brander.”

After all, branding for yourself can be downright daunting.
I needed someone with some skill and outside perspective.

Abby delievered beautifully, and she was a blast to work with.
I still smile when I read the copy she wrote for me,
and she came up with the perfect tagline to describe my business.

{check it out here, after you read the interview, of course}

I knew I wanted her to take part in this series
and was thrilled when she agreed to sharing.

Without further ado, let’s interview this creative mind
and find out about her tiny desk scene.

{A B B Y . H O L L I N G S W O R T H}



About me & my business:

Like many other business owners, I lead a bit of a double life. In my 9-5 job, I’m a digital marketing strategist for an education brand. In every free moment I can find outside of those hours – I’m an entrepreneur, a wordsmith, and a writer. I record the stories of my own life on my blog at DearAbbyLeigh.com, and I help others find the words to set their brands apart through my business – Abby Leigh Creative.


The Desk Scene

  • Tell us about your desk (or workspace). 

           (any history behind it, where you bought it, etc.)

  • What type of work happens at your desk most of the time? 
  • What do you see from your desk view?


I’m a bit of a floater – with a different space for each kind of work I do.


In my big girl office job, I was given a simple office, which I’ve made it my mission to slowly make into a home away from home. I’ve added things that make me smile to the small square room. Windows let in lots of natural light, and a wooden pennant hung on the wall behind my desk makes it feel like the sun is shining on my desk each day when I walk in.


Light is important to my state of mind in this, my most hectic and stressful workplace. As people stop by the office with questions and urgent needs, they often smile at the way I’ve made it my own – from the wooden block cut art on the bookcase to the postcards, photo-booth strips, and calendar graphics pinned to my bulletin board. Across from me, I’ve hung a dozen postcards from the Spirit of Nashville campaign that remind me how lucky I am to be living and working in my favorite city.


From this spot, I answer emails, have meetings, manage our company blog, website, and social media presence. I am often scooting my computer and gold/leather mouse pad aside to make another list of things to do. It’s a busy and exciting place to be, and my office at work represents my own little slice of peaceful productivity (most of the time!).


My personal writing takes place in my bedroom, on my velvet green settee.


I have a desk just a few feet away, a simple Target piece. But that’s mostly just where I pay my bills. I feel more comfortable, connected, and free to let the creative spirit move on my settee. I just purchased this piece from West Elm at Christmas, and have started nearly every morning since then free writing from this seat.


From this spot, I can write with a pen and paper or pull out my laptop. For creative projects, I like to use the writing app Omm – which turns my busy desktop screen into a peaceful scene, free of distractions, with subtle background music and a peaceful clicking noise as I type. I often end my days here working on whatever story is stirring. It’s the perfect bookend to my day.


The key to my bedroom staying a creative space, even when it’s a mess (which is often), is in the details. I’ve put inspiration where I can see it – a colorful vase on the side table, plants when I can keep them alive, prints from my trip to London last summer, a giant ice cream cone to keep me from taking it all too seriously.




This space probably wouldn’t make sense to anyone else. It’s mine, and I love it. It has made all the difference in the world for me to have a place in my room – apart from my bed – that is comfortable for this kind of creative work.



My third office space – for Abby Leigh Creative projects – is truly a moving target. Depending on the client and the kind of project I’m working on, I might find a spot in my favorite Nashville coffee shop and let the murmurs of others serve as my background music.

Other times, I’ll sit in the sunroom of our house, where the light is bright and neighbors wander by the big bay windows. I find that moving around the house can help shake up my writing and access new ideas and new voices for my diverse clientele.



What’s on your desk (or around it) most of the time?

The one consistent in all my workspaces is my bright pink MacBook Pro. I recently upgraded to the Retina Display with no CD drives or Ethernet hubs, so I’m at my lightest and most portable fighting weight ever. I always have a to-do list nearby, a small book of poetry, and a picture of something or someone I love.


Tell us about the creative process that takes place in your space.

This year I started a routine called morning pages, as described in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. By free-writing 3 pages that will never be seen or read or judged by anyone else, I jumpstart my creative process first thing in the morning. Whatever work I’m doing that day – from marketing plans to blogging to branding projects – my word wheels are already spinning. It’s been a great practice so far, and I hope to continue it for years to come.


How does your desk stay most of the time? (neat, organized, messy, or any other adjectives that you would use to describe it on a daily basis)

One advantage to moving my workspace around is it keeps me from getting too settled and too messy. I’m a pile-maker, but I try to keep them sorted at each workspace.  I’d best describe my space as comfortable, lived in, and maybe a little quirky.


Favorite item on your desk (if this applies to you).

In my office, I have a bouquet of felt flowers I “picked” myself at an art fair in Atlanta last year. They remain bright and lovely month after month, and I never have to water them! If only my other plants had the same great luck.




What inspires you around your space?

I’m always trying to find a balance of inspiration and room for the spontaneous. My workspace, like my mind, needs a little margin for a surprise. I try to leave space on my desk, my walls, and in my writing for where the creative process will lead me, not just where I think I should end up. Pictures of the past are just a jumping off point for the future. I like to have room for both.


Do you listen to tunes while working? If so, what is your favorite type of music to listen to while working/writing?

I’ve always loved a little background music while working, but I can waste way too much time finding the perfect song! Spotify has been a lifesaver for me in this regard. A few of my favorite working playlists were put together by other creatives. Check them out here, here, and here.


Items that have to be there in order for you to work.

My computer and my brain. It sounds more low maintenance than it really is. :)


Favorite working drink to keep on your desk.


I love working from a coffee shop where they can make me a good cappuccino. If you’re ever in Nashville, I’ll meet you at Fido for my favorite coffee splurge – the Local Latte. If I’m at home or the office, it’s a glass of very icy water. My roommate has recently turned me on to Essential Oils, so I’ll often slip a few drops of Lemon or Peppermint into the water to help keep me focused.


Anything else you would like to add?

I loved this challenge to think about my space as an extension of my creative process. We are what we eat, they say – but I think we are often just as influenced by our surroundings as our supper. Cheers to much more tiny desk (or settee) inspiration!


Thanks for sharing your spaces with us, Abby!
We’re obsessed with your settee, your moving desk
and the beautiful things that inspire you.

I’ll take you up on that cappuccino sometime. ;)


For the last Tiny Desk {Entre}View, feel free to peruse here.


  1. Pingback: a link and a song
  2. abby 03/21/2014 / 9:38 am

    this was so much fun! Thanks for hosting me :).

    • sbpcobb
      03/21/2014 / 9:46 am

      It was truly my pleasure, Abby! Thanks for giving us a look into your spaces and your process. I’m feeling refreshed on this Friday after reading your post. :)

  3. laurel 03/21/2014 / 1:04 pm

    LOVED that!!! Very cool, Abby!

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