Many years ago when I started writing, I had a cupboard in a dark corner of the dining room with a slide-out shelf and a laptop which could be put away when I wasn’t working. Now, however, I’m lucky enough to have a room of my own.
It’s big (well, I think so) and there’s room for lots of books (good job, those top three shelves are my To Be Read pile), and it’s very pink (I live in a house full of boys so this is the only room where I can get away with it).
The only downside is that because it’s my room, no one minds if it gets messy – and it does get very messy! I’m an old-fashioned girl and, despite sitting in front of the computer, I still handwrite a lot – to draft a scene, to edit a printed page, or to jot down notes as inspiration strikes. This means there are usually papers and notebooks strewn everywhere (usually - I tidied for this photo!), and those post-its you can see on the desk are individual scenes for the book I’m currently working on.
From my desk I have a beautiful view of the garden, and I’m sometimes distracted by squirrels chasing each other around the oak tree, foxes wandering through, or, this summer, a family of doves which nested in the tree outside my window.
The important thing, however, is that they’re not too distracting. Because when I write I retreat into my characters’ heads and become absorbed in their world.
Any interruptions and that focus is lost, as I discovered a couple of years ago when we had builders in. To get away from the noise and the dust I tried working in cafés, as so many writers successfully do, but I found that other people’s conversations were just too loud and too interesting! And I can’t work with music on to drown the noise because, for me, a song is a story in itself, even if it doesn’t have any lyrics. In the end I resorted to driving round the corner and writing with a notebook in my car.
And now, having my own space and solitude is a luxury I truly appreciate.