Writing space

Anyone else’s desk look like mine (perhaps I need one of those hideaway computer desks)? Fortunately I don’t subscribe to the old “cleanliness is next to Godliness” cliche…

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Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Although my office does look like this – cluttered, but organised, like my mind – I don’t always write in it. I like to edit other people’s novels on my laptop in bed (some of them are so long I need to have a nap between chapters!). Plays are a first thing in the morning thing after I’ve had a particularly good dream that sorts out some of my plotting or staging problems – so they get done in bed too. Other critiquing, commercial copywriting, blog posts, magazine articles and preparation for my writing workshops I do in the ‘office’. When I finally get time to work on my own novel I like to do it in on the laptop in the garden in good weather or the living room in bad where I can look at the garden through the French doors. I think this is because the different expressions of writing come from different parts of the psyche. Some are ‘businesslike’ and need an office, others are more creative and need a more informal setting. Poetry, which I so rarely write these days, gets snatched on buses, trains and coffee shops as it is the most removed from my usual ‘business’ writing. But I wrote this at the kitchen table while my three-year-old daughter was painting – I stopped only to sketch in a Big Bad Wolf into her forest. What is your write space?

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7 comments on “Writing space

  1. Rebecca Laffar-Smith on said:

    Like you, Fiona, I don’t have a stationary writing space. I have my trusty desktop but I rarely spend time ‘writing’ here. My PC, while with good intensions and designed for writing, usually observes more mundane activities. Research, socialmedia, marketing, community, email, book and record keeping, etc. Various business related activities that can be considered work are done here (and many non-work related).

    When it comes to writing I prefer to get mobile. I love taking my laptop out and about. Away from internet access. I have a wireless modem but I try to avoid using it simply because I don’t want to associate my laptop with web surfing. I prefer to keep it primarily for writing. When I’m at my laptop, I’m working, no matter where I am.

    With the laptop I can write in bed, in the living room, at a coffee shop, take-away joints while the kids play in the playground, at the park while the kids play, or at the homes of others. I love being able to spend time with my mother, sharing her space at her big house, while we both go on with our own things (she’s usually playing mindless games on her PC while I write).

    Poetry is almost exclusively a notebook task and again, like you, I compose rarely these days.

    Of course, the notepad is also brilliant as an idea catcher and I have lists upon lists on my PC and laptop with ideas, snippets, weblinks and concepts.

  2. writinggb on said:

    I actually heard once that a messier-looking desk can be a signal of great productivity and creativity!

  3. Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

    I’d buy that! If I spent all my time tidying and keeping my desk neat, I’d never get any work done. I must admit though, a tidier space does bring me a sense of calm, which is useful for some kinds of writing. But that’s when you take the laptop and head off into the garden.

  4. Sarah Cruickshank on said:

    My hubbie’s desk looks like this. I work on my trusty laptop and am doing without a desk at the moment, but I’ve never had one that looked like this.

  5. Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

    Who’s the more creative and / or productive of the two of you, Sarah? Let’s put Writinggb’s theory to the test!

  6. Sarah Cruickshank on said:

    Oh wow, well my hubby is an academic and has a background as a designer, so we both spend a great deal of time writing! He’s very creative and productive from his messy domain, but Im very productive and creative from my bag and my laptop. I think my bag/laptop and working wherever comes from my background as a supply teacher – I was used to just dropping in to places and getting on with it… I guess what Im saying is horses for courses – even when I had a desk I’d more often than not work on the floor!

  7. Rosalie Warren on said:

    My desk looks messy to the uninformed eye but is actually very well organised – that’s my story, anyway. I can usually find what I need within a few minutes. My computer desktop is a different matter – the things I put on there refuse to stay put and much swearing is generated when I can’t find them.

    My head, sadly, is even worse…

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