Where do you write?
I’m having one of those weeks when I’ve got itchy feet. It’s probably the unseasonably warm and sunny weather. But my little office just isn’t enticing me to sit down to proper work.
So, I unplugged the laptop, gathered together my notes and shifted the whole book writing operation down to the living room, where sun was pouring through the patio doors onto the sofa and it simply felt like a much more pleasant place to be.
The move got me thinking. Where do us writers work best? I suspect that this is something very personal to each individual author. For me, it depends on the circumstances. Most of the time I work more efficiently at my desk. I have my dictionaries, notepads and Kindle Fire close to hand and it feels as if I’m embarking upon a proper working day.
But every so often, when I’ve just finished a novel and I’m pushing myself to get going with the next one, I need that extra boost.
With my earlier books, when my family weren’t quite so used to the lengthy writing process I had to adhere to, I tended to take my laptop out to coffee shops and worked there. The bustle and noise of such a public place being less of a distraction than the children asking me endless questions and refusing to defer to their dad if they knew I was still on the premises.
I’ve even done an Agatha Christie a couple of times, going away to a hotel for a weekend to finish a novel. I did this two years ago with The Only Survivor and ploughed through about forty thousand words in a handful of days. Now, I am less compulsive about writing. I’ve got eleven books under my belt and know there will be many more. I still enjoy the process, but the burning desire to complete isn’t quite as strong as it was.
Holidays are another occasion where my writing seems to flow with greater ease. If we go away somewhere with my parents, my family are happy to leave me in the cottage or lodge, tapping away at the keys whilst they go sightseeing. It often only takes a couple of really focussed days’ work to get fully into a new book. This is often all it needs to get me kick started.
Some writers need alcohol to fuel their writing, others have survived on the steady inflow of nicotine. But I think a slavish adherence to these habits doesn’t really represent the modern author, who writes as a business, in order to support their family and doesn’t much like the idea of becoming an addict in the process.
For me, the occasional stimulant required to keep going has to be gained from something less harmful than drugs, however mild they may be, and a change of scenery seems like a perfect way to achieve it.