Some of us like it on the floor. Others against the wall. Others still like it in bed or in the kitchen.
I’m talking about writing, of course. What were you thinking?
There is no one ideal writing place. Ask any author and they’ll have their own unique cocoon, the environment that most inspires their writing. It might have to do with music, ambience, temperature, or writing materials — any number of factors can play a part.
I have a confession to make: I have no writing space.
By necessity, I write in my bedroom, given that it’s the only place I can be alone without my flatmate’s cats pawing at my legs, demanding attention. Sometimes I sit on my bed, other times on the floor. But I also scribble in notebooks and on napkins, in cafés and in parks. Heck, I’m writing this guest post on my iPhone on a crowded tube train, squashed into a small corner by the door.
I don’t have the luxury of waiting for the ideal space or the ideal time. Whenever I can write, I squeeze it in, hoping for the best.
Oh, I can definitely picture my ideal writing space. A cosy, tidy room in a quiet, warm house. Maybe with a fireplace. A large desk, with only my laptop, a notebook, and a handful of pens. A comfortable chair is a must. There has to be room for me to pace, and a sofa to drape on. Also tea, water, and snacks.
The thing is, I’ve never had this ideal room. I don’t know whether I’d actually like writing in it, or whether I’d write any better in it than I do now, squashed in a tiny corner of a train.
After some thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that having a physical writing space isn’t important. The physical space is merely a means to an end, a way to induce you into slipping into the true place that matters — the mental one — where words flow like raining ink and ideas shimmer delicately like soap bubbles ready to be caught.
How, then, to slip into the right mental state without the aids of a cosy room, a desk, and solitude? How do you summon the will to write when you’re on your way to work, surrounded by grumpy commuters, your elbows squashed into your sides?
Some might like to think it’s a question of discipline or practice, but really I think it’s simply about being bullishly stubborn.
The first few times, it’s hard. The café is too loud, the tube train too crowded, the napkin too horrible a texture to write on. Maybe you write 100 words, 200. Or you freeze, about to write, and no words come at all.
But I’ve learned from experience that your muse can be beaten into submission. Keep trying, keep writing. Whenever you have a spare five minutes, write whatever comes to mind. Take note of the mental state you slip in to; remember how it feels, how you got there. Soon all it will take is a little nudge, and your muse will come out to play.
Those lucky chaps who have their little physical writing nook have the luxury to escape into there to write; but we, with a pinch of determination, will be able to write anywhere.
And that, my friends, is so much more convenient than having to travel to some physical location to write.
Now excuse me. I’ve got to shove through a crowd of commuters to get off this train.
A.M. Harte writes twisted speculative fiction, such as the post-apocalyptic Above Ground and the zombie love anthology Hungry For You. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what ‘free time’ means, and is utterly addicted to chocolate. She lives in London, a city not half as foggy as some seem to think.
Don’t forget to enter the mystery raffle giveaway, A.M. Harte is giving away 11 mystery prizes for every letter in the book’s title!
The first glimpse of sun may be her last.
When Lilith Gray goes above ground for the first time, she hardly expects to stay there — much less be trapped on the surface with no way home.
Hunted by trackers and threatened by the infected, Lilith is on the run, desperate to return underground. Her only hope for survival lies with a taciturn werewolf with a dark agenda of his own.
Lilith’s old carefree life has been reduced to one choice:
Adapt. Or die trying.