I’ve been asked these questions often, and I frequently see photos from other authors of their desks or offices. This has on occasion brought out a little of the green eyed monster in me.
Why? Because, I do not have a desk, an office or a study.
Where do I write? On my bed! Yes, actually on my bed. I sit up with the pillows behind me and I have one of those lap-trays that people use to have dinner in bed or on the sofa.
I once read a quote from writer Philip Hensher – “I don’t have a writing room, and don’t want one. I’ve never written successfully at a desk – whenever anyone tries to give me a desk, it always fills up immediately with old bits of paper, and, after a week or two, I go back to writing on the end of the dining table, clearing it all up before dinner. Or, more often, just on the arm of the sofa.”
Am I the same? Yes, undoubtedly. Whenever I have a desk, it becomes a junk magnet instantly. It may stay neat and tidy for a day or two, but soon the trash-fairy regularly deposits all over it. I think for now it’s safer not to have a desk 😉
I am sure that it’s important to have a safe, quiet place to write – a sanctuary, if you will. Do I have that? Of course! My bedroom is just that sort of place. Guests are prohibited and when the door is shut then it means ‘Do Not Enter’!
Am I alone in this? I doubt it. For every writer who has a beautifully organised or equally disorganised study/writing den, I am sure there are lots who don’t. I am certain that many authors compose on the bus or train to work. Most of us scribble notes here and there on any scrap of paper we have to hand. I have even learnt the skill of writing in the dark! I often wake up in the middle of the night when Mistress Inspiration whispers loudly in my ear. I grab the pad in my drawer next to the bed and scribble away. It’s surprisingly legible in the morning 😉
(However, I’m not sure that skill would look good on my resume!)
So, is it important to have a specific writing space? No, I don’t think so. What is important, however, is peace, solitude and time to think undisturbed. The Muse and Mistress Inspiration are fickle and temperamental. They’re frightened away by the slightest thing.
The best thing you can do for the writer in your life, is not necessarily to create a fabulous study for them, but perhaps to make them a mug of tea or coffee and leave them to write in peace for a while – even if they are just propped up on the bed! 😉