Sunday, 12 September 2010

TOP TEN PLACES TO WRITE YOUR MASTERPIECE


 1. Railway carriages. Long journeys over rattling rails helps your mind to become contemplative, almost trance-like. The constant movement of the scene outside encourages your imagination to follow trajectories, invent plots , link themes , see outcomes, understand characters and visualize landscapes.


2. Bed. While you are lying there, waiting for blessed sleep to descend, you might start to daydream a little about the characters or scenes in your latest story. Don't worry if you drop off to sleep in the middle of this; you're bound to recall snippets of it later. And if you can't sleep - if your mind is buzzing with ideas - don't fight it. Keep a notepad by the bed so that all those good ideas can be jotted down. Never mind the morning grind. Matchsticks are the sign of a writer!


3. The garden shed. Obviously, I’m not suggesting you share it with the lawn mower. But if you’re
 lacking a ‘room of your own’, to quote Virginia Wolfe, a little wooden shack at the bottom of the garden might be the answer.

4. The library. The idea place. It’s out of the house, so if your major writing problens us that people insist on stopping you while you work from home, or 'drop in for coffee’ as if you're a person of leisure, then the library is an ideal office. It has Internet access, tables and chairs, and all the research facilities you'll ever need. When inspiration dries, you can wander round the shelves, noting down interesting titles, to get yourself going again.


5. The park. Fair-weather writers can find all the stories they ever need in a park. It is full of people interacting and reacting with each other. There’s the couple whose dogs fell in love before they did...the father who brings his son here on his access day...the woman who pushes her elderly aunt out in a wheelchair...what are their stories? Or rather, what are the stories you might write for them?

6. The beach. Holidays tell great tales. Toss the sunblock to oneside, prop up the deck chair and spill the beans onto paper.


7. The local cafe. Take a tip from JKR and finish your novel over a cold latte. It may end up a bit stained and damp, but you will be in exhulted company. Which leads us to...

8. Under the stairs...or any bit of dwelling place you can cleverly transform into an office space. Once you are thinking of  this area as 'office space', you will have somewhere where all your things can be stored together (rather than scattered around the place) and where, as soon as you sit to write, a little 'tap' gets turned on in the writing part of your brain, as it thinks...ah, here I am, in the place where words spill effortlessly from my pen...

9. In front the telly. I am not joking - I spent the whole of one writing year writing in on an easy chair, my laptop (suitably) positioned on my lap. It was the only option, so I took it. I was able to 'switch off' from whatever antique was being sold at a boot sale, but there are always ear plugs to help this along. The downside to this option is your seating position; it's not good for your back to balance a laptop on your knees. I did end up seeing an osteopath! But I got of lot of writing done. So if your only writing opportunity and location is while everyone else is wrapped up in Eastenders, get out the earplugs.


10. The kitchen table...of course! Hands up if you eat regularly at your dining table. Hands up again if it's actaully covered in stuff that really ought to be put away. How about storing your writing equipment in a nice strong box, a little larger than A4 size, and leaving it in a corner of the table? Then when you need to write, you take the box off the table, take out the necessary and use the newly-gained space to write on. And if it really is in the kitchen, you won't have to move far to make a coffee.

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