Friday, 11 October 2013

Top Ten Places to Write your Masterpiece

Do you write? A letter to a friend, a blog, a diary, secret poetry, course essays, the novel of your lifetime? I’m betting you do write something, sometime, somewhere. Whatever your writing is, there’s something special in have a ‘somewhere’ to write. Creating a special place will really help your writing experience and get you into a good routine, should you need one. Returning to that place, in the knowledge that this is the place you write can make you absolutely love whatever it is you want to…or have to…write.
A first priority is to sort out your basic needs as a writer. A flat surface with plenty of light and the possibility of fresh air and sufficient don’t want to be too cold to write. Quietude is essential too. It’s not a great idea to try to write with the family in front of the telly, but I spent the whole of one writing year writing in a TV chair. 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; believe it or not, you shouldn’t balance a laptop on your lap. I ended up seeing an osteopath! But I got of lot of writing done.
If you don’t already have that special place to write, my top tip for today is to find one. Even if you’ve never written anything before, try it, and you’ll see how great it is. Even if all you do is boot up your iPad and write a long email to an old friend, I can guarantee it will make your day.
In reverse order, here are my top ten places to write:
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 exulted company. Which leads us to...

Under the stairs...or any bit of space you can cleverly transform. Once you are thinking of  this area as your writing place, you will have somewhere where all your things can be stored together (rather than scattered around) and where, as soon as you sit to write, that little ‘tap’ is 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...

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?

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.

A friend’s home. Having just suggested you need to keep your mates at arm length if you really want to write, finding a sympathetic ally with a bit of spare room is a bright idea. Other people won’t know where to find you, and whereas your own back bedroom will have all the wrong reminders for you (or give you an urge to fetch the hoover), your friend’s home is a connotation-free-zone. If the friend is a writer too, you can write in tranquil tandem, or offer your home in reciprocation.

Railway carriages. Long journeys over rattling rails helps my mind to become contemplative, almost trance-like. The constant movement of the scene outside encourages your imagination to invent plots, link themes, see outcomes, visualize landscapes. If you regularly travel by rail or bus, take a notepad with you and follow your mind where it wants to lead.

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

Bed. It’s the place diary lovers love to write diaries. And while you’re waiting for blessed sleep to descend, you might start to daydream about the characters 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!

The library. If your major writing problem is that people insist on ‘dropping in for coffee’ as if you're a person of leisure rather than a would-be writer, then the library is an ideal office. With Internet access, and an in-house ‘shush policy’, it’s the idea place. When inspiration dries, you can wander round the shelves, browsing the research facilities or noting down interesting titles, to get yourself going again.

The kitchen table...of course! My writing blog is named after the place I started writing, many years ago. I’d wash up the breakfast things (well, sometimes, anyway) and put out my Acorn computer, then wait for the software to boot up as I made a coffee (could have made cupcakes, the length of time it took). How about storing your writing equipment in a nice strong box and leaving it under the table? Then you everything is at hand, and the space is quickly transformed. And you won't have to move far to make a coffee!

It was still not much after ten am as I drove clear of Bridgwater. Mini Ha Ha was soon navigating the narrow bridges that crisscrossed the waterlands of Somerset. Everywhere, water shone like mercury, from rivers, canals and rhynes, reflecting the light covering of clouds above. Reeds and withies bent in the breeze as if to acknowledge my presence. From In the Moors

1 comment:

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