In a recent article in my Resource for Writers series I talked about the importance (or not) of having a regular writing space.
After writing that I reached out to a few fellow writers about their own creative spaces and, with their permission, I’m sharing them with you today.
First off, a couple of my fellow contributors from Burning: An Anthology of Short Thrillers (PLUG available now from Kindle for a short time at a price-sale bargain – pick it up today. PLUG OVER).
Carla’s short ‘Scintillation’ appears in Burning. Read more about her work at her Amazon author page.
“I made a big deal, when decorating our house, that I had to have a writing room. Somewhere I could shut myself away, thrash out my ideas and tap away with no disturbances. I even had a tantrum – no, I’m not ashamed – when it was suggested that the small room should be a guest room. ‘Er, I think not,’ was my reply. I even stamped my feet but eventually, won the four-day argument.”
For me, although most of my inspiration comes from being out and about, travelling, sitting on mountain tops, observing, and borrowing snippets to include in my fictional worlds. I need somewhere to tie it all together. A place that’s mine, where I can happily shut myself away and be, writer Carla. Not, mum, dog walker, cleaner, cook or partner. I am in my happy zone – and God help any of the kids that try and open the door whilst I’m being creative.
It’s not an elaborate space. Just a simple, decluttered room with a few current-favourite reads, a radio, a gazillion post-it notes, and often a glass of red, or two – to help mellow my mind – you’ll understand.
It’s still the only room in the house finished. I close the door, so I’m cut off from family noise, and like the places I go to when I’m in there. It’s my favourite go-to room and I can be found there all kinds of strange hours completely lost – sometimes for days – in whatever chapters, I happen to be scribbling.
Dana’s story ‘Fire and Brimstone’ appears in Burning – she is the author of a number of novels which can be seen at her Amazon author page.
“That’s my storyboard on the wall in the background. I’m a post-it note freak, needing them for all the brief bursts of thought that drive me through the day, the night, and the weeks until it’s all done. If my post-it note supply gets low, I get anxious!
I also reached out to a couple of writer acquaintances in the US –
Joe Monks, who was the editor/ publisher of one of my early writing pieces ‘First Born’ in his Agony in Black anthology, and is the author of Dead Meat, Torn to Pieces and more had this to say:
“I’ve been writing stories since age 9, and while I can write anywhere when the Muse drops in, my space is a simple room in the house with a door…with a lock. And, although I’m 100% blind, it does have décor. Things I know are there that help set the mood. I also have a streaming music device from which I can access thousands of playlists, so that if it’s a Sisters of Mercy/Siouxsie and the Banshees/Bauhaus night, they can provide mood music. If it’s an outcasts-on-the-run, younger protagonist story, then more likely I’ll be joined by The Smiths/David Bowie/Front 242 and Iggy Pop. I have a small selection of scented votive candles to choose from, and two incense burners depending on how I’m feeling. And, my office is the inside of a jack-o-lantern. No joke. The entire room is orange. The walls, doors, ceiling and window frame. The ceiling fan and carpet are brown, (although I should probably paint the fan blades a weathered, dying green). From the wall opposite my desk, it feels you are looking out into the night through the mouth and eyes. People who don’t write say it’ll make the house tough to sell. I tell them I plan to die in this room and be discovered slumped over my keyboard, so that’ll be someone else’s problem.
Bottom line: if you can put yourself in the right frame of mind to find that spot you need to go for the magic to begin? I don’t care what your needs are—make it happen. If it’s a room full of stuffed animals or a gallery of movie posters or a life-size Creature from the Black Lagoon standing in the corner—do it. Writing is about escape as much for writers as readers. Lock out the distractions and go exploring.
Yes, my laptop faces the wall. Keeps Midnite the cat from trying to walk the keys whilst I’m pounding them on my good keyboard.
I also asked Terry West, author of, amongst others, What Price Gory, Car Nex, Dreg and the Night Things series who wrote:
I work in a second story loft office that is stuffed with collectables, comics, and signed books/photos that I love. I have an extensive Elvira collection and a ton of rare Night of the Living Dead items. I surround myself with things that inspire my work.
Finally, I asked a couple of the authors I have previously written about in my in-depth profiles about how important a writing space is to them.
Joe R Lansdale wrote:
“My top floor is my study. I write at one end of that surrounded by books. I can write anywhere if necessary, but this is my favorite and main spot.”
And I’ll leave the last word to Lawrence Block –
As well as being the writer of some of my favourite series and short stories, Lawrence Block is the producer of the best writing guide I’ve read, so surely he’ll have some good advice on the importance of having a good place to write…
“Most of the work I’ve done for the past twenty-plus years has been done away from home, either at an artist colony or a hotel room or apartment secured for that purpose.
I’m pretty much retired these days as far as new fiction is concerned, so it doesn’t matter if I have office space; I’m capable of not writing anywhere.”
So there you have a definitive answer: it’s good to have a place to write. It’s not vital. And if you’re not writing. Then anywhere is good.
Thanks to the authors who provided a little insight into their writing worlds.
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