Monday, 6 December 2010
Location, location, location
I’ve got a very comfortable office at home. It’s a bit of a mess, admittedly, but I’ve long adapted to just averting my eyes from certain corners, like the one filled with a tottering pile of used padded envelopes [damn, I just looked directly at it]. But despite that, I have a good desk, a comfortable chair and a fairly decent computer. There’s the brilliant Spotify to satisfy all my musical needs and it takes just five minutes to pop downstairs for a cup of Earl Grey and a chocolate biscuit or five. If I get stuck for inspiration, I can take a walk in the beautiful park my house backs onto. Perfect, right? Hell, who wouldn’t get a whole ton of work done somewhere like that?!
Even though I have everything I need right here, sometimes I know the only way I’m going to get words down on the screen is to get out. My number one favourite writing desination is the British Library. Laura Nelson guest posted on Strictly once before about the BL, but I think it deserves a bit more praise. I went for a day there last week, which always involves a bit of domestic rearrangement and upheaval to organise, but the minute I walked into the Humantities Reading Room, I felt an almost chemical sense of peace descend on me and was ready to write my heart out.
If you live within any reasonable distance of London and are wondering about checking it out, it might be useful to hear how it all works. The Reading Rooms are only accessible if you have a reader’s ticket. But writing a book is usually enough reason to be granted one. There’s also a mezzanine area which everyone can use. Here there are a number of seats with tables and somewhere to plug in your laptop. But be warned: these seats are at a premium and people queue to get them first thing in the morning. They’re all usually taken within about ten minutes.
If I can’t get to the BL, I might go to a cafe with a notebook or my laptop instead, which is very much a second best option but can still sometimes help me feel a bit more productive.
So if you’re feeling stuck or uninspired, try changing your writing location. Sometimes a change of scene is enough to get your creative juices flowing again.