Monday, 22 October 2012

A corner of one's own


I have – very belatedly – come to recognise the value of a dedicated writing space. A physical space to represent the elusive head space I am forever seeking. Everyone will go 'well, duh! Congratulations on this revelation, Captain Obvious,' but to me the idea of a writing space always seemed something unattainable. Something that wouldn't work unless it was perfect – a summer house at the bottom of an idyllic orchard, or a converted attic only accessible by a rope ladder that I could pull up after me.

It's all very well dreaming about such things, but they aren't likely to be possible any time soon, so instead I have created... my writing corner.



I acquired this desk about ten years ago. It originally belonged to my dad – he received it for his 21st birthday in 1968. During my childhood, it was always a fixture of our home. We called it 'the bureau' and it was the storage space for boring grown-up things like bank statements and insurance policies. It also housed my mum's typewriter, which I was allowed to borrow until the day it fell on my foot, causing the kind of crunch that is commonly described as sickening. (My mum was so relieved I hadn't broken it! As for my foot, meh.)

When my dad handed the bureau on to me, it occupied a place under the stairs in my first house. I occasionally wrote there but, as the indoors temperature fell to 11ºC in winter, the lure of woodburner in the other room tended to decrease productivity. My current house has central heating, but for years the bureau sat full of crap in the main downstairs room, its location too central and exposed to be a real writing haven. Instead, I got into the habit of sitting on the sofa with my laptop on one of those beanbag laptray things you can buy from old-person catalogues.

A couple of months ago, I asked my dad to help me move the bureau upstairs, and I now have it set up as my writing desk. I get a lot more done here than I ever did when slouching on the sofa – perhaps because it helps writing feel more like a proper job. Being a writer is, of course, not just a case of moving some furniture. I do feel it's important to be able to write when conditions aren't perfect – but even so, having my own corner goes a long way towards taking myself and my writing seriously.

Do you have a writing space? What's it like – or what do you wish it could be like?

6 comments:

JO said...

I live alone, so can write where I choose. In the summer I spread over the table in the dining room - with the doors open so I can see down the garden, watch the birds, generally ponder on flowers etc. In the winter, I decamp - move in front of the fire and toast my toes while I've writing.

It works for me!!

Thrifty Gal said...

I am like Jo, I tend to write on the move, wherever I need to.

Derek said...

I'm in the attic, where I can open the velux window and listen to the neighbours outside without them realising! I also find it easy to write while on trains. I write best where there's no internet to distract / entertain / bemuse me.

Deb said...

I'm the same as Derek. I write in the attic too. My own attic, not Derek's attic, I hasten to add. My attic also plays host to our bedroom - not mine and Derek's bedroom, but my husband and my bedroom, so half is bedroom, the other half office.
I'm also very good at writing in pubs it turns out, having compiled a quiz to accompany a feature I'm working on, whilst I was waiting for my lunch to arrive:)

Bambi Zola said...

i have my own little writing corner in my house where I'm restricted to work in peace and comfort without my noisy brother distracting me. I also like writing in the field thats opposite me, it allwos my thoughts to feel more fresh and clearer some how.

Derek said...

Little does Deb know that I still pop into her attic to read her previous day's draft... (Cue villainous laughter.)