Tuesday 6 August 2013

Where Writers Write - Douglas Black

A few months ago, I was reading a newspaper (most likely The Guardian, but I can't really remember) when I came across a series of short articles in which various famous writers, artists and musicians shared an image of their office/studio and explained what it was they loved about it. I was fascinated to see the places where books and works of art that I love have been created and I thought I would like to do something similar on my blog. 

Over the next few months I will be opening my little corner of the internet up to some of my wonderful fellow authors and they will show us around their creative spaces. They'll also share with us why those spaces are the ones they are most drawn to, what they like and dislike about them as well as lots of other fun facts. 

To start things off, I thought it only fair that I lead by example so below you can have a look inside the place where I write. 

(By way of a disclaimer I will point out that the timing of this blog post couldn't have been worse. I am currently having my whole house redecorated which means most of my creative spaces are either under dust sheets or are filled with crap. In the picture of my study, for example, I have had to zoom in so as to cut the disassembled wash-hand basin and oven extractor fan out of shot. Still... Here goes!)

Douglas Black's Desk

This is my desk. It used to be crammed into a corner in the living room and therefore was a general dumping ground for keys, mail, phones, jackets - anything my boyfriend and I had grown tired of holding, basically. Whenever I wanted to work I had to clear a space and position myself and my laptop amongst the debris. 

That all changed a few months ago when we decided to revamp our house. We got rid of our spare bedroom and decided to make it a study instead. Naturally, I am delighted with this new development. I no longer have to sweep crap onto the floor and exile my boyfriend to another part of the house whenever I need to get an idea down on paper (or hard-drive).

I know a lot of authors like to write to music, but most of the time I find that distracting. When I'm writing I like to have silence so I don't lose my train of thought. I have a notebook beside me at all times and need to have scrap sheets of paper within easy reach, but I'm more of a jotter than a full-blown planner. 

One thing I do love about my new study is my big, comfy purple couch. It's actually a sofa bed, but let's not split hairs. Out of shot in this  (very over-exposed - I do apologise) picture is a large bookcase. I read almost as much as I write and while I would probably nominate the Kindle as one of the greatest modern inventions, I still love a print book. I think reading is a great and totally justifiable distraction from my writing. If I feel a story is going slowly or I need a break, I grab something to read and lose myself in another author's world for a while. I also like to collapse here when I'm done writing a draft and I use this space to read my own work through slowly before the editing phase begins. 

Editing in the Conservatory

So far editing continues to take place where it always used to: in my conservatory. I think after spending weeks or months writing a project it's important to get away from that reclusive mentality and all the silence of my desk. I pick up my laptop and my notebooks and move out to my conservatory. This way, I have a view of my garden (also a work in progress at the moment!) and can allow myself to become distracted by the birds and the trees when editing becomes a bit too labour intensive. 

And there you have it. A glimpse inside the places where I write.

I can't wait for my house to be done so I can get back to my normal writing schedule - I used to be very strict about writing every day from early in the morning until mid-afternoon and I miss that routine. Still, the end is in sight now... finger's crossed!

Stay tuned every Tuesday to see where your favourite writers write!

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