I am always impressed with – and slightly envious of – those people who say that they can write anywhere. You know the sort: “Yes, I do have four children and a full-time job as a heart surgeon, but I just used my twenty-minute tube journey to do the plotting and then wrote the chapters with my pad propped on the kitchen counter while I cooked dinner.” I’ve never been able to do that. Sure, I carry a notebook everywhere with me so that I can jot down thoughts and ideas as they occur, but when it comes to actual sentence construction, I need somewhere calm and quiet and comfortable.
At home, that’s my back bedroom, which we now call the study. I have a little antique desk facing the window, overlooking our garden and the roofs of the houses nearby, and I write on a different computer and indeed operating system to the one I use for my day job: Windows for work, Apple for writing. My husband suggested it, as a way to make sure that I couldn’t switch between the two without significant effort, and now it’s just the way I do it.
But away as I am “on retreat”, I thought you might like to see my current writing environment. My computer is set up on the dining table, looking out of the French window and over the balcony:
And yes, I do sometimes move to the balcony table when it’s just too sunny and warm to stay indoors.
Every afternoon – unless it’s raining or we’re “in the cloud” (that’s nothing to do with wireless storage – this is a mountain resort, and often we are literally higher than the cloud cover) I walk up here to clear my mind:
And this is where I sit when I want to have Big Thoughts about plotting – waiting for divine inspiration, you might say: