Monday, 18 October 2010

Where Do You Write?

This time last week I was taking this picture of Loweswater, in the Lake District, Cumbria. (Looking out of my bedroom/office window now, the weather is a little different.)

The scenery instilled calmness and serenity - it was certainly inspirational - I've still to type up the article I drafted with pen and paper at the end of that day, but the idea was inspired by this view.

As I've mentioned before in this blog, whenever I go away, I make a point of buying the local magazines and in one was an article about the writer, Hunter Davies. Hunter is a prolific writer, author and journalist and ghostwriter of many celebrity biographies including; The Beatles, Wordsworth, John Prescott, Wayne Rooney and Gazza. The article explained how Hunter Davies splits his year into two - he lives for six months in London, and for the other (sunnier) six months he lives in the Lake District. In fact, he lives here at Loweswater. (I'm jealous now.)

The reason I mention this is that here in the UK, British Summer Time ends in a couple of weeks and the clocks will go back an hour (fall back, spring forward - for those who can never remember) and this process reinforces upon us the onset of winter. It's a time when our habits change, and it's worth considering changing where you write. Now I'm not saying that you need to consider travelling like Hunter, from one end of the country to the other, but is where you write during the summer months the best place to write during the winter months?

During the winter months, daylight is scarcer and I much prefer working in natural daylight, so I move my desk next to the window in order to maximise the amount of time I can use this resource. (It's also where the radiator is situated, which is also a bonus!) Spend a few minutes considering your writing environment. I don't like using the darker evenings and the colder weather as an excuse not to write. Like Hunter, I find moving to a new writing place, even if it is from one side of the room to the other, the start of a new phase. It reinvigorates my excitement about sitting down at my desk each morning to work. It's different. And then just as spring takes a hold again, in preparation for the coming summer, I'll move back across to the other side of the room.

Hunter Davies is in his mid-seventies now, and shows no signs of retiring. (Isn't writing just the best job in the world anyway? Who does retire from writing?) Having a summer writing place and a winter writing place could be just what you need to maintain your inspiration levels. You may have the opportunity of moving further than me - perhaps into an adjacent room. However limiting your opportunities are, take a few minutes to consider your options. It could reawaken your creativity.

Good luck.


  1. Hi Simon, nice to see you had a good time in the Lakes. It's really odd as it depends with me what I am writing as to where I sit. I love writing my novel in my bedroom facing the window with a large desk and lots of light, I can see so much nature from my seat yet when I blog I love to sit at my little old writing desk down stairs with a roaring fire and an incense stick curling into the air. I scribble longhand in the garden with the hens watching me and love doing research siting up in bed at 6.00 am with a strong cup of coffee! Not tried the bath yet but if they invent water-proof paper I may give it a go!

  2. I was only thinking about this today on the bus, that if I found a new place to write, it might give me the kickstart I need. What I want is a LIBRARY, with leather chairs and a big dog lying in front of the fire and lots of books with gold lettering ... but this is only fantasy.

  3. Blood yell! They didn't let you back up there, did they? We didn't see anything on the news and weather reports.
    Not being an outdoor type I like winter because I write more. I wrap myself in my 'writing cloak' and sit by the fire.
    Lovely photo.

  4. Di - yes, there are times when I will vary where I write depending upon what I want to write too. Non-fiction I can write at my desktop machine, but for fiction I much prefer to be curled up with my laptop somewhere.

    Well Fran, you might have to start campaigning to save your local library then! And dogs in libraries - I have seen a guide dog for the blind in a library before!

    Lynne - it was okay, the Lake District didn't see me coming - I was hiding behind my Dad.

  5. Simon
    I work on my laptop at the kitchen table. Handy for the kettle but also dangerously near the biscuit tin and the fridge! I face a blank wall (less distracting) but the door to my left looks out onto the garden. I am constantly running outside to shoo away fat pigeons eating the seeds that I’ve put out for the little birds. It works off a few biscuit calories, anyway! But I do like the idea of trying to write somewhere else. I wish I had a shed with big windows and heating!
    By the way, you asked the rhetorical question ‘whoever retires from writing?’ and I can tell you: Maeve Binchy. Remember – she retired a few years ago, but she’s been back for a little while now. Just goes to show, you can’t keep a good writer down!

    Helen Yendall