Monday, January 14, 2008

Comfort zone

After having a good old nosey around some 'proper' writers' rooms in the Guardian online, I thought I'd post a picture of mine - just in case you haven't got anything better to do.
It made rather fascinating reading, and I was struck by how important it seems to be to have a separate 'writing space' and whether it isn't that we simply become attached to the place where we first started to write seriously. Which for me was a table with a typewriter, or later, a computer on it. It didn't much matter back then, only that there was a table and something to write or type on. Nowadays, particularly since we moved house, I must confess I've become addicted to my little writing comfort zone. (Note how I resisted the urge to tidy up. Also, how bored Molly looks. She's fed-up with the camera these days). Looking back, though, a consistent feature for me was to be facing a wall. I don't know why, but I still prefer it that way, though if I turn to my left I can see the front garden through an enormous, cleaner-unfriendly window. The postman has seen many a sight, walking past that window, I can tell you. Notably, me exercising on one of those step machines in front of This Morning, one day, wearing rubber gloves (I got distracted while washing up). Also, even though I can read a book on a crowded train, I can't write with anyone (apart from Molly) in the room with me, but I can cope with music or the tv turned down low.
I bought one of those knee-ly stool affairs last year, to make me sit up straighter and it does work in general, but makes my knees ache after a while so I end up straddling the thing like a tiny, well-behaved pony.
Of course, recently, there has been some bedroom activity with Laptop, (hardly suitable viewing for a family-friendly blog I think you'll agree), which did make me realise I can probably, if pushed, write anywhere once I actually Get On With It, but I still tend to drift inexorably towards this desk and this space most days. It's where I feel most comfortable and most productive, and is also my preferred place of procrastination...see that guitar there? It's not just to show how arty/bohemian and utterly creative I am at all moments (I do a bit of strumming now and then, but I'm never going to set the charts alight), it's just that I picked it up earlier with a view to dusting it and got distracted by some CD's that had fallen behind it that I thought I'd lost...sigh.
I think I've lost my thread.


CTaylor said...

What a lovely desk! It makes my hacked (I cut off one of the sides of to make it fit) mdf desk jobby look positively poor relation in comparison!


It looks rather more battered close up! We had to take a door off to get it in the house :)

Alis said...

It's interesting, this whole thing of where we write. There's been stuff about it on the Macmillan New Writers blog and I wrote a post about it here
if you're interested. The 'where' seems just as vital to get right as the 'what', doesn't it?
Best wishes for this year's writing, Karen. And well done on the story-inclusion!

Lane said...

That looks a lovely relaxed place to write. I love the mellow colours.

I used to have an 'office' until someonetook it over with his junk. Now I'm forced to roam the house like a refugee, clutching my laptop and notebooks, looking for a clear workspace.

lol at what the postman saw! Maybe he thought you were trying to sweat your hands thin:-)

Lane said...

That article is fascinating btw. have book marked for a good read later. Have you seen AL Kennedy's chair?!

HelenMH said...

I have a lovely writing room. It is my conservatory and has a view over my garden. But for some reason I always end up writing with my laptop on my knees and my feet up in front of the telly! Perverse! Me?!!!

L-Plate Author said...

I'm with Helenmh. I have a lovely room, so be it the box room, with a lovely big desk that I so needed to accommodate all my writing pads and laptop yet I always end up on the settee.

Your desk looks truly inviting though. x

Tom Foolery (TF) said...

Were you ONLY wearing gloves? wearing? Great desk. TFX

Maddie Moon said...

Your room looks lovely and wouldn't be out of place in that article, Karen. I'm another traveller wandering around the house with my laptop trying to find just the right spot!
That article is fascinating, thanks for posting.

Sarah Dunnakey said...

oh dear, looking at your desk and then at mine gave me a bit of a jolt. Yours looks well occupied, a comfortable place to write surrounded by familar objects. Mine looks like a white elephant stall at a jumble sale. I'm going to spend a few minutes clearing stuff away and then I'm going to find me a plant, yours looks like such a friendly writing companion

FPDuck said...

My current writing space is a safe with a box of monopoly on top at the bottom of my bed. I'm not sure if it'll change when I get my own place, either... which is rather sad.


Leigh said...

What d'you mean you haven't tidied up for the picture? You can't say that, your desk is pristine!


alis - Thanks for popping over! I don't know why the 'where' is so vital, but it seems to be the case:)

lane - Sweating my hands thin!!! I love that. It's not my hands I need to worry about...

helenmh - Your writing room sounds lovely, but I suppose as long as your doing some it doesn't matter where!

l-plate - The settee does seem rather inviting - I'm sure if I sank into ours, I'd get nothing done at all!

tf - HA HA - that would be a sight for sore eyes!!! (I had slippers on as well)

maddie - Great image of you roaming about with your laptop tucked under your arm. I suppose at least the PC, being non-portable, means I have to park my bum somewhere :)

sarah - I do like a nice plant by the desk. They're supposed to absorb all the nasty things that computers release into the air as well. Apparently :)

Mike - At least you can have a game of Monopoly if you get bored of writing. And you could keep your precious manuscript in the safe... :)

leigh - My desk is not pristine - I airbrushed the picture. Not really. It's much messier close up, honest. You can write your name in the dust!

Poetess said...


I found your blog via Auntie Gwen (I think)

I now know why I am not comfortable in my comfort zone. It is soo bloomin cluttered. You have put me to shame.

My new year resolution - to keep my desk tidy. Bit ambitious and likely to be broken by the weekend.


Mercedes. said...

Your writing room sounds and looks cosy. I write in the kitchen on the wooden kitchen table. I can write anywhere so long as there's not much noise. I used to write upstairs in part of our bedroom that has cosy chairs. Then we had a conservatory and I wrote in there. Then I got the dog and now have to write on the kitchen table so he doesn't accidently jump up and erase the lot.
God it's so easy to get distracted. Equally though, I find when I'm on a roll and want to get on because my head is bursting with stuff, the world and his friend come round, or the dog is a pain, or the phone keeps ringing. Or the mobile. Then I'm in a rotten mood for the rest of the day and not got a thing down. Forgotten it by then anyway!!!

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