Wednesday, 3 March 2010

On Writing: The Writer's Workplace

I used to enjoy turning straight to page 5 of Saturday's Guardian Review supplement to see the photograph of an established writer's boudoir. It was always a fascinating and voyeuristic experience, peering through the keyhole while the writer was not at home. Some were idyllic with perfect views, serene spaces, modernist furniture; others were like busied libraries, active offices with old furniture slung between organised chaos.

Unfortunately, the newspaper stopped doing this at some point last year. However, in honour of its absence I will carry the torch and do my own.

I have had to take two photographs to make up for the lack of an all encapsulating wide-angle lens view.

So, welcome to the space where I do most of my scribblings.

On a solid Ikea desk my partner's old (in laptop years) overheating laptop and school paraphernalia dominate the surface (and the sides) with pens, binders and NUT letters. To the right of the laptop is a new printer - I got rid of the old one because I couldn't work out how to drain the ink absorber - and a cylinder of discs containing music to fit all moods, but silence is best (or at least just the sound of the manic laptop fan). To the left of the desk is a DAB radio which is usually tuned into BBC Radio 2 or 6 (I hope the station stays!), sadly the radio suffered a fall due to the binders tipping over and has never been the same since, hence the replacement CD player to the far left. Top left is a photo collage of nights out circa 02-06, I always spot something new when I stare at it, at my younger self. Sometimes, if I'm suffering from writer's block, I swivel the chair 90 degrees to the right, push back, prop my feet on top of the radiator and look up at the sky, sometimes there is a jet stream chasing itself, gulls flying over, or sometimes the clouds are moving giving the illusion that the entire house is moving. Then the writer's block is cured, as if the view was a form of visual roughage.

To my right is the window in the house that holds the most glorious view; I ignore the houses opposite and the flats further down, partly to avoid meeting eyes with neighbours, and partly because what lies in the distance is far more interesting. The first two fields belong to a local farmer, beyond that are the fields of Cornwall. Kitt hill, the bump on the landscape on the top right, is a great look-out point. To the left of it is a mast which lights up when night falls. Somewhere in between is St Mellion, home to a famous golf club where Ronnie Corbet, Bruce Forsyth and Alice Cooper have teed off, whether they have done together, we can only hope. Also mist frequently rises from the river Tamar, and if the wind is blowing the an easterly direction, it rolls along the hills towards the house. Because this view is westerly there are dazzling sunsets to behold.

So that's it, not a bad space for writing really...


  1. I love seeing other writers' workspaces. It's always fascinating and they ooze creativity. Thanks for sharing yours, Andy.

  2. Hi Carol,

    Nice to hear from somebody else who shares my love of seeing other writers' workspaces. I might encourage our fellow students to do the same on the forum should they care to share.

    Did you notice that I made my writer's space doubly authentic through the simple action of not tidying up?