When the Queensland Writers Centre put out a call for authors to spill the beans on their writing spaces, I jumped to. Always willing to help out the QWC! This blog tour is from February to April 2010. While you are there, check out the other authors on the Queensland Writers Centre’s blog.
“There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
And like Ratty in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, that is exactly how I feel in the room where I write.
Some authors I know write at their kitchen bench, between the kids’ lunchboxes and milky cereal bowls, grabbing an hour or so before other duties call. Or in a state-of-the-arts’ garden-shed in the backyard – connected to the internet, with library shelves and carpet underfoot.
Not everyone has a special room to write in, so you do the best you can – what matters is the writing you actually do. But if you can have a space of your own, you are free. Free to simply mess about … like Ratty! Or be messy in, as is often the case with me. Mine you – my ‘mess’ is probably someone else’s ‘tidy’.
My space to mess about is my writing room on the front of our house in sub-tropical Brisbane. Big corner windows look out over the garden and to the street. I get to see when the local kids occasionally play chicken with cars; when blue-faced honey-eaters hang upside down in the palm leaves pulling out grubs, or when there is a storm brewing in the south-west. But most of the time my eyes are on the screen – lost in a story or two.
In my work space (and I’m lucky to have a whole room to myself) I have my CD player, favourite music, my favourite books and some of my art work. I’ve been working on a 58,000 word manuscript, hence the pile of paper and the book of Shakespeare’s quotes at hand. There are also a couple of photos of our son, David – one when he was a cheeky 8-year-old, and the other one, a particular favourite one of mine, as a 20-year-old trekking through the New Zealand alps.
On the floor behind my chair are files, folders and more printed pages that I must sort out – one of these days.