This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
For a long time I thought to write a novel you had to have an office. A whole room in your house designated to creating wonderful characters, witty dialogue and brilliant plot twists. Which was somewhat of a problem as I started writing my first novel in a one bedroom flat in Notting Hill, which I shared with my then boyfriend.
This was 15 (gulp) years and 11 (even bigger gulp) books ago. I was 29 and had finally decided to go for it and write 'that book' I'd always dreamed about writing. However, whenever I read articles featuring authors I admired, they'd often be photographed in their offices and I would be filled with dismay.
Could I really hope to write a whole novel if I didn't have my own room?
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Is there a word for UN-ergonomic? Looking back now, I'm surprised I didn't keel over with carpal tunnel.
Failing my duvet desk, I always had the kitchen table.
This conjures up a lovely image of an old pine table, scrubbed clean with just a vase of fresh flowers to inspire me, but in reality it was drowning in sheets of negatives. My then-boyfriend was a photographer, and he used film. This was in the days before digital (now I really AM making myself sound old) and he would use the table to look at them on his lightbox.
Sorry Ms Woolf, what was that about a woman needing a room of their own if they are to write fiction? I didn't even have a whole table!
In the end I found a solution; my first novel was written mostly between the hours of midnight and 6am when the rest of the world was sleeping. However when it came to my second novel I knew that if I wanted to see daylight again, things were going to have to change.
So I taught myself to write outside the home.
At first it wasn't easy; distractions are everywhere, but with a bit of practice and a pair of VERY crucial Bose noise-cancelling headphones, I can now write pretty much anywhere.
After leaving that flat in Notting Hill, I lived for several years in Los Angeles, where I met my husband, and I now divide my time between LA and London. Favourite writing spots include a coffee shop near the beach in LA, that does a fantastic cortado (these delicious small coffees) and several libraries in London. If we're talking the best ceiling-to-floor bookshelves, these win hands down!
Now, my writing room tends to be wherever I am at the time. One of my greatest passions in life is travel and I love researching new locations to set my books. My motto is: "Have Laptop. Will Travel."
My current series features the heroine, Ruby Miller, The Love Detective, and I spent a month in India researching the first book. My new book, Love from Paris, is out this July, involved lots of trips to the City of Love. Whilst recently I travelled to Mexico for Christmas, and spent several days doing rewrites in the cafe of a courtyard in a gorgeous hacienda, which is where this picture is taken.
Yet, maybe things might change as a few months I finally bought myself a house, and guess what? It has a spare room! Finally, after 11 novels I can finally have my own office! I can have bookshelves! A desk! A fancy swivelly chair… except… I'm not sure I want one!
I'm not sure I can give up my mobile writing room.
Not just yet anyway!
The Love Detective by Alexandra Potter is out now.