When it comes to my writing space, I’m afraid I’m greedy. I usually start the day at my desk, which was given to me by my mother and late father one birthday. It’s an antique, Arts and Crafts piece and I love it because it’s old, cute and elegant and reminds me of them. Plus, it looks on to the street outside our house in London, so I can feel part of the what’s going on even when I’m scribing away on my own. You’d be surprised at the amount of activity on an average day in an ordinary suburban road. I could write a book about it…!
The problem, however, is that my beautiful desk is a bit small. I tend to spread out when I work, with notebooks, bits of paper, leaflets I’ve picked up during research, mugs of coffee etc and soon, there’s hardly any room for my laptop and keyboard. At this point, I’ll stroll downstairs and occupy the big table in our dining room. Which is okay when the family’s out, but slightly tiresome for them when they’re not, the door’s shut and I won’t let them in. I’m like a bear in its cave when I’m in the zone: enter at your peril!
When I get bored of the dining room, I’ve been known to stroll round the corner to my mum’s for a change of scenery. There’s a lovely study overlooking the garden, which my father used to use and it’s very quiet and sunny. Mum’s good about not disturbing me, but we usually find time for a quick cup of tea during breaks. Plus, there’s no internet, which means I’m not distracted by emails and the kids don’t bother me.
The only place where I find I can’t write is out of doors. I’m either too hot or cold, the birds are too noisy or there’s a dog barking next door. I envy writers who can, because it must be lovely to be in the fresh air and an excellent way to top up the tan.
It sounds weird, but my nomadic writing habits seem to work for me. Occasionally I think I’ll convert the garage at the bottom of our garden into an office, but I expect I’d only get bored of it as well and migrate back to my desk, dining room or Mum’s. You know what they say? Variety’s the spice of life!
Tremarnock by Emma Burstall is out now.