I write in a corner of my very small but very lovely flat in South London. I can look out the window at my garden, which I like to think is artfully rustic, but really is just horribly overgrown because I hate gardening. Like most writers, I already have fairly chronic back problems at 33, so when I moved into the flat I made sure I bought a proper desk (built all by myself from seventy pieces of flat-pack, the grown-up’s jigsaw puzzle) and got a good chair, an external mouse and keyboard, a wrist-rest, and a laptop stand. It’s definitely worth it, as you’d be amazed what aches and pains can develop from poor posture over time.
I live on my own, so can work all day in peace, with frequent tea-stops. However I struggle to get into a regular writing routine, as I’m always busy with other things, whether it’s promoting books or admin or teaching on the MA I run at City University (in crime writing, as my other persona). When I’m writing new words I find I need to leave the house, so I sometimes go to a lovely café across the road from my flat, in a leafy park. But I can write anywhere – on planes, on buses, at writing retreats, on holiday by the pool, and once in the luggage rack of a particularly busy train. I usually write my first draft longhand, so I can just open the notebook and get started wherever I am. I’d recommend this approach as a way of getting momentum and avoiding distractions – though if your handwriting is as bad as mine, you have my sympathies.
For editing, typing up, and other work, I’m usually at my desk by the window, with lots of tea and water and music playing. I get very cold when I write, so sometimes put on a blow-heater to warm up my frozen fingers. My desk has lots of handy cubbyholes for notebooks and stationery, and a shelf underneath where I keep my printer and can prop my feet against the radiator. One day I’d love to have my own office, ideally with a window seat where I could curl up and read or make notes, but for now this is the best desk I’ve ever had. In fact it’s the only proper one I’ve ever had and it took me three years of writing full-time to set it up! When I did I also framed my book covers and hung them nearby –just a way to remind myself that I take this seriously, and that it’s important to me.
The Thirty List by Eva Woods is out now.