This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I adore this feature on Novelicious, and getting ready to write this, I just got totally distracted looking at everyone else’s writing rooms. I’m unbelievably jealous of Sarah Morgan and Joanne Harris’s sheds, Holly Martin’s cosy chair, Stephanie Wahlstrom’s Kate Spade bag. Envy has beset me. I need to get myself a shed (and a bright orange bag).
If I had a five year plan, getting a shed would be at the top of it. Unfortunately my husband wants one too, so we actually need two sheds, which makes it a more unattainable goal – that and the fact we live in a flat with no garden. So while the shed dream is on hold I work at a desk in the spare room.It’s yellow formica and we found it on the side of the road in pieces. I was too embarrassed to walk down the street with it – very pathetic – but my hubby made me and we stumbled along with this awkward, broken table between us. But fixed and cleaned up, it’s my lovely yellow desk. I work on a Macbook Air, which I love, although I was seduced by the branding and the sleek silveriness when actually, I’m ashamed to admit, I quite miss Windows and Word. The light I bought at an antique shop and I get immense pleasure when I click it on and off – any distraction I can get! And every time I buy something I really like I have it on my desk for a while, just so I can look at it, like the dog which I got at a car boot sale this summer. The picture was from a flat that my sister bought; it hadn’t changed since the seventies and there were all these original fashion posters on the wall.
If I don’t work here then I work at the kitchen table where I wrote the whole of The Little Christmas Kitchen. I have no real reason as to why, but I let my desk just get dusty and set up camp there instead, staring out the window at the leaves and the scaffolders.
If I need to get out the house I go to Caffe Nero, but I tend to be distracted listening to other people's conversations, so then I’ll take myself to The National Theatre where it’s quiet and dark and they serve good coffee. But I usually only last an hour or two before I start to think about how cosy my desk is at home!
I quite often write by hand in a notebook – one that’s A4 and lined with no perforation marks so the pages don’t tear out. Initially quite hard to come by, I then found a stash of them at a really old stationers round the corner and bought in bulk for fear that they might go out of business. In the photo, the one I wrote The Parisian Christmas Bake Off in is on the top of the pile – you have to forgive the kittens, it was the only one I could find on holiday in Italy.
Having said all the above, I’m writing this with my laptop on my knee in the living room. So I probably shouldn’t get a shed because I’d only end up in the kitchen again.
The Little Christmas Kitchen by Jenny Oliver is out now.