This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Like many authors, I have a dedicated study only alas, it’s not as dedicated as it should be and is filled with all sorts of other clutter. However, it does have a lovely view, but to stop me getting too distracted by this, my desk faces at right angles to it, and so I have to get up to admire it. Right in front of me is a huge notice board, put there by builders, who obviously had hammers ready when they tried to put drawing pins into it. Currently it has a picture of my daughter trying on her wedding dress, some photos taken at a party of me and friends, a ‘before’ picture of me that was supposed to inspire me to lose weight. Alas, it is now the ‘inspiration’ picture and I’ trying desperately to be that thin again. Among the best seller lists, book covers and other photos, there is one which is my favourite. It is a picture of a rowing boat. It’s being pulled up onto the foreshore by my husband. In the boat is a small boy. Artistically, it’s a lovely photo, but of course it’s far more than that for me.
Even I am amazed at how cluttered my desk is. Very often you can’t actually see what the surface is. I do tidy it from time to time – say in between books – but by the time you add my family sized calendar, pencil sharpener (it plugs into my computer to work) the phone, my blood pressure machine (which I never use) several books I am due to quote for and sometimes someone else’s manuscript I am working on, it’s back to how it was. Currently there are research books, a garden plan as well as notebooks, notes, nail varnish, jars of pens and my favourite thing – a little red egg cosy knitted for me by my friend Adele Geras. There is quite often the remains of my breakfast, which my husband kindly brings me. Which is where the egg cosy comes in – it’s always two boiled eggs.
Behind my desk are various book shelves. These contain a mixture of my books in order of publication, research books, the books written by my friends and spare copies of my books to give away.
Then there is a huge box containing presents. They are non specific but my daughter would say I could my entire next year’s Christmas from it without buying anything else. Of course this isn’t true! (but probably nearly.) I have a bad Achica habit and I can’t resist a bargain. The trouble is I do tend to buy things for my grandchildren and then forget I’ve got them.
Although I fervently claim (possibly a bit too fervently) that this mess doesn’t hinder my creativity, sometimes I do find moving to a different location helps. I’ll take my laptop down to the kitchen table, or the dining room table, or better still, off to a writing retreat where there are other writers to keep me working. I always write when we’re on holiday otherwise I’d never go on holiday because I’d never have time. And as I said, a change of scene inspires me. Also, if you habitually wake before 7 and in summer that may be 5, you have to do something before your holiday companions wake up. Once, when I had a deadline, I learned how to write with Peppa Pig was on and we were having a family honeymoon. (It’s what you have if you have children before you get married and you want in built baby sitters.)
I love my office! It might be a mess but it’s cosy and I’ve written a lot of books there.
Katie Fforde's new novel, A Summer at Sea, is out now!