This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I write in the corner of an attic in south London, looking out over tree tops and chimney pots and the neighbourhood pigeons fluffing their feathers before flying off to seek their next meal. The rest of the house is full of the normal clutter of family life, but this is my corner and I love the ritual of getting up early, making coffee and sitting down at my desk before the world is really awake.
I start writing at 5am and like to get a chapter drafted before my husband and daughter wake up at 7. I take notes when I’m out and about if I see something or someone who sparks my interest, but I find writing on a screen to be the easiest way to shape my stories. Most of the time I sit at my granny’s beautiful writing desk, which fits perfectly beneath the window. I remember admiring it when I was little, and spending hours exploring the nooks and drawers and cubby holes which now give me an endless excuse to acquire stationery to fill them. When I get stuck I go out with my notebook to a café or a park or anywhere that might get the ideas flowing again.I have certain things that I like to have around me when I write. On the wall you can see some treasures from the two years I spent in Japan – my name in kanji in the picture frame and some beautiful fans made as leaving presents by my students. The ‘Keep Writing’ clock is from my husband, bought both to keep me focused and to encourage me on those days when I want to throw my draft out of the window.
Beneath the clock, you can see a few of the thousands of Post-its that I get through during each draft of a novel. They cover everything from the core emotions that are central to my second novel to character traits, motivations, plot lines and moments that I want to include in the narrative. The system seems chaotic but has always worked for me, although now my daughter has started peeling the Post-Its off the walls and rearranging them I fear I may have to rethink…
The rest of the room is far less peaceful – largely consisting of overfilled bookcases, printer cartridges, my daughter’s toys and a lot of washing hanging out to dry. But I love this little corner. It’s my haven. Just me, my coffee and whatever chapter I’m writing that day.
My Everything by Katie Marsh is out now.