This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
My first two books were written mostly in dormitory beds in South American hostels, so it still feels luxurious to actually have a writing room to talk about. (Writing in bed was a terrible error: I got a permanent coccyx injury. If you're a writer, and you're reading this, STOP BLOOMING WELL WRITING IN YOUR BED! My Osteopath asked me to say that. I do still write in bed when I'm feeling naughty but it's a pointless rebellion.)
These days I am lucky enough to have two writing rooms. The first is in my house. It looks all pretty and aspirational in the photo, but do not be fooled. It's a disgraceful tip in the parts of the room that you can't see. This is partly because it's the dumping ground for boxes we have yet to unpack (we moved in a year ago) and partly because I am just a lazy old goat. The filing cabinet is a monstrosity. I bought it at the Shepton Mallet flea, and convinced myself that I’d turn it into something beautiful. I failed.I use an old wooden box as a computer raiser, to help my back, and use old marmalade pots for pens and flowers. Recently I went to a proper old-fashioned stationers and kitted myself out with envelopes, rulers, scissors and pens. It was the coolest! Then I got home and remembered I only need a computer.
The other writing room is in a creative co-operative in Bristol, where you can rent pretty much any sort of workspace, be it a studio, a workshop or a desk. Over the last few years I’ve come to realise that – for me at least – solitude is the enemy of all creativity. If I'm to write vivid characters and gripping stories I need real people near me; without them my writing quickly turns beige. Also, I’m very aware that people expect belly laughs when they buy my books, and in order to deliver such hilarity I have to interact with other humans. I’m chronically unfunny when left unattended.
The first day I spent hotdesking at the co-op, someone said, “Hello, who are you? Would you like a cup of tea?” And I was so grateful for the sound of a human voice in the middle of a bad writing day that I nearly wept. “I WOULD LOVE ONE SO MUCH,” I yelled. She looked perplexed for a bit, and then smiled and said, “It’s such a relief to work with other humans, isn’t it?”
It really is.
The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson is out now.