Except that every time I looked over my shoulder I saw an incredible view, and stopped working just to sit and stare.
So it wasn’t very productive. I then turned a small room into a dedicated study, facing the back this time where the view was much more limited. I spent hours admiring the layout of my perfect writing space, rearranging the books on their shelves and sharpening pencils. Then after all that exertion I’d curl up in the armchair and snooze. (You’re probably beginning to understand why my novel Ursula’s Secret took me three years to write.)
Now that I’ve moved back into the city, there isn’t so much temptation to while away the hours soaking up the spectacular scenery, watching the light change, the weather, the colours. No. Far less distraction in a small, city centre flat.
But far less space, too. And sometimes I work there.
Which is fine unless someone’s visiting as it’s in the spare bedroom. At other times I’ll work at the kitchen table but I’m really a writing nomad, and a very easily distracted one at that, so plain white walls, no outlook, no objets d’art (as if) and I’d probably be a lot more productive. Perhaps I should be institutionalised.
I’ll work away happily in one spot for a few days and then just start working somewhere else for no obvious reason. Perhaps the sun is coming through a window in another room, or perhaps it’s a cold and rainy day and I feel the need to snuggle down under a throw on the sofa. Sometimes I’m restless and need to pace so I work standing up at a work-top or table, and other times I take a cup of tea and the laptop back to bed and work there.
My ‘writing room’, I’ve realised, is in my head and can be anywhere I want it to be, so I purchased a collapsible laptop and table and move it around as the mood takes me.
I write outside my home too when I’m planning a scene or a new section, thinking things through or doing some ‘what ifs’. There are two or three local cafes where I’ll make a few notes the old-fashioned way with pen and paper while I drink good coffee and eavesdrop on my neighbours. When I get home, I’ll get tapping on the laptop wherever I happen to have set up writing camp that day, and I’m away.
For me, you see, it’s really all about getting started and once I’m writing I could be anywhere; the RSNO could be warming up alongside me and I wouldn’t notice. In fact, I have to set alarms on my phone for appointments, meals and so on as time just stops. I get lost in the story and nothing else exists, and that’s the best feeling in the world.
Ursula's Secret by Mairi Wilson is out now.