This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I have a mental picture of Sophie Ranald, Writer. In it she works at an antique writing table with elegant, spindly legs that looks like it could go skittering away across the carpet at any minute. Next to her is a bone-china cup of green tea, and she takes the occasional sip, turning her head to gaze at the profusion of roses blooming in the garden outside. Their fragrance wafts through the open window. The sun catches Sophie’s smooth, glossy hair. Her hands on the keyboard are soft and white. Her silk dress is freshly ironed.
Ha! This is so not what it’s like. Quite often I write in bed, with the laptop propped up on my knees. Purrs, our cat, likes to curl up in the crook of my arm, which means tying one-handed. When the computer’s fan goes into overdrive and the pillows become uncomfortably squashed, I’ll venture downstairs to finish the day’s work at my dining room table.
Ergonomically, this leaves a lot to be desired. When I was writing It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t It?) I developed tennis elbow from writing with my arms at too acute an angle. I may have to invest in a higher chair for my next novel.
The room is bright and quiet, except when my neighbour is doing her flute practice or Purrs wants attention. If squeaking at me doesn’t work, she brings me one of her toy mice and paws my leg if I don’t notice it (that’s the cat, not the neighbour).
I can look out into our garden, but it isn’t the bosky paradise of my dreams – mostly what I can see is my washing line, which provides brilliant distraction because I get up often and check how dry the clothes are. Writers have very clean clothes; laundry provides unparalleled opportunities for procrastination.
I don’t need notebooks, dictionaries or other clutter around me when I write, because I do most of my research online and use Scrivener for planning, so usually my workspace holds just the laptop, coffee mug and water glass. Quite often Purrs comes and has a drink of my water before curling up on my lap for a cuddle. Then it’s back to typing with one hand.
Sophie’s novel It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t It?) is out now.