Today we are having a gander at Charlotte Betts' beautiful writing room. The Apothecary's Daughter by Charlotte Betts has just been published and you can read our review here.
My Writing Room by Charlotte Betts
I have a wonderful writing room in a converted outbuilding, rather grandly called the studio, as it’s where I used to base my interior design business. One day, when I find some time, I’ll use it to paint watercolours again. Unfortunately, due to the astronomically rising cost of heating oil I can only afford to use the studio in the summer.
It has a large roof lantern which floods the room with light and a high, wide window like a giant letterbox above my desk, from where I can see the garden and watch the birds on the feeder hanging from the pergola. Beyond the garden are woods, mostly beech and silver birch. Sometimes the garden is visited by deer to the detriment of the roses!
The studio is painted a soothing pale duck-egg blue and has one wall lined with bookshelves. I have a favourite wingchair where I do my thinking and research and drink endless cups of tea. In the summer I always write with the door open and can stroll around the garden muttering snatches of dialogue under my breath while I wrestle with plot problems.
In the winter, now I have a demanding and time consuming day job in an office in the local town, I simply write whenever and wherever I can. Most often I set up my laptop in the orangery which open-plan to the kitchen and you can see it in the photo above. It’s light and spacious and, in the interest of preventing back problems, I use a proper office chair at the ten-seater Victorian dining table. There is plenty of space to set out all my research files and books but it is annoying to have to clear it away for dinner time. (Actually, I usually just push it all down to one end and try to disguise it by placing a large bunch of flowers in front!) I still have wonderful views over the garden to the woods and I can keep an eye on the potatoes if I’m preparing the dinner at the same time as writing. Sadly, this is a common occurrence.
Sometimes I manage to take a lunch break from the office and my colleagues joke that I’m going back to the seventeenth century for an hour. I take my net book over the road to The Chequers Hotel, order a cappuccino and set up camp in the bar. I’ve learnt to shut out all muzak and conversation and I immerse myself in the novel, typing away like fury to beat the clock. I never have time for writer’s block any more and it’s amazing what you can achieve in terms of word count, if you have to, in a short space of time.
And then there are the notebooks. A lot of ‘writing’ goes on in my head, wherever I happen to be: on a train, driving or waiting to see the dentist. I have notebooks in various different sizes and colours to suit different handbags and pockets. I would no more leave the house without a notebook than my shoes since I hyperventilate at the thought of forgetting any fantastic ideas that will surely evaporate if not speedily captured on paper.
You can read more about my writing life on my website at www.charlottebetts.com