This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Over to Donna…
The following banner is an affiliate one. That means Writing Tips Oasis receive a small % of the sale if you purchase The Novel Factory, but at no extra cost to you:
I know what you’re thinking. You’ve seen more cluttered padded cells, haven’t you? But that’s sort of the point. My office is bare, not because I’m incredibly tidy by nature (you haven’t seen the rest of the house), but because I’m a terrible procrastinator. Which is a polite way of saying I waste a lot of time.
I used to have my office in our spare room, overlooking the back garden. It was lined with books, filled with all my little treasures, and was generally a cosy nest in which to spend many happy hours.
And that was the problem. I spent many happy hours there, but not many of them were actually spent writing. I don’t know if you realise how much time you can spend watching your neighbour’s cat sunning itself on the wall, but let me tell you it’s a lot. Especially when the alternative is staring at a blank computer screen.
I would rearrange my bookshelves, first into alphabetical order, then into genre order, then even in order of height. The day I found myself organising my pencils in order of colours of the rainbow, I realised something had to give.
Also, while working from home means you can spend a lot of time on the sofa watching Loose Women, it also means you never actually switch off. I wanted a place that was separate from the house, so I could lock the door and leave it all behind me every evening. Plus, if I was going out of the house at least it meant I had to get dressed.
So we sliced a bit off the back of the garage, stuck in a door and hey presto, my office was born.
It’s the kind of place an ancient Spartan would feel at home. There is no heating, so I have to type to stop myself getting hypothermia. The only natural daylight comes from a narrow strip of frosted glass, high enough that I’m not tempted to spend all day leaning on the window ledge. And even if I did, all I would see was next door’s brick wall.
There are few home comforts in there. I have a daylight lamp, so I don’t get SAD in August. I have a wall of cupboards, so everything is stowed away out of sight. When I’m working, all I have on my desk is a pile of index cards containing all the scenes of my novel, a notebook and a pen. And, of course, a cup of tea.
I do have my reference books in there. You’ll notice there’s a print on the wall, too. My husband and daughter bought it for me. It’s called, appropriately enough, ‘Solitude’.
Yes, I’d love a Cath Kidston-inspired vintage mash-up of bits and pieces. But then I’d be so busy rearranging my patchwork cushions I’d probably never write another word. My den may be basic, but it’s a haven of creativity.
Unless Loose Women is on, of course…
Donna’s latest book The Nightingale Sisters is published by Arrow on 25th April.