Taking inspiration from The Guardian's 'Writers' Rooms', Sky Arts' 'The Write Place' and Book Chick City's excellent 'Where Stories Are Made'; My Writing Room is a fabulous fortnightly event, in which some of our favourite authors show us where the writerly magic happens, and tell us a little about their writing life.
This week we have the Writing Room of Fanny Blake, author of What Women Want
My Writing Room by Fanny Blake
When we moved into this house, my writing room used to be a tiny kitchen and I used to go into an office to work. However when I became a freelance journalist and then a writer, I really wanted a room where I could hide myself away from the rest of the family. The only problem with this one is that the door opens into the kitchen which means that I’m never far enough away from the biscuit tin or the fridge.
The desktop, covered with lino, goes all round three walls so there’s plenty of space to accumulate clutter, which I seem to be very good at. On the left of the room are two printers, one inkjet for manuscripts, the other for photos. Underneath that side of the desk are two filing cabinets and a shredder. The pin board holds all sorts of junk: photos, a favourite poem by UA Fanthorpe, sons’ drawings and a paper bag that contained a present of some heavenly spotty leather gloves from a glove shop in Venice called Fanny. The right-hand side of the office is where I stack all the book proofs I receive in my role of books editor of Woman & Home magazine. I had very deep shelves specially made, but they’re never deep enough so the proofs have to be drastically culled every month. Above the desktop, are my reference books and old diaries.
The great thing about the room, is the view of the garden. I don’t like gardening but I find looking out there very calming. The apple tree immediately outside is used by all sorts of birds: a robin, various tits, a jay and even a lesser spotted woodpecker. Because the room’s south-facing, I have to use the blind in good weather because it can be too bright. On either side of the window I’ve stuck postcards and a print from the Tate St Ives. They remind me of good times in Cornwall. There’s also my certificate from the time I white-water-rafted down the Zambezi. That reminds me that I can brave anything. On the window sill I’ve got photos of my kids and of me and my mother that always cheer me up. The wine glass by the computer was painted by one of my sons – a baby portrait of himself and the words A Fine Whine. When I’m working, I rest my feet on the piles of back numbers of Woman & Home that I’ve kept ever since I began as their books editor and refer to frequently.
Of course, central to everything is my Mac – great working tool and source of every kind of displacement. So much so that I’ve recently invested in Freedom, a download that will block the Internet from anything between 15 minutes to 8 hours, so I have no choice but to concentrate on what I’m writing.
They say a tidy office is the sign of a tidy mind. I long for both.
Fanny Blake’s What Women Want is published by Blue Door at £7.99