This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Today's My Writing Room comes courtesy of the wonderfully talented Julie Cohen. Julie's new book The Summer of Living Dangerously is out now.
My Writing Room by Julie Cohen
I live in a two-up, two-down Victorian terrace in the centre of Reading and I write in the room that was described by the estate agent as the ‘dining room’. When we bought this house ten years ago I was already writing and hoping to get published, so though we bought a very nice oak and steel dining table, I immediately put my iMac on it and commandeered it for my desk. The dining room became my writing room and the table only got used for dining at Christmas, Thanksgiving, and on the rare occasions I was crazy enough to decide to have a dinner party.
I wrote twelve published novels on that dining table and was midway through my thirteenth when my wrists started aching and my hands started going numb and twitching. A hand specialist diagnosed the problem as being due to poor working posture. So we took the legs off the dining table and stored it underneath our bed, and I bought myself a proper desk, a proper chair, and a proper ergonomic split and tilted keyboard. It’s made all the difference to my hands—but I give even fewer dinner parties now.
The desk has a shelf on the back where I’ve put all the editions of my books in English and in other languages. I counted just now and there are exactly eighty of them in this picture, though there are at least ten others that I know of and which haven’t been sent to me yet. When I’m having a tough writing day, I look at them and I
feel a sense of achievement. The photo of Robert Downey Jr on my iMac helps too. I always put a post-it saying WRITE CRAP on my computer; it reminds me to get words, any words, on the page, and worry about fixing them later. Above my computer hangs a print of my Girl from Mars book cover, signed by the artist Sharon Tancredi. It’s one of my favourite covers ever. There’s an oil painting done by the mother of one of my closest friends, American romance author Kathy Love. And I’ve got a photograph of myself dressed up for a Regency ball, which I did as research for my current novel, The Summer of Living Dangerously
While I like my writing room, it has a serious downside because it’s a main thoroughfare in our house, linking the rest of the house with the kitchen and the bathroom. My writing is liable to be interrupted at any moment by my husband wandering through in search of cheese. Still though, I’m close to the kettle and that’s an advantage.
The Summer of Living Dangerously is published by Headline Review on 1st March 2012, £6.99