The Write Space
There is something sacred about the space in which a writer conjures their magic. It’s where we dream and dare and wonder and face our fears and battle through our frustrations. We can (when there isn’t a pandemic) write in cafes, on trains, on park benches or anywhere we happen to find ourselves. Even these ordinary spaces get brushed with magic when some writing gets done in them. How much more enchanted, then, are the spaces we return to again and again, hour after hour? These are the spaces we make our own, where our bodies find their anchors while our minds are sailing to distant lands. Here, some of our Boundless authors share their writing spaces.
My writing space is upstairs in a cosy nook under the eaves. The globe on my desk has been with me for as long as I can remember, and it’s been all over the world - from England to Hong Kong, Australia, America, and back again. My desk is stuffed full of letters that I still write back and forth to my Mum and Dad who live in Australia. I have an old-fashioned style radio that my husband gave me in the most beautiful duck egg blue which I treasure. And, of course, no writing day is complete without my best dog Shadow quietly snoring nearby (or politely requesting cheese!)
One day I’ll have my own writing room. There’ll be a desk with a computer on it, notebooks, sketchbooks and printed extracts of my manuscript to scribble on. There’ll be a bookcase covering one wall, floor to ceiling with my favourite books, and maybe even some I’ve written. For now, though, it’s the kitchen table.
Jessamy Corob Cook
Lockdown has seen me back at my parents’ house, where I’m lucky enough to have this beautiful desk in a cosy corner of my room where I can sit and write. Next to me are shelves full of many of the books that inspired me growing up. A picture of the Bard watches over me, spurring me on to strive for greatness!
Most of the ideas for 'Digging for Victory' were sown whilst working in here. Once they had germinated, I'd prune, water and train them at my desk. The whole process was very organic.
Sadly, I’ve never been one of those writers that can crawl into bed, or get comfy on the sofa with their laptop, and write their next best seller! For me - a desk is always needed! Until recently, I had a little wobbly desk pushed up in a corner where my only view was the paint chipping off the wall. But there’s only so many ideas that spark from a bad paint job... My writing space now looks out the window to the many fields my house is surrounded by, so I’m often spotting pheasants and deer, and even the combine harvester!My bookcase can’t be too far away either for those moments I need some inspiration and my current read is always next to me on the desk. But who knows - maybe my best idea will be a book about a wobbly desk in a dilapidated room: ‘The Desk the World Forgot.’
This desk is tucked away up a narrow staircase in a room called ‘Jack’s Study’ at The Kilns in Oxford. This is the room where C.S. Lewis wrote the Chronicles of Narnia – but please don’t think I had visions of such grandeur while slaving away at my own writing here – not even close! I sought only to channel the tiniest kernel of Lewis’ spirit while eking out, word by word, what has become my very first novel. I can only hope I’ve done him proud!
Sadly, though, this is not the desk I’m writing at today. Since moving to Canada, my writing room has been a never-ending work in progress. In the meantime, I’m stationed somewhere between a homemade kitchen table and a sofa, dreaming of the day I’ll have a desk like the one I used in Jack’s Study.
I was going to tidy it up, make an ‘insta effort’, but this is how my desk looks ninety-nine per cent of the time. It’s a creative space, a working space, a chaotic disaster to the onlooker, but to me it’s somewhere to leave my thoughts and pick them up again the next day without much of a pause. I have, and can write, almost anywhere: in cafes, on trains, halfway up a mountain. But there is a wonderful freedom and stability in having a desk. I think after a room of one’s own, a desk of one’s own is the next best thing.
In a corner of the garden stands my writing shed. Jackdaws scrabble over the roof and the dog snores on the daybed. It’s a tranquil space and my very own portal to adventure.
This wallpaper of Château de Chambord perfectly embodies the setting of my novel.
I have a pile of laminated note-cards with writing tips on them close at hand; they’re tools to reach for if the story’s workings ever get stuck.
I’ve raised my monitor as high as it goes so that I hold my head up high as I write.
Well... I’d love to present you a magical writing desk with hidden compartments and secret keys and singing books, or a candlelit writing den that flies (it’s in the makings of my brain). But, right now, I write in two places:
The table, where I stack things.
And the place of all places... my bed! THIS is where I write most, with pillows propped against the window so I’m in the light and just on the brink of a chill. I wake up early and – at the risk of embarrassing myself – stay in the same spot with my cat most of the day. If I do move anywhere, I leave a trail of heat pads (supporting misbehaving joints) and chocolate wrappers.
I wrote the majority of The Ocean in the Lighthouse sitting at my desk (Mum's old dressing table) in my childhood bedroom. It overlooks trees and a farmer's field where, in the Spring, lambs actually do frolic. And baa. A lot.
It was what I needed, every day sat at the desk. That discipline. Hours of graft and sometimes an uncomfy bum. I have books near me to feel smart about, and shells to remind me of the sea.
However, what I also want to share is the place where I go to imagine. You can't imagine on an uncomfy seat. So I chose the sofa in my parent's lounge that has lots of gorgeous natural light coming in. There I scribbled away on an old notepad and lo, Ocean was born. It is a peaceful room...apart from when a certain very bossy puppy climbs up on the garden table and barks through the window!