Where do you write? And what does your writing space give you – i.e. why do you write there?
Where do you do your most creative thinking – and when? (e.g particular time of day, conscious space e.g. dreams)
Do you use/need anything particular in order to help you write? (e.g. music, chocolate, coffee, silence etc) In what way does this “support” help you?
I suggest you get yourself a cup of tea or coffee - but be wary of drinking it while reading some of these responses…
Author of The Cup of the World, The Widow and the King, The Fatal Child, The Lightstep and WE
I write in an annex room with white walls and a sloping ceiling, and dark blue blinds of a colour that makes me think of the Mediterranean. There’s a big tapestry of the Creation on one wall, so at one time I was going to call this ‘The Creation Room,’ (but of course that didn’t stick). On another there’s a sketch of yours truly done by Christopher Lee. I am portrayed in fantasy armour and accompanied by an assortment of goblins carrying all kinds of exotic weaponry, including a hand grenade - just what an author needs to get his thoughts going. There is also a small potted palm tree in case I need to recycle my carbon dioxide.
The room is quite large: four metres by five or say 10% of the floor area of the house. That means I can claim 10% of the running expenses of the house on my tax return. Or I could, supposing the room was exclusively used for the production of literary works.
I fear my tax return needs a little revision.
For one thing, there’s a large bed in one corner. I can’t remember when it got here but it’s definitely there now. From the state of it, it gets quite a lot of use. Last users as I recall were two of the four teenagers who slept over with us on Sunday night. (I have been careful not to ask which two). Before that it was probably me, looking for a place where sleep might be possible at four in the morning, which it plainly wasn’t going to be in my own bed. Before that it was whichever couple it was who came to stay and were so terribly polite about the cooking, the state of the bathrooms etc. Anyway, my ‘Creation Room’ doubles as a spare bedroom. And the ghostly taxman at my elbow makes a note in his little book.
In another corner there’s an antique oval table. It’s where my wife does the administration for her father’s estate – a process that generates as much in paper as a First World War battle does in mud, while taking three times as long and being very nearly as bloody. The papers occupy most of the surface and also a considerable part of the floor around it. One corner of the table, however, has been colonised by my daughter, who has been studying for her summer exams. Daughter has been coached in a number of revision techniques, one of which is to put up post-its all over the house with random bits of learning on them. The one on the wall by my left ear reads:
- Impersonal constructions
- Negative doubt
- Superlative que/qui (opinion not fact)
Up to a few days ago there was another one on the desk that read For Fools to Ponder Over. I never found out what that was about. I think it must have been Eng. Lit.
My desk has not escaped the executor’s battle. There’s a small heap of papers here to do with trusts and investments, some of which I’m supposed to be helping with. There’s also the printout of an agreement with Google about their Terms of Service – that’s to do with wife’s work. There’s a stack of trays, crammed with paper, property of the church treasurer. The wooden chest to the left of the desk teeters with folders, also belonging to the treasurer. On the floor – what’s that? It looks like more French. And some ‘How to choose your university’ stuff. And rail tickets.
Over the back of a chair are flung some clothes. Neatly balanced on the top of the clothes is a rolled up pair of pink socks.
Where do I write, Nicky? I write in my head.
Too bad the brain isn’t tax-deductible.
To find out more about John Dickinson, visit his website.
Award winning author of the Eddie Dickens books, Grubtown Tales, and the Unlikely Exploits series, and also the winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2009’s seven to fourteen category.
BLOG AUTHOR'S NOTE: All images of Philip Ardagh have had to be nicked from the internet. Some of these images may be entirely misleading. It is entirely possible that Philip Ardagh actually writes inside a giant pumpkin and does his best thinking while glued to the roof of a tent...
It used to be on one particular pad with one particular pen, or one particular typewriter, or one particular Amstrad, or one particular PC, on one particular desk in one particular corner of one particular room.
Yes, I was particular.
Anywhere else, and the writing just didn't come together. Then, over time, as I got invited to appear at more and more events and festivals in more and more parts of the world, I found I HAD to write in different locations with different methods, or I'd never meet those deadlines...
...so now I write on planes, trains and in the backs of cars. On railway platforms, hotel rooms, poolsides, airports, backstage... on laptops, paper napkins, in notebooks... I can pretty much write anywhere.
As well as satisfying a need, writing is also my job. On weekdays -- if I'm not off at an event or travelling to or from one -- I'm at my desk from around 8.30am until 5.40pm (though may well be working again later in the evening). I'm not a writer who sets myself a number of words to write in a day, or only works morning or afternoons.
I write write, write...
It's not witchcraft or alchemy, it's putting in the hours (and having the luxury to be able to put in the hours because it's my one and only job). When the creativity comes: great. When it doesn't, I tackle the more mundane aspects of the business.
At home, I have an office and a study. The office is lined with shelves containing my foreign editions, reference books, VAT and TAX files. It houses my desktop computer, stationery, and disorganized piles of paper. My study has dark furniture, knick-knacks, Victorian and Edwardian decanters, and old pictures on the wall.
When the need takes me, I can switch from one to the other for a very different atmosphere.
In both rooms, I do like quiet.
You can find a whole load more (hilarious) stuff about Philip Ardagh on his website.
And you can follow Philip on Twitter
Multiple award winning author of Noughts and Crosses, Boys Don’t Cry, Pig Heart Boy, Thief, and Hacker
I write in my attic which is full of books and my work desk is tucked away in one corner.
I do my best thinking when I'm asleep. If I have plot problems, a good night's sleep always seems to sort them out.
I have a 'music to work by' playlist which I play when I'm answering correspondence or reworking a story. When I'm creating the first draft, I must admit I like silence. Apart from music, the odd cup of lemon and ginger tea when I'm working goes down nicely too.
You can find out more about Malorie Blackman on her website.
And you can follow Malorie on Twitter.
Soon to be published debut author of Slated (having read some early chapters of Slated, I can assure you that Teri Terry is an author you definitely want to look out for!)
My best writing time is first thing in the morning, barely awake with a cup of tea, in my PJ’s in bed, propped up on pillows, laptop on knees. Sorry, no photos of this: no way! I write until I stop making sense, often from 6 or 7 am until 11, 12, 1, 2 or even later… I forget to eat.
Lately I’ve been finding if I stop earlier, actually eat and get up and do something else for a while like go for a walk, I am more productive over all. I usually go to the Writing Shack at the bottom of the garden for the afternoon. I'm rubbish at doing anything after lunch if I stay in the house.
All the above assumes I am home for the day! If not, writing fits in around the day job or other necessities as it will. But most days start with morning writing.
Even though Banrock (aka the Bunny ofHope: chief Muse, desk builder and partner in crime) and I spent AGES building an actual desk... I never use it to write. I don't know why: it just doesn't feel right. Why I like to write in bed is mostly tied up in my answer to the next question. And in the Shack in the afternoon, I am removed from all distractions, hidden away. The internet doesn't work that far from the house, and the only one who bothers me there is Distractor Cat from two doors down. She likes to evict my laptop for cuddles.
Dreams are important to me: part of the reason I like to write on waking. That subconscious bit of my brain kicks in and helps out. The kicking off point for my YA thriller, Slated – title and all – came from a dream; not the first time this has happened.
Oh, and in the shower! Not very green of me, but a long shower seems to help my brain sort out tricky plot points.
Years ago, I needed silence and complete lack of distractions: this isn’t very practical. I moved on to Mark Knopfler. The music starts and the creative part of my brain instantly knows it is time to write. I don’t think I even hear it any more. Knopfler in the morning, and birdsong in the garden in the afternoon.
One thing I don’t need is broadband. It is much better for my concentration if I leave it unplugged in the morning.
Chocolate is sometimes a reward! 3000 words gets me a walk to the shop and some M&Ms. But this may have to go as the book launch diet is about to begin.
Did I mention Slated will be out with Orchard Books next May?
You can find out more about Teri Terry on her website.
And you can follow Teri on Twitter.
If you are a children’s or YA author (or soon to be published children’s or YA author) and would like to participate in the Writing Room Revelations series, please contact me.