Virginia Woolf said that a woman must have a ‘room of her own’ if she is to write fiction. I tend to agree that writing is easier if there is quiet and comfort, and I often fantasise about renting a cottage by the sea for a few months and writing a great literary classic inspired by the waves and the weather. I’m sure that I would be distracted by the views, the walks on the beach or the cliffs and it would probably have WiFi, so there would be no escape from the internet.
At home I write in the ‘spare room’. This is the place where the washing dries when the weather is too bad to hang it outside, where guests sleep when they come to stay and where we dump things that don’t seem to fit in anywhere else in the house. But I have made a corner of this room my own. I recently bought a new desk to replace the ancient kitchen table that I used to use – it was my bedroom desk when I was studying for ‘O’ levels – and my partner bought me a lockable filing cabinet so that I have some secure storage. The wall above my desk has a photograph of a house in Robin Hood’s Bay, a framed review of my first novel and some funny postcards from friends. I write on a PC not a laptop and I sit on a comfy office chair.
I’ve been away from home quite a lot this summer, mostly in our ageing campervan, so I’ve got into the habit of taking a laptop with me in case I get comfortable enough to write. In Glenridding, I spent a blissful day, with no internet or mobile phone signal, writing and editing. Last weekend I took this a step further. I had a few hours to kill waiting around in the car and, instead of taking a book to read I took a netbook, to write. I parked in a fantastic spot overlooking the Howgills and managed to bash out over a thousand words. I don’t know if it was the view, the peace or the novelty, but I would definitely add ‘a car of her own’ to Woolf’s initial assertion, and possibly a campervan too!