Where do writers write? It is not as straight forward as you think because many do anything to avoid writing in the space you would expect us to use – the home study. When J K Rowling was finishing the Harry Potter series she took up residence in the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh, and marked the moment she finished on a bust of Hermes. Only someone of her stature could get away with defacing hotel property so please don’t try this at home. She also used a cafe called the Elephant House if TripAdvisor is to be believed.
Roald Dahl had a shed which is lovingly recreated in the the museum dedicated to him in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire. You can sit in the chair (it’s very big if I remember) and imagine wrapping yourself up in blankets and hot water bottles – the comfort contrast to the Balmoral Hotel could not be greater
! I believe Philip Pullman also favoured a shed at one point.
James Joyce (a famous Irish writer) and Churchill both liked bed as a place to write – as did George Orwell (Animal Farm) and the great French writer Proust.
Cars of the parked variety appear also to have been used. Gertrude Stein and Vladimir Nabokov, both famous twentieth century writers, appeared to have favoured that moment in between places for composition. I really can’t see the attraction myself but maybe I should be thinking of an elegant limousine than my everyday vehicle.
William Wordsworth the poet composed while walking the Lake District. It comes through in his poetry as it seems to have the sense of walking pace and rhythm that comes from a steady stride. Walter Scott, the most famous Scottish novelist in the nineteenth century, apparently wrote his stories on horseback at times, though this sounds very hard to manage to me!
Hotel, cafe, bed, car, horseback, on foot – I’m sure there are many more options. But what they share, I think, is an ‘away from the desk’ freedom. I’m sitting in my study right now writing this but when I turn to my novel I’ll move away and use a chair and laptop, to get in the right frame of mind. I like most of all the cafe option. Here’s a picture of a normal day at the office for me when I was just finishing one of my series a few weeks ago, writing as Joss Stirling.
Where do you write?