"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce

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Friday, 24 February 2012

WRITER'S DREAM; A Place of One's Own

Virginia Woolf said that a writer needed 'a room of one's own'  and I am absolutely in agreement with her.  It must also be acknowledged though, that not everyone has the luxury of so much space; especially if you have children to accommodate.  Nevertheless, keeping a dream of your ideal writing environment tucked inside your mind will only spur you on to write your way to that reality.

For me, the ideal writing environment is a large wood paneled study/library with dark wooden furniture, a pigeon-holed desk,  leather armchairs pulled up to a roaring log fire and french windows opening out onto a balcony or veranda with a patio table for outdoor summer writing.  Sadly my tiny semi is no match for this grand design.  But I have kept the image with me throughout my writing career - indeed, this dream is a remnant of my childhood imagination, when I would wish I had a whole room full of books and one of my favorite places to go was the local Victorian library, where dark wood shelves filled with books towered high above my tiny stature.

Not having such a study to call my own, for years I wrote wherever I could carve out a bit of space and time. As a university student I wrote at an old battered computer desk, tucked in a corner of the kitchen; later I wrote at the dining table, or at the patio table in the garden if it was sunny and quiet.  If I have a busy day where I am driving around running errands and attending dance/skate classes,  I will park up and write in my car using a clipboard resting against the steering wheel as my desk; this way I manage to fit in a few minutes writing time as I go about my day.  Right now its 6:30am - I'm not ready to get up yet, but I am ready to write; a quick fluffing up of the pillows, a shake of the four poster canopy to make the most of the light; a cup of morning coffee as the laptop wakes up and here I am, cozily blogging away from the comfort of my bed.   I often write in bed; it is the place of dreams after all, and writing is the business of sharing dreams.

Some years ago I turned my spare bedroom into a little study.  This is where my childhood dream shows signs of coming true, as I have dark wooden furniture, a pigeon-holed escritoire desk, a brown leather armchair and the spice red walls are lined with bookcases,  filled to the brim with hundreds of books.  Because I am a recording artists too, I have set up one corner of this room as a tiny studio with my professional  microphone, pop filter and mic stand, conductor stand for lyric sheets (Confession; I don't always remember the words to my own songs!lol) vocal spray and voice training tools.

I spend so much time in this room and it has become the center of my working life.  Its the quietest room in the house with the books keeping the heat in and the noise out.  Sometime I just pull up the leather footstool, settle in the armchair and read a great novel, or correct page proofs.  My study doesn't have a log fire, or a french windowed balcony, but its a room of my own dedicated to my writing and I am lucky to have it.   As I am in this room so much I make it magical with artwork by Brier and Victoria Frances hung on the walls,
floor standing candlesticks holding creamy church candles, scented jar candles and incense burner on the desk, a collection of seasonal green man plaques, a couple of Lord of the Rings goblets, gifts from other authors, artists and musicians, and items that inspire me like my thistle paper weight and note block.  I also have a globe bar which I refer to fondly as 'the tuck shop'! Designed to hold bottles of alcohol, mine is filled instead with bags of boiled sweets, crisps and biscuits -treats to keep me going when the writing has me held hostage!

The most important thing you can do for yourself as a writer is carve out a space for your creativity.  It need not be a whole room; perhaps a corner of a room, or a drawer would suffice?  How about a fold away computer stand, or even just a laptop tray? Just something that says "I am a writer and this is where I write"  The bottom line is that no-one will take your work as a writer seriously unless you do.  Make yourself a space and a time to create. If you already have a writing station, give it a sort out and a spruce up; get something pretty or magical to enhance it. Enjoy the space.  You could also think of putting together a treasure map of your dream study and keep this in your current writing space to remind you of what you are working towards.  Give your inner writer a place to call home, a place to belong - a place of one's own.

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