I’ve been away. I won’t tell you where I went, but it’s somewhere I go whenever I want peace and quiet, space to think, dream and write, with a sense of home and people who are dear to me close by. It’s a long way from where I live and work but I love the journey. I go there as often as I can; it’s a physical place, but I also go there in my mind’s eye whenever I need a mental break. I can go there simply by closing my eyes. It’s a place of great beauty, off the beaten track; a place that inspires me, calms me and comforts me. Last week, when I was there, I didn’t write very much at all, but I read and I thought about a story that I’m working on. Something about the place, being somewhere different without the distractions of home and normal life, freed me up to solve a problem of plot and make a realisation about the significance of a character who had been lurking in the background.
When I returned home I was overwhelmed by the desire to move my desk. This surprised me, because I had moved it just a few months ago when, at the end of a big writing project, I felt the need for a change of layout. The space in which I work had become cluttered and over familiar. I needed to try a different angle and a different view. My desk is heavy but with the help of a friend, I turned it round to where it used to be; looking out of the window, with my back to the rest of the house. It feels better.
The places and spaces in which we write can make a difference. Some prefer public spaces – cafes, libraries – others choose a favourite spot at home, some go away. It’s a very personal choice. The wrong space can hinder the creative process; the right one, at the right time, can be liberating.
What’s your favourite space in which to write? Do you ever shift it around? Why not try somewhere new? See what difference it makes. I dare you.