I have appropriated the ‘garden room’ – an extension at the back of the house which doesn’t quite qualify as a ‘conservatory’ or ‘orangery’- for my writing pursuits. This is both a serious work space and a girly den where I rotate displays of my favourite found objects. The bureau was re-conditioned for me by my husband, as a birthday present, and I love its nooks and crannies. I did start out with a proper (-ish) filing system, but I love the fact that I can just shut the lid if the desk’s insides get too chaotic, and all is (outwardly) calm again.
Here is talented young writer Warren Saunders on his writing space
Just as well I haven’t the technology to take a pic of my writing space. It’s a bare second bedroom the walls showing veins of cracked plaster. The desk in an ironing board I salvaged from a skip. My chair is a wicker lounger I found in the back alley, totally filthy and faded but of the utmost comfort. And because it’s cold in there, I usually work wrapped up in an nhs blanket which came off the back of an ambulance. I have to say I prefer the ironing board to a desk, just wide enough to seat a laptop and A4 writing pad, what more is necessary!!! A Manhattan garret and a bottle of Montrachet on ice would be be a welcome addition.
A bottle of Mantrachet for you Warren and a link to a wonderful page full of ironing board desks
This is where I write on my lap top. Good light, near the kettle and food. The kitchen. The heart, or should I say the tummy, of the house.
However, now I’ve learnt how to write on my IPad on Cloudon I can write anywhere. Even on the loo! Sorry! Too much information.
Anne Ouseby is a playwright and novelist – you can find her work here
How brilliant to get some response to my request for photos and text about where YOU write.
It made my day to hear back from newsletter and blog readers (so often the silence is deafening) – so here is the first of your Writing Rooms. It arrived in my mail box early this morning. It’s from playwright and short story writer Kerry Hood
Tomorrow – Monday – my 100th newsletter will go out to all my subscribers!! Thank you for staying with me on my writing journey and if the newsletter has given you good information and occasional inspiration then I am happy
To celebrate I’m offering From Writing With Love free on Kindle from Monday to Friday – you can get your free copy HERE
Also I would like to feature my newsletter and blog readers – that’s YOU – here on my blog. If you’d like to appear then e mail me a photo of your writing room or desk or favourite place to write with a few lines of accompanying text and I will publish them here. (If you haven’t got a photo then tell me about it, text alone will be fine ) Go on – don’t be shy. I’d love to hear from you.
My email address is, email@example.com and if you don’t currently subscribe to my newsletter but would like to receive it then just e mail me and I will add you to my list
Above a virtual glass or two of pink champagne – cheers!
Next week I’ll be sending out my 100th free newsletter for writers! Quite a landmark and I’m still trying to think of a special way to celebrate with my readers. Any ideas?
If you would like to receive the newsletter every Monday (free, no strings attached ) you can just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add you to my list.
Below I’ve copied in the info from this week’s newsletter so you can see the kind of things I cover
Competitions and Submissions
The Benchmark Creative Writing Competition
‘Our latest competition is a fundraising collaboration between Willow Burn Hospice and writer Rachel Cochrane, inspired by Rachel’s latest drama, Benchmark. Available for everyone to listen as an online radio play, Benchmark takes its inspiration from the ‘In Loving Memory…’ plaques found on benches which are usually situated in a place of beauty or of special significance to those commemorated. This competition, however is to celebrate the living and reflect the ethos of Willow Burn Hospice – treasuring life.
Imagine you had a bench dedicated to you. What would it say on the plaque? ( 30 words max) Where would it be? Why have you chosen that particular place- 200 words ?’
Sara Park Memorial Short Story Competition (Red Squirrel Press) -CLOSING DATE: 31st December 2014
Prize: Publication of pamphlet collection. The winner receives 50 complimentary copies and 50% discount on further copies.
Judges: Kathleen Kenny, Ellen Phethean. Entries should be of 2 short stories of a maximum of 2000 words each. MORE HERE
Thoughts on Writing
I really enjoy running workshops for writers; for one things writers are attentive, thoughtful people and the writers in the Stanhope writers’ group I met last week were no exception.
I love to feel I might have interested or inspired a writer or given someone permission to write something new or different. I love the intense quiet and the powerful, tangible energy created when everyone is writing freely and all you can hear is the sound of pen on paper.
If I’m leading a workshop I always try to write myself and I invariably find something that surprises me. This time I found a minor character from my work in progress stepped up and announced herself as a serious contender for a bigger role. Her voice sang off my page in an unexpected way as she staked her claim in my drama.
I’d been toying with the idea of using two voices – now perhaps I will!
This was part of the workshop I ran, which you might like to try for yourself or with a group. For a group you need a collection of objects; I took stamps, a train ticket, a small brass pot, a pair of sunglasses, a penknife, some sea glass, a shell, scrap of cloth, a cup etc. etc.– really anything will do. Put them on the table then ask writers choose an object.
If you’re doing this alone then try to find something in your home that isn’t full of personal associations, try to choose something at random, maybe something quite mundane.
Now answer the following questions: (quickly and without too much thinking – first thoughts are best)
Who owns this? What is his/her name – give first name and surname.
Where are they? And what are they doing?
What time of year is it? How does the air around them smell, taste?
What are they afraid of?
What have they lost?
What do they wish for?
Who or what stands in their way?
Where are they going next?
Now write for 10 -20 mins without stopping and without editing yourself. Begin with the name and then a verb – e.g. Eileen Fisher stepped….
If you can begin with an image, something the reader can see, e.g. Eileen Fisher stepped into the sunlight that slanted through the willows…
Do not edit yourself, write freely, you can do the editing later, let the character and the story take you where it will, let it surprise you.
Inspiration and Quotes
It’ still autumn, in my garden at least – here are some lovely autumn images and quotes
It’s FREE and it’s probably the best advice you’re ever going to get -at
Authors Share Their Best Writing Tips with NYPL -
So make yourself a cup of coffee click the link, scroll down, and listen HERE to Toni Morrison on writing what you don’t know
“I tell my students; I tell everybody this. When I begin a creative writing class I say, ‘I know you’ve heard all your life, “Write what you know.” Well I am here to tell you, “You don’t know nothing. So do not write what you know. Think up something else. Write about a young Mexican woman working in a restaurant and can’t speak English. Or write about a famous mistress in Paris who’s down on her luck.”
The classic writing style guide The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. is now freely available online. Hooray. John Clare, in The Telegraph, called it “…a marvellous and timeless little book… Here, succinctly, elegantly and without fuss are the essentials of writing clear, correct English.”
All the answers to those tricky grammar and punctuation questions at the click of a button FIND IT HERE