I go through weird phases with where and how I write. Sometimes it’s “nowhere and not at all no matter how frustrated I get with myself about it”, and that’s always fun. I’m looking at you, last quarter of 2014.
When I was 13 I spent an angst-ridden summer writing
a novel something that almost looked like a novel if you squinted at it really hard. It was probably about 15,000 words long and I’m pretty sure I wrote it entirely hunched up over my laptop on my bed, surrounded by Beanie Babies. I used to get up early every morning to work on it before breakfast. I named my laptop Artemis, after Artemis Fowl, because I had a crush on him.
A few years later, in a different house, I had an armchair in my bedroom. One of these IKEA ones that are slowly taking over the world. They bounce a little, only your mum tells you not to do that too much or you’ll break it. I read a book that promised a foolproof way to plan your novel section by section and carefully drew out grids and filled in boxes, because that felt a lot like writing but was actually less work. I used to carefully position a lamp for “mood lighting” and play a special mix CD that I felt really took me on the characters’ emotional journey while I wrote longhand in a notebook. I stuck a sign on my door that said not to disturb me because I was a writer at work, but I still had to come down and eat dinner with everybody else.
Now I’m an adult and there are two desks and a dining table in my house and I’m allowed to use any of them for whatever I want. I’ve moved them around: in front of windows so I can stare out thoughtfully, in front of blank walls so I have to concentrate. I’ve cleared them to be free of distractions and stacked them with notes to have everything at my fingertips. Some things work for a while. Sometimes, for a while, nothing works.
Apparently what works at the moment is candles. Maybe the flickering candlelight helps me to connect with the pre-electricity setting of my novel. Or maybe I just like melting the wax from the leftover candle stubs over the flames when I stop to think.
They’re both strong possibilities. All I’m saying is, that foil tray is full of the ruins of at least four candles. And I went to the trouble of finding a foil tray to drip wax into while I’m writing. I’m weird.
So, where do you guys work?