Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Favourite Places to Write

Hey, folks, I've discovered a brand-new writing-blog, hosted by Kerry at Writing at the Window. She has a couple of interesting posts about writing accompanied by some rather cool music. She also has a 'favourite places to write' list, which, in the spirit of welcoming a newbie to blogland, I promptly nicked.

I realise that I have totally different criteria for writing, depending on the time of day, and how much time I have available.

Favourite Places to Write
1. Lounging on my bed. Big headphones on. iTunes on (although sometimes I forget, and just sit there with silent headphones on all evening). Beer beside me (preferably chocolate too). Kids in bed/Himself out. Tends to be for marathon evening sessions: 2hr+.
2. Lounging on an easy chair in the living room. Feet up. Tea/coffee. Packet of crisps (hoola-hoops/quavers/skips). Kids in bed/at school. Short afternoon sessions: 1hr max.
3. In the study. Cup of tea (Earl Grey/Lady Grey/Lapsang). Plate of nice ginger/oaty biscuits. Kids watching TV. Quick, sneaky looks in the morning, when I should be doing something else (like talking to husband): ~15mins.

In my dreams:
4. In a bookshop cafe. Large hot chocolate and huge slice of bakewell beside me. All day.
5. In my room-of-my-own in the loft. Stereo on. Phone unplugged. Tea. Chocolate. Children all at school (one day). All day.

What's your favourite combination of place/drink/music/snack for writing?


Cal said...

Ooh very good post.


1) At the desk in the living room, early evening, TV burbling in background (or Radio 2 or music burbling in background if I'm writing something tricky and need to concentrate). Drink: diet coke, water, squash. Snack: chocolate.

2) On lap in living room late evening, TV burbling in background. Drink: White wine with soda, gin n tonic, or water (if I need to concentrate). Snack: chocolate

3) On the train, notebook instead of laptop, scribbling away, mp3 player on. Drink: Ribena Light. Snack: crisps and....chocolate

Can you see a theme here? ;o)

Cal said...

p.s. In the summer. Lunchtime. Notebook and pen. A park in London, outside a cafe. Drink: coffee. Food: biscuit (or none, I only have an hour for lunch so can't waste time eating!)

JJ said...

Leigh, sorry ignoring this post as nearly midnight and got to go to bed, but NO, didn't get your mail. Please can you resend?

A. Writer said...

Ohhh! Fantastic post!

1)At my (messy)desk with itunes blaring out. Drink: Strawberry flavoured still water. Snack: slice of Madeira cake.

2)Sitting up on my bed with laptop on my lap (funnily enough) itunes or the television on in the background. Drink: Strawberry Flavoured still water. Snack: Chocolate

3)Shhh! In the canteen at work when I should be working, on a blank sheet of A4 paper. Drink: None. Snack: None.

Debs said...

Great post.

1) In the shed, early evening, warm sunny day (ideally), no sound only vague sounds from the garden. Drink: PG Tips (strange as I like Earl Grey the rest of the time). Snack: chocolate digestives.

2) At the front of the house, outside, in the shade. Drink: glass (or two) wine, snack: crisps.

3) On holiday (far to rarely, unfortunately) with notepad. Vodka & tonic, crisps. Wishful thinking, that one.

HelenMH said...

What a revealing question - for me it depends on mood and how organised I feel the need to be.

Most organised - in the writing room/conservatory, cup of coffee and chocolate

Medium - living room, laptop on lap, wine and pringles

Least organised - bed, with laptop, wine, eating anything from cold pizza to chinese takeaway sharing with Smudge!

SpiralSkies said...

Oh, thank goodness I'm not the only one who puts the headphones on without remembering to syphon sound into them.

I'm an early morning girl. No music. I write at my desk in the study and watch it get light, Venus blinking in at me if I'm uber-early. Tea: Tetleys Extra-Strong.


Study. 7 gallons of red wine and Burts cheese 'n' onion crisps. Martha Tilston or Gotan Project playing.

Oddly, I can write in either situation. I think wine works best. Until I read it next morning.

Fab post.

Lane said...

Favourite place to write is at the kitchen table so early in the morning that it's still technically night time. Coffee to hand. Listen to birds outside.
Also like to write in bed.
Never have music on whilst writing.

Dream place to write would be somewhere I could hear the sea in the background, maybe a terrace cafe somewhere beautiful (ie not Clacton) or maybe in a shady spot on my decking looking out over the Mediterranean, sipping a glass of red. *sigh*

I love this post:-)

KAREN said...

I love the image of the cassette on that page!

I'm a bit limited to favourite writing places, because I rarely write longhand unless I'm waiting ages in the car, to pick up one of the Teens from somewhere. So it's generally desk, bed or dining table. Bed on a Sunday morning ONLY. I feel too decadent otherwise!

I don't eat or drink or listen to music at the same time. That's what I do instead of writing :o)

Leigh said...

What a fantastic load of answers!

Cal - Oh, where would we be without chocolate? (Except standing by the petite rails...) I see I'm not the only one who needs music to concentrate! And another meal-skipper? It's not good, is it? But sometimes essential! Great answers!

A.Writer - There's space on your desk for the laptop? It ain't messy enough yet, girl! I have a great image of you sitting furtively in a corner of your work canteen, scribbling away. If anyone ever comes to talk to you, that'll be me; I'm nosy like that!

Debs - How strange that you drink a different tea when you're writing. I wonder if the different levels of tannins help the brain work better!

Helen - What is it you're sharing with Smudge? The pizza/Chinese, the wine, or just the bed? Or all of them? !!

Jen - I'd love to be able to get up early to write. It would have to be before six to beat the kids, and I've usually stayed up so late the night before (writing), that I can't get out of bed! I admire your dedication!

Lane - I can see it - the decking, the azure sea, the glass of wine, you with a laptop. The sun is shining. You have a floppy white hat on your head, and, oh, who's this? It's your editor, come to discuss the latest book deal... One day, I hope, for us all!

Karen - Oh dear. I'm sitting on my bed as I write this. It's Wednesday morning. I feel a bit decadent now I've read your comment... but only a bit. I don't get to stay in bed on Sunday mornings!

Kerry said...

Hi Leigh,

Thanks so much for popping to my blog and linking it here - people have visited - I'm no longer a lonely only in blog land (hurrah!).

Interesting that all of our favourite writing places also have favourite food! I thought my writers tush was due to being inactive but lets be honest - it's because I "reward" myself with a choccy biccie for every sentence I write!...Sorry must dash crumbs on the keyboard!!

L-Plate Author said...

Reward myself with one choccie biscuit, come on Kerry, it has to be a packet, surely? Or is that just me.

Okay, here's my three places to write, not my favourites but all I do for now until I get that big publishing deal, you know the one?

1) I sit in my smallest bedroom, which is my 'study'. I purposely look onto a brightly decorated wall but it has to be completely quiet if I'm drafting. The Bloke from Stoke brings many nice things, hot chocolate, baileys, goodies to devour,depending on the time of year.

2) In the settee in the living room. Yes, I do mean in the settee, it has completely collapsed after only eighteen months and no it has nothing to do with my writers bum. The Bloke from Stoke by my side, the dog pottering around, funny but I can write this way with the telly on. Wine will be at hand, plus pringles, chocolate, biscuits, cake, anything actually.

3) Best of all is in the garden, sipping wine and chilling out after a hard day's work. Usually this involves supper of any type.

But there is always food involved, no matter where I am.

Lucy Diamond said...

Excellent post. I just can't do that writing in bed thing though, I am always too tempted to lie down and shut my eyes.
The only place I ever write is here, at the desk in my office. No music apart from the birds cheeping outside the window, bless 'em.
Drink: big hot cup of builders tea.
Snack: Sainsburys chocolate tiffin if I am pretending to forget about the Wedding Dress Diet like today...

Oh, and I often scribble illegible things in a notebook in darkness when I get a great idea lying in bed - does that count?!

Leigh said...

Kerry - You're welcome! Yes, we do all seem to have our favourite snacks. I feel a dedicated post coming on that subject!

L-Plate - In the sofa? Ha ha ha! I like it! I too could write with people around me, TV on, etc., but I'm told I cause a distraction...!?

Lucy - I have been known to fall asleep with my hands resting on the keyboard, with interesting results. Perhaps one day I should just submit that instead. Yes, nocturnal scribbles definitely count!

Sarah Ball said...

Ahhh, wish I could write with music on, I can't concentrate in anything other than deadly silence - makes it v.tricky in the school hols!
Favourite real place is 'writing corner' which is my writing cupboard at the top of the stairs - best thing I ever bought!
Have you seen the bit in Love Actually where Colin Firth is writing in by a lake in the med? That's my dream scenario (the location's not bad either ;) )
Sarah x

Fiona said...

On the bed


No music

Must be bolstered by terriers

liz fenwick said...

Oh, I can't write new stuff with music on - too distracting but I do edit with music! I just love my writing room but for some reason at the moment I don't get in there I am at the dinning room table - so I can hear the kids shouts I guess!

Love the earl gret with ginger biccies!

Leigh said...

Sarah - If you need total silence in the holidays, may I recommend a pair of large studio-headphones, but without the music? I've tried it (by mistake) and find it quite effective.
Actually on Colin Firth's lap? Or d'you think you'd be content to sit beside him?

Fiona - Terriers under the feet, or behind in place of pillows? !

Liz - I'd have thought not being able to hear the kids' shouts from the writing room, would provide the perfect excuse to be in there! Aah, the joys of maternal responsibility! Earl Grey and ginger biscuits is a great combination. I thought I was the only one...

Tristan said...

I was just about to pop to bed but found this blog whilst googling for a place i could write in London!

1) When i used to work in the states i would pop to my office. Despite the cubicle plan i was fortunate to have a huge window seat and i could see the whole of Manhattan. It was mesmerizing. The office would be pitch black as well which gave off a very serene feel. Which was a stark contrast to the chaos during the day. I would also have pandora playing the most sorrowful songs imaginable. (unfortunately we don't have pandora yet in Europe)

2)Central park, the grass is gorgeous and insanely immaculate. I would pop on my ipod and try to do some editing in the sun. Fall asleep for a little while. Get up watch the dads and mums fuss over their kids then do more editing. Though i must confess i slept most of the time.

3)My apartment back in the states we used to have this filthy coffee table and one shattered lamp. The mood was very warm which helped me express. Also when i got tired i would stand up walk to the window and stare out at the hudson to help stir up the past.

4)I used to volunteer at a bookstore in nyc now this was a quaint place. It was quite an old building with a musky coffee smell. After my volunteering duties i would pop down to the basement and do some serious editing. It was eerie down there. Always a slight draft, not to mention the subway routinely rumbling past.

Neil Robert Kingston said...

Love this feed! I've started to use writing as an excuse to travel. I give birth to my idea in my bedroom - where it's all about tea and a treat or two plus a bit of Spotify or Radio 2. Nutmeg in coffee can be good too, but not too much or it'll get you high. After identifying my basic story line, I book up a trip to the main scene of my script and pretty much let the tension build inbetween the sheets and the streets of my destination. Always writing in pencil and on scrapbook, getting in the "zone" really helps me to kill off a script and therefore unleash the collated tension in one last concerted effort...

Happy writing everyone x