Literary magazines at times publish photos of various variations of a ‘writer’s room’ allowing us a glimpse into the hallowed spaces in which masterpieces are created. Much also is written about writing routines’; that keeping a routine encourages the muse to turn up. Often these spaces appear very ordered: papers neatly out of sight, book-lined walls, computer, printer and perhaps the writer’s favourite object. Almost of superstitious value ‘the rub of the relic to encourage miracles’.
The reality for many is different. I am fortunate enough to have a dedicated writing space. A ‘room of my own’ if you will. But it is far from ordered. Every available surface is strewn with papers. Book piles litter the ‘spare’ chair and stool, more books are piled on the paper strewn surface etc. You get the idea. And to crown it all a fine patina of dust decorates the radio, stationery supplies such as paper clips, staplers and printers.
But I know where every scrap of paper is; though it might take a number of hours to put my hand exactly on it. And each scrap of paper, back of envelope, ditched shitty first draft, has on the reverse notes of research vital for beginning the next project. There are no objects of a superstitious nature and no particular routine to get the muse going. It seems the muse only turns up once the writing is begun. Which in many ways seems strange: to have something to write, one must first write! What agony.
The days when the writing flows my surroundings disappear from immediate vision and nothing matters bar getting the words down in the right order. When the writing isn’t flowing a wonderful displacement activity is ‘organising’ piles of vital scraps of research into other piles of vital scraps. In the process a dust cloud is created adding another layer when it settles.
Wonder if any magazine is interested in featuring my chaotic ‘writing room’? Chances are ‘health and safety’ wouldn’t allow a photographer to brave the dust cloud. Never mind the hazard of book piles which could lead to’ slips trips and falls’. I’m reasonably confident my writing space is of interest to no one but me, be it scrupulously tidy and alphabetically arranged, or the wonderful chaos where I seek refuge.
Do you have a perfectly arranged writing space and a routine you adhere to no matter what crisis of national/local/familial importance is happening in the so called ‘real world’.
Keep on plodding on.