When Virginia Woolf said “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write“, I am sure she meant to include a writing desk in that sentence too.
I work best in clutter – I like big piles of books, paper strewn everywhere and disorder. Tidying and cleaning are my worst enemies, so you know something’s up when I decide to do either — or both — of these things. I did, however, recently go through my desk and clear it of all rubbish, so I thought I would show you the place where lots of the magic happens.
My book towers are amongst my favourite things in the world. I pile them as high up as I can without the risk of them toppling, and every time I want a book from the middle or bottom, I get to play a game of Book Jenga. My Penguin English Library collection, centre of stage on my desktop, is a thing of awe – I’ve been building my collection for ages, and am now a bit worried that I won’t be able to fit any more on without it falling down. I’m sure I’ll work out a solution though because I can’t resist them!
On either side of my Penguin English Library stack sit two parts that make up a very huge and ever-growing to-be-read pile. There’s no real order to it, except I try to group authors together, and they probably aren’t books I’ll read immediately either, but I like displaying them anyway, because I like to keep my read and unread books separate.
I love to display cards and postcards I’ve been sent. The card on the left is a lovely one sent to me by Anna McKerrow, one of my favourite authors, and it’s a lovely reminder of how much I love her books, plus I love receiving letters and cards in the post.
The postcard on the right is one that I bought when I visited the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth back in the summer. The Brontë’s are my favourite authors, my inspirations, so this picture of their writing table motivates me to keep going. There’s also a scene in the book I’m working on that is set there, so it keeps me on track too!
Another card here from my lovely friend Lauren James (please go and read her books if you haven’t already!). Lauren always sends the best cards so I end up rotating them all on and off my desk. Handwritten correspondence really is the best!
To the left, I have a few bookish mugs where I keep lots of random bits and pieces. The front one contains all of my SD cards that I use for filming videos and taking pictures, but ultimately I forget to use it and they end up littered all over the house, usually tucked down the sofa or gathering dust in a forgotten corner.
Behind, I have the mug where I keep all of my bookmarks. Most are from Wordery, who send them with every book you buy (so, yes, there are LOTS of them. More than I like to think about!), but I have a few that I’ve picked up from other places too. I need lots of bookmarks or I start using other objects, like receipts and sometimes even my phone…
The main drawer can basically be summed up as: NOTEBOOKS. NOTEPADS. MORE CARDS. MORE NOTEBOOKS. I like my stationery, okay? I own way too many notebooks – many half-filled, many others with only one hastily scribbled page filled up. I have a diary (it’s very secret, shhhh) that I use to write all my thoughts down before I write – I find it really useful to get rid of all of my emotional rubbish before I start writing about totally different characters.
My favourite thing by far is writing late at night with only a tiny light, my laptop backlight and my fairy lights to see by. It’s cosy, I can tuck myself away, and it feels like I have my own writing cave. I get most of my writing done at night – it’s the time I work the best, for some reason. I can spend all day writing and get minimal work done, but then it passes 10pm and suddenly I get a rush of creative energy. I love it!