The spaces we make
As most of you will already know, we creative types / workers from home, quite often have to make do with what we have, don’t we? We carve our own spaces in our home environment, working around the rest of the family members in some cases, working out the things we most need, taking into account warmth, lighting, comfort, room to spread out and, the most important thing of all – space for a cuppa! Some lovely fellow tweeters were kind enough to indulge me and divulge a bit more about there spaces… but first, here’s mine.
I work in our living room and have worn quite a squidge into my lovely Ikea chair. The house is south facing so the sun pours in through the big bay window to the left, so even in winter it’s warm. The coffee table houses the stuff I’m currently working on, but there are also folders behind this full of other projects – I have a folder for my poems, one for current picture book stories, and anything longer has a folder of its own. There’s a space below the window which is our greyhound’s day bed (as we call it) so she is always close by. There’s always a pen and notepad on the table, and, of course, my laptop is always at hand. I always have a glass of water on the go, and a spare coaster ready for my daily cuppa! There’s a spare room upstairs that I could work in, but I don’t like to feel shut away from people. I like the to-ing and fro-ing, the view out of the window, and to have my hound at my feet.
Emma Pass’s work space
When we moved house four years ago, I promised myself I’d turn our spare room into a proper office and sit at a desk to write, because that’s what real writers do, isn’t it? Work at desks? In offices? But I hadn’t figured on the backache I’d get from sitting upright in a chair for hours, or having perpetually cold hands (our spare room faces north and has two outside walls).
After a few months, unable to take it any longer, I decamped to the sofa in our cosy living room. Here, I write on my laptop, a pillow behind
my back and piles of books and paper beside me, which have to be hurriedly
tidied away whenever we have visitors. I have a sheepskin rug and fluffy
slippers to keep my toes warm, The Hound stretched out on his bed to keep me
company, and it’s only a few steps to the kitchen to turn the kettle on. It’s the
perfect writing space!
Elizabeth Jackson’s work space
Believe me when I tell you my writing space is not a place to be envied. It is a habitation of disarray and controlled disorder where nobody is allowed to touch a thing. Oh, hub’s permitted the TV remote… well, for some of the time.
We no longer have a dining room as such, or a study as we once chose to call it. It is now known as the little sitting room, where we watch TV and where I write.
I write while hub reads the newspapers or watches TV. I don’t mind the sound in the background; in fact, I find it relatively soothing as I sit at the dining table that’s cluttered with: books, notepads, laptop, toilet roll, cold mug of tea with skin on; and a silver candelabra that was once upon a time admired by dinner party guests, and that my granddaughters
now believe to be gold, because it needs cleaning. On the wall opposite me hangs a large mirror through which I can view the TV – now; how good is that, eh? Well, not much good at all really; especially when Countdown’s on; unless, of course you can mirror-read, which I can’t. Although, I can mirror-write; a skill I learned at school – during maths. I can’t imagine sitting quietly, undisturbed, writing in isolation. When writing, I’ll throw words at hub instead of using a thesaurus, he’ll come back with an alternative which I usually ignore, then think of substitute. And by some miracle, in the midst all this, Language of Thieves emerged, with another novel underway.
Clare Kirkpatrick’s work space
I’m a writer, editor of a growing parenting website and also home educating mum to my four girls. Yes, I’m busy, and yes, our three-bed house is busy.
When I first started writing seriously, I had a tiny laptop table in the corner of our tiny bedroom. We had countless improbable ideas about how we could create some work space for me to write in, but none of them came to anything. Then I realised that our under-stairs cupboard could maybe work. After decluttering it, I installed my laptop table and dining room chair and made grand plans for it. Then I got a small £12.50 desk from Ikea and a new office chair.
A couple of weeks later I painted it the same relaxing colour as we have in our bedroom,
and had another Ikea trip to buy a wall light. And last week I put the finishing touches to it – a shelf ; a notice board, which I made myself with some Freecycled fabric; a new desk lamp; and a lovely new big desk. My mum bought me the pen pot from an antiques centre – it was made inCornwallin the 1950s and the colours are perfect.
I love this space. Opening onto our living room, it means that when I’m on my own with the children and they’re playing, I can write and be kind of apart from them but still with them. It’s surprisingly spacious, and very restful, despite the chaos going on behind me. I hope many books will be written in here over the years!
Garen Ewing’s work space
Garen is the author and artist of The Adventures of Julius Chancer: The Rainbow Orchid (Egmont). He also works as a commercial illustrator with many book covers, magazine illustrations, CD covers and even a Royal Mail stamp to his name.
He lives and works at home in West Sussex with his wife, a magazine editor, his daughter, a baby, and his cat, a retired secret agent. He has a website at www.rainboworchid.co.uk and is on twitter at http://twitter.com/garenewing
Being a comic creator means I have two main work spaces – the writing one and the
drawing one. Actually, the first draft of my script is generally written away from my work area, on the dining table or on a train journey, if it happens to coincide. It’s always hand-written and accompanied by scribbled sketches – comics are words and pictures together, not two separate disciplines.
I’m lucky to have a room to myself for work and it’s probably where I spend a good 75% of my time! I have a small desk with a Mac Pro for typing up my scripts, and it’s also where I come back to at the end of the process for colouring and lettering.
The drawing bit is done at a big art table I inherited from an office that closed down, and it has plenty of room to spread out all the bits and pieces I need (script, tools, inks, reference, etc.). The remainder of the room is mostly bookshelves (though not enough, small piles of books have started to occupy the floorspace too). Having my books at hand is very important, not only for reference and research but also inspiration, when required!
I have really enjoyed putting this post together – more than any other I’ve done so far, so a HUGE thank you to Emma, Liz, Clare and Garen for taking part and showing off their spaces.
How about you – do you have a special place to work and does it have everything you need?