Wednesday 11 July 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ One Good Reason by Susan Stairs

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for One Good Reason by Susan Stairs where I have a guest piece about her Writing Space. I was thrilled to be asked by Elaine Egan from Hachette Ireland to take part along with some other fab book bloggers so without further ado, here it is:

My Writing Space

Not every writer is fortunate enough to have their own private writing room.  In the early days of a writing career, more often than not, where you write is wherever you can clear enough space for a laptop. You might sit at the kitchen table when dinner is over, or prop yourself up on your bed, the laptop nestled on a pillow stretched across your knees. While many wonderful novels may have been written in such surroundings, it’s not exactly ideal. I wrote almost all of my first novel The Story of Before on my bed (note ‘on’ rather than ‘in’. Important distinction) as, at the time, my bedroom was the only place I could find the peace and quiet I needed. I don’t think my writing suffered but my back certainly did. By the time I began to write my second novel The Boy Between, we’d reconfigured the house and the bedroom had become an office/writing room. Now, I had my own desk, a proper office chair and built-in bookshelves.  Most importantly though, I had a view out the window where I could see blue and green. For me, the view from the room where I write is as important as the room itself. Staring for hours at a bright, white screen barely two feet away can be draining. Being able to look up and switch focus to the trees and sky outside is both restful for the eyes and inspiring for the mind.

    When I’m sitting in my chair, staring at my computer screen, I become part of the space that I’m occupying. It settles around me somehow, and it’s almost as though I don’t exist independently from it. I am immersed in my own world – the one I have imagined. That’s why, for me, it’s important that I have a window out of which I have an appealing view of the real world. Looking up to the sky or across a green lawn, I’m brought to the surface of reality for a few moments and my gaze drifts into the distance, away from the intensity of whatever plot point I’m working on.

        There’s a sentimental attachment to the place where characters, storylines and settings are imagined and brought to life and it can be a wrench to have to give that up, for whatever reason. When we downsized to a two-bedroomed apartment a couple of years ago, I had to say goodbye to the writing room that I loved. It was difficult. I had already started to write One Good Reason and it was hard to imagine working anywhere else. Would the move affect my writing? What if I didn’t like my new work space? As it turned out, I wrote many thousands of words which I subsequently ditched. Was that as a result of the move? I can’t exactly say. The adjustment did take time but I’m very fortunate that I love my new writing place. It’s bright and airy; floor-to-ceiling windows look out on a landscaped green area with cherry and rowan trees and wavy bamboos; and, as we’re on the third floor, I can see so much sky.  

    I have newly-built shelves to house all my books – another important element in a writing space. Often, while I’m working, I might think about a particular novel that I’ve read and I’ll take it down and flick through its pages to remind myself how it’s structured, how the author uses dialogue or deals with the passage of time. I can’t know if any of my books are sitting on the shelves of other writers’ spaces, but it’s nice to think that they might be.

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