Writing Space / by Rosie Walsh


I've written in hostel dormitory beds, in crowded train stations and on slender shelves surrounded by football trophies. I even had a stint writing in a beautiful - albeit very noisy - writers' cafe in Buenos Aires. These spaces had their own charm but I felt neither calm, nor joyfully creative, in any of them.  In fact I often felt foggy and anxious, and I developed all sorts of physical aches and pains. So - in short - I made some changes, and they really worked. Try them for yourself, if you're curious. 

  • SIT UPRIGHT! There's no need for a pricey desk: I've worked successfully at Β£10 fold-out tables. It's more about getting out of your bed or off your sofa, and maintaining good posture. There's a brilliant Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy - here - about the relationship between posture and feelings of power, clarity, and positivity. Just raising your chin can change the way you think and feel!
  • KEEP IT TIDY. People often mock me for my tidy desk. And a few years ago, I'd have mocked me too. But since I committed to keeping my desk tidy, my writing time has been vastly more pleasurable. Some bloke called Einstein said that an empty desk may well be a sign of an empty mind, but what did he know about anything? Besides, my desk isn't empty. It's just tidy.
  • MAKE IT NICE. A friend of mine is writing a novel during her lunch hour at work. Come 1pm she clears the contents of her desk into a box, which she puts under her desk. She puts out a holiday picture and a pot plant and switches on a lamp. Suddenly, even though she's in the middle of a busy office, she's got a space that feels nice. She puts on some headphones and writes like the clappers, and she gets a lot done. I endorse her approach. Have some hand cream on your desk. A nice candle. A plant. Pictures, nice notebooks, flowers, a favourite book. Anything, as long is it gives you a warm feeling whenever you look at it. Because writing is hard. Even on a good day, you'll need treats.