Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Writing spaces by Keren David

Where do you write? This is a rather pressing problem for me, as I don't have a designated office in my house, and I find the kitchen table very unsatisfactory. It is too near the fridge, too near the door which the cats use to go in and out of the garden, and much too near to the front door, through which parcels are delivered incessantly.

I have tried libraries, but find them either too hushed (reminding me of exam rooms) or too noisy (full of kids revising). My ideal place is quiet, but not completely silent, tidy, uncluttered, with tea-making facilities and a convenient loos. There must not be music, but I can cope with the murmur of other people's conversations. Ideally I will not have access to wifi. My dream is a sea view, but I have never actually achieved that.

I wrote True Sisters in a cafe called Ruby Rose - a lovely white box of a space, with an enthusiastic owner who offered to sell copies of the book when it was published. Alas, by the time it came out, the cafe was gone and the space turned into a vape shop. I wrote much of Salvage in the Carlisle Travelodge, in a room so cold that I wore my coat in bed. I borrowed a friend's flat to write This is Not a Love Story, and borrowed another friend's holiday flat to start The Liar's Handbook, finishing it off in a boutique hotel in Lisbon, on a glass-topped table which was really too high to type comfortably on a laptop.

My current work in progress was written partly in Portugal, partly in Amsterdam, partly in New York, and partly in Greece (it's been quite a year for travel). But mostly I used the Old Kitchen at Kenwood in Hampstead Heath. This quiet room is sometimes hired out for weddings or wakes, but is generally open to the public, but not obviously so. I would sit myself down and get writing, only interrupted by the occasional visitor, who would generally ask if it was OK to bring their tea and scones in there. Alas, Santa took over for the month of December. But by then the first draft was nearly done.

My hope for this year is to find a designated writing space, and work out a routine which enables me to write every day. But even without a 'room of my own' I've managed to stay published for 10 years (this week is the anniversary of my first book being published). The space that is most important is in my own head. But an actual study would be nice.

1 comment:

Moira Butterfield said...

Have you thought of setting up a co-op with a few other likeminded souls? i've done it in different Bath locations for over 20 years on-and-off. I began by renting space from a friend who had a design company (such businesses often have spare space that they are happy to rent out). Then I rented office space as a co-op with writer and designer friends. We have a bank account set up like a local cricket/darts club or similar. We pay into it and it pays out our rent and expenses. We have a joint tenancy agreement with our landlord. It all works very well. If people leave they have a 3-month notice period for us to find someone else. Now our mix isn't all creatives, but everyone is interesting and communicative. It costs me just over £20 a week because I share my room. It all depends on where you live and what's available obvs. but it will be an option for some.