Thursday 19 September 2013

Change of (Writing) Place - Change of (Writing) Pace: Lucy Coats

I've run away from home. This may sound strange if you know me. Home is usually my writing haven, a place of cool, green quiet, where feral sheep roam the meadows, and the only sound is that of wasps munching on fallen apples.

If only.

Home, as it stands currently, is in the middle of a plague of painters. That means dust, shouting, the smell of white spirit and gloss (both of which I detest), and a general hurmudgeon and flurration of noise, banging about and endless, endless questions.

So, as I said, I've run away.

This is my current writing desk.

A Little Venetian Writing Spot

Yes, yes I know. I'm very very lucky indeed. You're allowed to go a little green at the gills.

On a more serious note, though, I've realised, being here in Venice after a fairly hellish summer, that a change of place can give a massive boost to writing productivity and pace.  Because I was worrying about a whole lot of other things, and allowing them to bite into my writing day, I wasn't getting a lot done, and that in itself was adding to the stress.  Removing myself from all that, trusting that modern communications will cope with any real painterly or family emergency, has made my daily output of words double at least.  I should be well into the second third of my novel by the time I leave here.

A change of place is also good for revivifying the soul.  I'm not counting this as real 'holiday', since I am spending at least 7 hours actually working at a desk/table.  But it doesn't hurt that I'm in a beautiful spot, doing my day job to the sound of gently splashing water, the sound of gondolieri singing and the quiet chug of vaporetti and motoscafi plying their trades up and down the Grand Canal. Not to mention the *cough* wine and pasta.

Just down the road is the Palazzo where Byron lived,  and Henry James's residence is not far away. The literary heritage here lies thick as seaweed on the Lagoon. Maybe it will rub off on me.  I do hope so.

The other (perhaps unsung) delight of being in another country is reading the strange labels on familiar domestic products.  I know that our very own ABBA Venetian expert, Michelle Lovric, has written on this very subject some time ago.  I leave you with my latest discovery - Smac Tot - clearly a product Italians use to discipline unruly toddlers with.  Buon giorno, e in bocca al lupo con la scrittura!

Lucy is now teaching Guardian Masterclasses on How To Write for Children. Next bookable dates October 19th and November 16th 2013
Her new picture book, Bear's Best Friend, is published by Bloomsbury "A charming story about the magic of friendship which may bring a tear to your eye" Parents in Touch "The language is a joy…thoughtful and enjoyable" Armadillo Magazine. "Coats's ebullient, sympathetic story is perfectly matched by Sarah Dyer's warm and witty illustrations." The Times   
Her latest series for 7-9s, Greek Beasts and Heroes is out now from Orion Children's Books. 
Lucy's Website

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JO said...

Ah - Venice ... I escaped there for a few days earlier this year, after a difficult month or two. I went Tintoretto-hunting, spent most of my time lost. Am impressed if you're managing to work!

Katherine Langrish said...

Gorgeous place to write - so glad you are able to relax at last, Lucy! Love to both and all.

Savita Kalhan said...

I'm green, very green. I've never been to Venice, but it's high on my list of places to go. Have a beautiful writing time, Lucy!

Anonymous said...

WOW - I would love to go to Venice..
Katie xx

Sue Bursztynski said...

Sigh of envy! If I had to leave my home for a while, I couldn't go to Venice. And envy that writing is your day job! Mine is in a school. I love the kids to bits and they read my books with great enthusiasm, some of them multiple times, but it's not the same as sitting on a balcony in Itsy, or even at home, writing seven hours a day instead of preparing classes, marking and jumping through hoops for the Education Department. Lucky you!