Where Do We Write?
This week on MyTelegraph, Louise Doughty set us Short Story Club members an interesting Friday Challenge: 'Where do we write?' What varied and intriguing responses. Here is what I said.
Up until September 2012 (the day I began an MA in Creative Writing at Northumbria University) I wrote solely in my (our) study. My wife runs her business from there too, but we time share (there are two wholly different desks): I have it in the evenings after 19:00 and most of the weekend and she uses it all week (9-5). Sometimes we even meet in it for coffee and biscuits. How civilised.
When I began the MA, I found the joys of writing on the train, the university campus, the university library, with the energy and vibe of students buzzing (and snuffling, coughing, smoking) around me. Uncomfortable chairs and wobbly desks are part of the charm of being young again - even if only inside.
Back home, after a major ankle operation at the beginning of 2013, I could not fit at my desk, so I purchased a laptop and discovered the joys of writing around the home, particularly, foot up, in the lounge. My productivity did decline though, until earphones were introduced, and that television, so darn distracting...
Now I am better and university is over for the summer, I am sitting back at my desk. First impressions: neat, tidy, bit dusty, but what are all these postit notes - on the screen and behind it? So many swirly notes and scrawled ideas - akin to buttons and dials - it feels like the cockpit of an aeroplane. And all my customers (characters) are chuntering away behind and beside me - but I am unsure if I can still fly this plane. What if I crash? I have been doing so many short haul flights (short stories) this last year that the transatlantic journey I am soon to undertake (beginning a new novel) seems ever so daunting...
On my desk is a foot high metal Knight in shining armour my wife brought me - he stands guarding the right of my iMac; whilst on the left, perched upon a stack of notepaper, is the foot-sized wooden owl a dear friend gave me. Knowledge and bravery. Above them hangs inspiration in the form of a photograph by David Biggs of a gorgeous rainbow over Coniston Fells (one of our favourite Lakeland camp sites) that she and our boys purchased me after deciding it reminded them of my first (unpublished) fictional novel Rainbow Warriors.
So where do you write?
On May 4th 2013, I attend the innaugural Newcastle Writing Conference in The Great Hall, Nothumbria University. Stephen May's not a keynote speech is inspriational: “If you are a writer who doesn’t write, you will always be a bit miserable... write because you HAVE to.” And this quote got a resounding YES from the agents, editors and publishers present: “There is a secret to getting an agent. Write a good book, send it, wait. There are no secret passwords.”
Short story "Luke's Sketches" published by Cinnamon Press in the anthology "The Book of Euclid & other stories & poems" edited by Rowan B. Fortune.
Review of short story anthology "The Little Book of Northern Women" given thumbs up by the author J. Y. Saville.
Haiku "Flock to a Shepherd" shortlisted by Cathy Galvin and Louise Doughty for the Word Factory TV.
Article "Bagpuss" published by The Fine Line in the anthology "The I Word" edited by Kate Gould.
Short story "Plank, Tank, Sock, Gloves" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in December for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.
Short story "Be Prepared" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in August for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.
Short story "Luke's Sketches" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in May for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.
Short story "Flock to a Shepherd" shortlisted by Louise Doughty in February for the Telegraph's Short Story Club competition.
Review of "Life! Death! Prizes!" given thumbs up by the author Stephen May.
Short story "Fun and Games" shortlisted by New Writing North for the Newcastle Journal.
Review of "Dreamer's Cat" given thumbs up by the author Stephen Leather.
Review of "TAG" given thumbs up by the author Stephen May.
Short story "Shadow Pains" long listed for the Aeon Award competition.
Short story "Lessons in Love" long listed for the Aeon Award competition.
Short story "Saint Christopher" published by the Writers' Forum magazine.
Short story "Aim High, Reach Higher" shortlisted by the Writers' Forum magazine.
Short story "Paper Dinosaur" shortlisted by the Writers' Forum magazine.
Short story "Shepherd Thy Flock" won Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau spring competition.
Short story "Blackbeck" came third in Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau winter competition.