Tuesday, 22 April 2008


I am very excited because my new desk has arrived. I ordered it from a catalogue and somehow got the measurements wrong - it's HUGE! I'm really pleased that it's larger than I expected. I'll have room to spread out. I can't wait to finish sorting everything out so I can get settled. (I'm resolutely ignoring the little voice in my head saying I'm procrastinating...)

Is location important? If I was really inspired, I'd be able to write anywhere. When I first discovered my passion for writing, I scribbled whenever and wherever. Now, after a year of incessant and obsessive creativity, I've slowed down to take stock. Will my new desk herald the start of a new burst of creativity? I plan to be very disciplined...


Today's question is linked to the last post about the need for silence or bustle - how important is it where you are when you write?

29 comments:

Britta Coleman said...

Oooh, a new desk! And everything will be all fresh and clean, and organized! (Yes, I'm jealous, as I type between piles of paper, a calculator, my ipod and my son's Queen Greatest Hits CDs.)

As for where I write, my main requirement is that it's quiet. I can do white noise like coffee shop chatter, to some degree, but I usually end up people watching. Best to stay at home in my lair, or on sunny occasions, in the backyard with a big yellow notepad.

BernardL said...

Anywhere I either have my notebook computer or a pen and notepad will do when the voices start talking in my head. :) Glad to hear the desk fits.

Bill Clark said...

I predict the new desk - not to mention the new upstairs location - will be the wellspring of much new and wonderful writing! Lucky you!

Yes, location matters, in several ways. First, you have to be able to hear yourself think. Like Britta, I find white noise, such as that here in the public library where I'm writing this, is generally neutral, not negative; but when a mewling infant starts to howl, or even puke, the creativity takes a nosedive.

Physical comfort is also important. I like the library's Aeron chairs - very ergonomic. Sometimes I write sitting on a stone wall in front of a church on Greenwich Avenue - less comfortable, and more prone to distraction as people stop by to say hi. Not sure I would do as well as Lovelace did in durance vile, as when he wrote "To Althea, from Prison."

Finally, like Wordsworth, I tend to draw inspiration from the setting in which I find myself. We don't have too many fields of daffoldils or ruined abbeys in this country, but we do have woods and beaches and islands and ferryboats here in Greenwich, all of which I have found conducive to writing.

So yes, location matters - indeed, how can it not?!

Debs said...

Your desk sounds great. I have two tables in the shed, one for the laptop and various notepads and is from 1950s, oak and fairly small. The other is a spare round plastic (eugh) garden table that we stored in the shed and now it's covered with note pads and heaps of paper and I couldn't do without it.

Leigh Russell said...

BRITTA - I love the image you have of my situation. I'm going to try and see my not-yet-organised-but-will-be-one-day room through your eyes. On second thoughts, if I do that, I'll never sort it all out! In the backyard with a big yellow notepad sounds good.

BERNARDL - Do you see the scene playing out or hear the soundtrack? I wonder, because your dialogue seems so credible.

BILL - thanks for the confidence. Here's hoping! A crying baby is a definite distraction, it's so irritating. I'm afraid I deal with rather a lot of whining schoolboys these days. That's not exactly inspiring either.I find my inspiration in people rather than places, I think. Especially people who look a bit dodgy!!!

Bill Clark said...

whining schoolboys

Er...isn't your school coed? And don't the girls whine as much as the boys?

Leigh Russell said...

DEBS! I was just typing a reply and by the time I added it, you'd added another comment. That was exciting! (I'm not sure why, but it was.) I love the sound of a 1950s table. As for the plastic garden table, as a bit of a magpie myself, I wouldn't like to admit to the odd bits and pieces I've made been making use of... but now I have a BRAND NEW desk and I feel really spoiled. Hurrah!

Leigh Russell said...

Is it petty to be so excited about a piece of furniture? Answers unnecessary.

Mima said...

I don't think that it's petty at all to be excited about a new piece of furniture, I remember getting my desk and being over the moon with it - they are VIP furniture! I hope that it gives you lots of wonderful writing time and happy memories!!

polona said...

oh well, i wish i had somewhere to put a desk (yes, i'm envious).
have fun with it!

well, with capturing moments (which haiku essentially is) i don't mind all that much where i find myself... more annoying can be when i think i have a great idea and no notebook to record it. luckily, i often have my camera instead :)

Akasha Savage said...

I envy you your new HUGE desk. My is middle-sized and over flowing with pens, paper, books, telephone, daughter's homework, sweet wrappers, glasses, a cup (in which something furry seems to be growing!!), a pack of sanitary towels(?) and a fashion catalogue. There's hardly any room for the actually PC. Enjoy your new found space.

Monique said...

The bigger the desk, the better. I'm typing this on DC's computer on his huge desk, facing the window. My computer is not on the net and is in a tiny study on a tiny desk facing the wall.

I still need silence though, whatever I do, write scripts, blog or being on facebook.

I answered more or less your question on my comment space Leigh. But it mainly says that I could, for the life of me, not write a detective novel. So how do you do it?

BernardL said...

I can hear and see them in my mind's eye, Leigh, and it gets real crowded in there at times. :)

Leigh Russell said...

MIMA - kind comment, as always. Thank you.

POLONA - I had a look at my new desk just now. If I wasn't me, I'd be envious myself... if that makes sense. It's interesting that you use a camera. I'd have to jot down a few words. You must be very visual.

AKASHA - as for envy, see above. I'd be envious myself if it wasn't mine mine all mine!


MONIQUE - It could be an advantage not being on the net - you can't spend all your time blogging! Is that how you come to be so prolific?

BERNARDL - And they say writing is a lonely pursuit! Are you ever alone?

San said...

A huge desk. How wonderful!

I prefer to write in a quiet area, away from distractions. And on a huge desk. But I don't have one.

Elizabeth Platt said...

:D Big desks are the best. I gave mine up for a sofa, which is equally good for spreading out across.

I find I can write anywhere, but if I'm working on actual chapters, I find it much easier when I'm at my desk or my sofa with my laptop.

The World According to Me said...

I like the sound of your huge desk!
I would love to have the room for one at my house, but it's chocker block! In fact (I'm being greedy now) I would love to have a huge desk in a huge peaceful room, over looking the garden, full of my books and my lap top. With a big comfy chair.

I guess I'll have to make do with the green armchair in the lounge. Or my not so huge desk at work.

Charles Gramlich said...

I do need room to spread references out for myself, particularly when I'm writing nonfiction. I used to have a big desk but now I have a smaller one and use folding tables to hold materials I need. Other than needing space for that, where I write is unimportant to me, as long as I'm not interrupted specifically, and as long as it is relatively quiet.

fizzycat said...

Excellent. A new desk. The clean scent and appearence of the new desk top , the peace of an empty room.
Not being a writer as such , just a blogger,
I find I can get ideas sitting on the bus, listening to conversation. Or in shops waiting for service. If I did write I would write alone , probably with a radio on for constructive noise.

Alis said...

Lucky you having room for a big desk! Hope it turns out to be a really productive place to write.
By the way, you're tagged for six random facts about yourself over on my blog...if you don't do this sort of thing, just ignore it!

AJ Alice said...

Hey, glad you got a new desk :]

I can write almost anywhere, as long as I'm not being watched, and that I am alone [unless I'm somewhere like a train station, in which case I can still write because I more-or-less feel alone.

Akasha Savage said...

Hi Leigh...I've tagged you!
Visit my blog for more details!!
:D

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

Enjoy spreading out all of your scribblings on your new shiny desk! May the ink/ keys flow with inspiration!

Fatima said...

Depends really, when I want to write its usually after a long bustling day and I'm in a calm space where I'm at ease so my ideas can spill out onto the page.
congrats on the new desk...
new textured paper usually works for me when I'm in need for a boost in writing.

Monique said...

Hey Leigh, you've missed quite a few episodes of Middle Ditch. We are missing you there.

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

I think that for the first few weeks you'll find a place for every little thing and keep the new desk nice and tidy. After this honeymoon period however, things would get lost in its own little untidy pile.

As for a special little place to write, I think that it helps. I've been putting together a sit-com (on the side) for ages and the best ideas come to me when I'm cooking in the kitchen.

Hopefully, your new desk will become a fountain from which your creative waters gush forth.

Bill Clark said...

OK, Leigh, it's been two whole weeks since your new desk arrived. Can you give us an interim report on how it/you are performing together?

Josephine Damian said...

New desk = good

New desk with Internet = bad

I've got two desks/two rooms - 1 for Internet, 1 for writing.

Gotta keep the two apart, IMO, if you want to focus/make writing a priorty.

Mel said...

It all depends on mood, moleskin notebook in handbag ready for odd ideas and the array of notebooks under my desk have dreams and ideas scribbled in them which one day I will compile. I also have a notebook by my bed.

I have taken to doing most first drafts in notebooks and then correcting as I type to the laptop! I would love a great big desk to do with as I wished but alas it is not be be.