My Write Place

Francesca Capaldi Burgess talks about where she likes to write

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Sunset the day I posted this blog.

Sunset this evening.

Being comfortable with where I write is important to me, as I imagine it is with most writers. Currently I use the study, at the front of the house, which overlooks the grass and trees outside. It’s rather dark in the mornings, especially in winter, but benefits from the sun later in the day. Many an evening I’ve admired the sunset from my desk, grabbing my camera to capture it. (It never looks quite as good in my photographs!)

Study view.

Study view.

I’ve used several parts of the house to write in over the years. I started in the study, moving out several years ago when my son, Peter, moved back home for a while. He used it as a (very small) bedroom. I relocated to the ‘playroom’, still called that although it hasn’t been used as one for a long time. It does still contain many boxes of toys, along with the washing machine and dryer, tools, my husband’s hifi ‘bits’ and all those things you don’t know where else to keep. I set myself up at the table originally bought for the children to do their homework on. The room has the opposite light problem of the study, which I don’t really like.


The study desk is always overflowing.

From there, I moved to the dining room which had the advantage of feeling more spacious and a bigger table, but alas the disadvantage of no spare storage. I found myself going constantly to the playroom to retrieve things.

When Peter moved back out, I painted the study and moved back in, gathering together my things that had found homes in various other rooms. There is built in storage on two sides, though I have long since grown beyond it.

shelf 2

Just one of the overflowing bookshelves.

Wherever my work base is, I’ve never confined myself to working only there. When I feel restless, or it’s a lovely day out, I’ll drive off somewhere for a coffee. I can sit for hours, whether in a café at a shopping mall, the local garden centre or a nearby park. It allows me to concentrate entirely on that project, not distracted by the dishwasher, washing or any other household chore that suddenly seems more compelling. And if I’m working on new writing, I’m quite happy to write by hand.

Whitstable Retreat snow

Whitstable 2010. My workspace can be spied through the bottom window.

I’ve been away several times on week long writing retreats and I find this also works well. It has the same advantage as working in a coffee shop, in that there are no household distractions. I’ve been to Littlehampton and also four times to Whitstable, where I’m due to return this April. Despite there being other people present, we are all quite disciplined, allocating coffee and meal times which we stick to. We also spur each other on.

Writing Garden

The problem with writing in the garden is the temptation to weed!

In the summer I love to work in my garden, albeit under an umbrella, with several cushions and a big pot of tea. Roll on the good weather!

Where do you like to write?



Twitter: @FCapaldiBurgess

6 thoughts on “My Write Place

  1. I don’t have room for a dedicated work space, Francesca, so I work at the kitchen table and sometimes sat on the sofa with my laptop. Like you, I do like take myself off to a coffee shop every now and then though, with my trusty pen and a notepad x

  2. I write in a corner of my dining room staring at a blank wall: no distractions. I’m quite happy to write anywhere. Yesterday, because of a power cut I wrote with pen and paper at the kitchen table. no real problem except that I can’t read my own writing! Like you, Francesca, I like writing somewhere close to the sea. Somehow it gives an extra dimension, an extra stimulus to the creative process; gives the errant muse a kick start.

  3. You put me in mind of Shirley Valentine, Angela. I presume you don’t talk to the wall! You’re right, I do like writing close to the sea. My ideal working space would be one with a view of the beach all year round, not just on retreats. I can dream.

  4. My desk and I have traveled far and wide, and once again I’m in what is supposed to be a dedicated private writing space, but it’s not–every other weekend I am reduced to either using my laptop and writing where ever I can find a quiet space or not writing at all during that time. I’m not big on writing for long periods of time on my laptop, but at least 90% of the time I’m undisturbed now and no longer having members of my household hovering over me as I write or staring at the kitchen counter or the living room or my husband sleeping. Yes, my red desk and I have traveled far–from room to room, corner to corner, place to place. What I’d really like is a “writing cave.”

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