Francesca Capaldi Burgess talks about where she likes to write
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?