A few weeks back I wrote a post for Writing.ie about where I write, which at the time was a cubicle I’d just moved into in a shared office in Cork City centre. This was the fourth different place I’d worked in since I started taking this scribbling thing seriously back in autumn 2009 and, I thought, going to be the most successful by far. But would you believe, I have moved yet again. Having to have just the perfect place to write is like coal in the steam engine of my procrastination, so I swear, this is it. No, really. It is. No more moves, just words. Lots of them. Thousands per day, if possible. In the meantime, I thought I’d take you on a quick tour of all the places I’ve been writing…
By the Seaside
When I first quit working full-time to concentrate on writing—without even a smell of publishing success in any form and so, not recommended!—I promptly relocated myself to a holiday cottage near the sea in East Cork. It was October/November 2009, low season and utterly freezing, and so I got a gorgeous little home for a steal. The idea wasn’t my own: I’d read in an interview that crime writer Alex Barclay had done the same thing (i.e. take advantage of holiday homes in the off season) while she was writing her first novel. I’d come downstairs every morning around nine-thirty, turn on the coffee machine and then sit at the dining table to write, uninterrupted, until seven or eight o’clock at night. And it really was uninterrupted; the TV had only 3 or 4 non-static-filled channels, and there was no internet. Bliss. The bad news: I’ve never been quite as productive since.
In The Bedroom
Returning home from time abroad, quitting your only source of income and dedicating yourself to making your unlikely dreams come true required, in my case, moving back in with my parents. They were delighted (!), as you can imagine—but not as delighted as I was to go from the sizeable apartment in Orlando I shared with Andrea (with pool access and a patio that overlooked the Seaworld fireworks) back to the box room I’d grown up in, made even smaller now by possessions and a few more inches of me. But the rent was a steal…
There was far too much of this…
The bedroom was fine for a while, but by the end of summer 2011 I was really starting to feel like the walls were closing in one me. I’d finished Mousetrapped, written Backpacked and Self-Printed, built an online platform and self-published all my books from one corner of my tiny room, but now I was feeling a bit cabin feverish, as if the walls were closing in. I needed a change of scenery for a while. Back to the little cottage by the seaside, perhaps? Maybe, but with the typical Irish autumn of wind, rain and grey, it might not make me feel any better. What I really needed was some sunshine… and that’s how I hit upon the idea of renting a holiday home abroad.
... and not nearly enough of this. (This being working, not blogging—and not staring longingly out at the sun, either!)
October/November was low season in Nice, France, too, and I got the most beautiful apartment only a ten minute walk from Nice’s famed promenade and picturesque Old Town. This time I was writing at a dining table in a sunny room, the smell of basil drifting in the French doors from the balcony. Utter bliss.
Sadly, the beach, the coffee shops and the free wi-fi proved a bit of a distraction and I wasn’t exactly working ten to eight like I’d done back in East Cork… Still, though, it was totally worth it. I mean, come on. The Cote D’Azur for six weeks? Yes, please!
My Nice memories held me over for a while, but a couple of months back I started feeling really cabin feverish again. More so, I missed having somewhere to go. Being able to fall out of bed and work in your sweats all day was fun for a while, but now I actually started to miss having somewhere to go where I got up in the morning. I also wanted to start taking this writing thing very seriously, which meant doing it in an office instead of a place where re-runs of Oprah are never too far away. I did some research, and discovered that in recession-hit Ireland, office space is pretty cheap. I ended up renting a “hot desk”, i.e. a serviced desk in a shared office, and fell in love with the set-up on Day 1—especially after I discovered there was free coffee on tap all day long…
But only five weeks after I moved into my new cubicle, my circumstances changed: an opportunity arose to take a part-time job a few evenings a week. Since I figured the only thing it’d be cutting into was my TV-watching time and it would help with my next goal—the purchase of a shiny new computer as this one is on its last legs—I took it. But now it was harder to find time to get into the office and if I did have a few hours to write, did I really want to waste at least an hour and a half of that time making myself look presentable enough to leave the house and sitting on a bus once I did? No, not really. So I decided to move back into my room, but with a twist.
Or two twists, rather. The first thing I did is rent a storage unit and put as much of my stuff as I could into it, including practically all my books. This left my room pretty empty, and not as claustrophobia-inducing as it might once have been. I put back in some nice things I got in IKEA, moved some other stuff around and ended up with a really nice space I can write in.
All it’s missing now is a coffee machine…