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The importance of the workplace

If you’ve ever visualised a writer’s den - the leather seats, the walnut desk, oak bookcases bracketing an open fire before which reclines a torpid bulldog -

Forget it!

These are writers out of the pages of, well -fiction. The truth is that most writers have a corner of the house in which to prop up their notebook computer and would give their eye-teeth for a study. And yet - they manage to write. How? Quite simple.

Setting aside regular time for writing is important. And it’s important, too, that your family and friends understand this. We all like being with family, maybe watching a film on TV or just chatting over a glass of wine but you can’t do two things at once. Explain that, although you love being with them, your writing is important to you and when you’re in your ‘writing zone’ you need to be left in peace without being interrupted. And even more importantly - when you’ve arranged your writing time - use it! There may be days when you sit there without an idea in your head. On those days, use your writing time to maybe revise some earlier work, or even to read a book - good writers are almost invariably avid readers.  Try to get into the habit of using this time for your writing work and soon it will become habit and won’t feel out of place anymore. And by then you should have -

Support from your family. Many fledgling writers feel a bit self-conscious at first - ‘what, me a writer?’ Or worse still, they may feel that their family thinks they’re ‘just playing at it’. However, your confidence will grow when it becomes obvious to others - and to you - that you are serious about this and it isn’t a flash in the pan. For many writers, from beginners to the highly experienced, this support is a valued and essential resource.

Your own special space. This can vary enormously. Some writers can only work if they have a room to themselves and cathedral-like silence. Some like listening to rock music whilst they write, others like writing in the middle of  the night. For most of us this isn’t an option and we make do with a folding table in the living room. That’s not a problem, as long as you can leave your work in situ when you’re not writing - clearing off the kitchen table and setting everything up each time you want to write doesn’t work too well in practice, as you don’t have a regular place - your own special space - in which to write and the habit of writing can therefore be hard to acquire. If you’re thinking this is difficult, we heard recently of one short-story writer whose only space when she started was on her train commute to work. And yet she used this less-than-ideal space to write her stories, many of which have now been featured in national magazines. We’re not suggesting this is an ideal situation - the point is that, despite having a narrow time window and noisy surroundings, she managed to make this her special place to write. And that’s what counts!

But - how do you plan a story? Let’s have a look at the next step and find out!

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