By Jay Stringer
When Bryon suggested we steal -I mean honour- Murderati's work space idea, I thought it sounded great.
My mind came alive with ideas. I could talk about my routine, and the reasons I chose my work space. I could talk about the way I had to have the pens all lined up in a certain way, and the desk had to be facing the midlands at all times. Furthermore, I could pretend that the lay out of my work space offered some great insight into my writing process.
There was just one problem.
I didn't have a work space.
Okay, I have one by default. I mean, wherever I lay my hat, right? My 'workspace' is really just my macbook. The rest is optional. I've tried, don't get me wrong. When we moved into our current flat, I claimed a spot in the kitchen and set up a writing desk. I bought a printer to put on the desk, and a little metal container to fill with pens. I spent a summer trying to use it as my office, and settled into a routine of sitting there for a couple of hours every night to write.
The result was a very cluttered desk, piled high with plates, half-read novels and re-read comic books. And lots of coffee. But writing? Not so much.
I have friends who go through the same ritual; a new home is a chance to plan out a new writing space. It works for them, but not for me. I found that time spent thinking about these things was time that I could have spent writing.
The protagonist of Jim Dodge's Not Fade Away liked to say that he was never in our out of his element- he took his element with him. And I've found that's me and writing. My workspace is wherever I am. My first book was written on the floor, in the bedroom and on long train journeys. My second was written mostly on the sofa that i'm sitting on right now.
The third? Who knows.
The only time I really complain about my dyslexia is when it limits this mobility. To be really productive I need my laptop. Sure, I've always been a scribbler, I always have one of my notebooks on me, but their use is limited. I can make brief notes. The odd line of dialogue, or a character name, maybe half a paragraph. Anything more than that is a waste of time and ink, because I won't be able to read it later. For that reason i'm thinking I might sell my soul for an ipad, because it might give me even more options.