Wednesday 7 May 2014

(vol 1) CHAPTER 13: “There’s a time and a place”

The heavy central column was slowly lowered down onto a block that sat at the centre of a large wooden disc. Holes were aligned before four thick metal bolts were inserted into place. The grunts of the worker echoed with each revolution of the nuts until the pieces were secure.

Next, four wooden fins, carved from the finest pine in all the land were held in position, one at a time, as the worker again pierced the column with more steel bolts. The fins curved up from the head of the column pointing north, east, south and west.

With the mighty wooden structure complete it was slowly lifted and flipped until the fins settled on the ground, supporting the weight of the thick pine column and the great wooden disc that sat atop it.

The dining room table was ready.

It sounds silly but I’ve been waiting a while now to get the back room cleared out and our dining room table put together (thanks mum). Now I finally have somewhere proper to write for the first time since before my son was born. 

At first I thought about putting the short story project on hold until I had this place to sit down with the lap top and get cracking but it would only have been more time wasted. If you’ve been following this blog you know about my past regrets in that respect.

Until now I’ve only really had two places to sit down and write my stories. Neither of them were ideal but they helped me get done all that I have so far. I guess I can’t knock them but I’m ready to ‘level up’ now.

The first place I’ve called my writing home, and where I’ve got most of it done in the last year, are the glass tables of my work canteen. It can be noisy with people chatting and Radio 1 is always on, spitting out its daily drivel. However, I’ve been lucky. A few of my colleagues know what I’m doing (and follow my blog – hi guys!) and so it’s not been too difficult to get left alone with just my i-pod and note pads. After I’ve had a quick snack and got set up I can get a good fifty minutes on one lunch break which equals about four pages of lined A4. It’s a shorter amount of time then I’d like (I HATE going back) but it allows me to be consistent; 5x50=250 so about 4 hours almost guaranteed a week.

The other place I’ve utilised is the living room. Until recently there wasn’t really anywhere else in the house to go and sit and write. I only had a foot stool (that came with a second hand sofa) for a chair and my sons feeding chair as a desk; not exactly comfortable. Worst of all it was right next to the television, one of the demons of distraction.

But now I have a nice table to sit at. I can type away whilst not being hunched over. I can have peace and quiet. I can have room to spread out my notebooks. And, most importantly, my wife can watch One Born Every Minute without having to put up with the clack, clack, clacking of the laptop keyboard.

Everyone’s a winner.

If you’re a writer you probably know what I’m on about and have your own special space in the world that brings out your best work (please let me know yours in the comments). It doesn’t have to be that massive mahogany desk in the study behind the locked door. It just needs to be somewhere you can get on with it and have everything you need and none of the things you don’t.

I won’t be giving up my lunch time writing anytime soon (those four hours a week helped me set a new personal best word count for NaNoWriMo last year so it must work) but now the lunch time writing will be just that; lunch. And then I come home and the evening in my writing space allows me to have a nice big three course meal of creativity; reading other writers blogs for the starter, working on my project for the main course and then putting together notes or planning future blog posts for dessert.

I’m optimistic now that my output will increase dramatically.

And all because of a dining room table.

See you in seven.


  1. Wow Brian, I thought you were building Noah's Ark or a flying machine there to start with.

    Best of luck with the writing, I'm pleased to have you aboard with The Creative Writers Toolbelt, if you are not already subscribed to them can I also recommend the following podcasts:

    The Creative Penn and

    Writing Excuses

    Both really good sources of practical advice and insight.

    Andy Chamberlain

  2. Thank you Andrew. The dramatic opening was something I used a few posts ago and some readers said they liked it so I thought I'd try it again.

    I'm already a big fan of the 'Writing Excuses' podcast but will definitely check out 'Creative Penn'.

    May I also suggest Mur Lafferty's 'I Should Be Writing'.