As a rule on my lunchbreak I spend as much time as I can in the library near where I work, writing. I get 45 minutes there if I’m really being efficient with my time, but even half an hour is plenty of time to get words down or ideas flowing (preferably both). I go there because it’s relatively peaceful, even when it’s busy (which it often isn’t) and aside from people-watching there are few distractions. I sit as far from the shelves as I can to stop me idly reading titles, and there are no ground-level windows in the room I favour.
I noticed myself seeking out a writing space by looking for well-padded chairs, one lunchtime (some seat-cushions have been worn into the grooves of other people’s buttocks over many years, and some of the chair frames wobble alarmingly or lurch if you touch them) and wondered if the more ‘writerly’ thing to do would be always to sit near the Anthony Trollope novels, or books relevant to the topic I’m writing about at the moment.
It got me wondering about other writers’ rituals. Or indeed readers’ rituals. Where do you always sit to write, or to settle down and read, if you can? The corner of the coffee shop where you can watch new arrivals in the ornate mirror on the adjacent wall? The travel section of the library, where you can dream of faraway places? The basement of the local bookshop where there’s a comfortable armchair and you know that the staff will forget about you and leave you in peace? What about inside your house – do you have a quiet attic room, a study or a shed, or are you facing away from the TV you’re trying to block out while the rest of the family watch it? Do you need to have the cat in your lap, the dog at your feet, a view to glance out at from time to time? It’s sheer nosiness on my part, I guess, but I’d love you to leave me a comment and let me know.