My Writing Space

I have lived in many homes and had a variety of writing places. I have found that those which seemed least pleasant often led to me being more creative and productive. I wrote my first collection of short stories crammed into a tiny dark place beneath stairs, my first novel hunched over a table in a dark corner of a room. When I set up my study to perfection I found myself perversely seeking out other places to write. Perhaps I know sub-consciously that that my work sometimes suffered in too perfect a setting.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I studied Neuro-Linguistic Processing, NLP, under Robert Dilts in California and he has a theory which perhaps explains this. He suggests that the best way to be creative is to use what he has termed The Disney Strategy.

There are three stages to the Disney Strategy. 1. Dreaming up ideas. 2. Turning the dream into reality. 3. Sternly evaluating and criticising what you have produced. You then go through the cycle again until you are happy with what you’ve produced.

Sounds familiar? Writers might call it Planning, Writing and Editing.

Dilts further suggests that different settings are best for each stage in the process.

  1. Dreaming up ideas. An open, playful space is best. Look up and allow yourself time and space to dream with a child-like sense of the possible.
  2. Turning the dream into reality. A well equipped space where you can really focus on the work with the best of equipment and without distraction. Lean forward to the task and get on with it.
  3. Evaluating and criticising. As uncomfortable space as you can find. Make yourself miserable and you’ll be more likely to discover your mistakes.

So here’s my current writing space. Or rather spaces.

I get my best ideas when I’m outside, on the terrace which overlooks the town and sea or, better still, in a café with the buzz of the world swirling past but leaving me undisturbed. My favourite place currently is the Cocoon Café where the owner and his waitress are welcoming and friendly. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As people walk past I scan their faces, conjuring up minor characters from their appearance and the things which appear to be concerning them. I also dream my best dreams when I’m lying down, in bed or in a reclining chair on the terrace. I look up at the skies and nothing can stop the ideas from flowing across me.

I turn my ideas into reality by working in the apartment. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI use a good PC and have started to use some excellent writing software called Scrivener. I also have access to the finest research tool any writer could need, the world wide web. More than that, I have a circle of friends and colleagues from across the world, courtesy of this blog, Twitter and other social media.

The view looks over the town of Menton and Mediterranean Sea but I rarely find I am distracted by this. But to make sure I’m not I turn myself to the blank wall. The only thing I can see is a poster of a horseman from Siena on a mission from one town to another.

Sometimes, when the weather’s good like today I sneak out onto the terrace and write. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I evaluate and criticise by reading my work late at night. I would do it somewhere uncomfortable if I could but we live in a two room apartment and space is limited. Late at night when I’m tired and grumpy is about as good, or should I say bad, as I can find.

So there we have it. My work space. Or rather my working spaces.

I’m starting a series of author’s Work Spaces on this blog in a couple of weeks. I hope you enjoy reading about other author’s workspaces. I’m looking forward to it.


About Martin Lake

Martin Lake lives in the French Riviera with his wife. After studying at the University of East Anglia he worked as a teacher, trainer and company director. A serious accident shattered his arm and meant that he had to rein back his work. He decided to concentrate on writing and is now writing full-time. He writes a wide range of fiction. His main interests are historical fiction, short stories and fiction for young adults. Martin has a series of novels 'The Lost King' which are set in the years following the Norman Invasion of England. They concern Edgar Atheling, last representative of the ancient English royal dynasty and his fight to regain the throne from William the Conqueror. Martin has also published 'Artful' the further adventures of the Dodger and 'Outcasts' a novel about fall of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. His latest novel, 'A Love Most Dangerous' is about a maid of honour who becomes the lover of Henry VIII. Martin’s work has been broadcast on radio. He won first prize in the Kenneth Grahame Society competition to write a story based on 'The Wind in the Willows.' You can get the collection, 'The Wind in the Willows Short Stories' from Amazon.
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16 Responses to My Writing Space

  1. You might be interested in entering this post in my blog’s “Where I Write” blog carnival that I’m hosting. 🙂

  2. Thank you Martin for your kind words, Madame and yourself are always welcome in the cocoon café.


    • Martin Lake says:

      Thank you, Jean-Christophe. Your cafe is as inspirational as any of the 19th century Parisian establishments which I read about and yearned to visit. Janine and I love it.

  3. An excellent way to write! Different spaces to inspire…I would love an ocean view but being in the middle of the Albertan prairies no chance of that.

  4. I tend to write in different spots in my house, too, or outside. I think changing things up once in awhile is good for our creativity. Thanks so much for participating in my Blog Carnival!

  5. Valerie says:

    I enjoyed getting this glimpse of your writing spaces! Being able to see the Mediterranean must be heaven on earth!

  6. Paul W. Papa says:

    Martin thanks for sharing your writing place(s). Its a unique look into the head of a fellow writer.

  7. Enjoyed reading this post Martin. Your comments about writing in different spaces, or using different environments for different writing tasks, was thought provoking. I think I will try that. I used to write a lot of poetry, and could do that anywhere and anytime. Maybe I should venture doing the same with my current book-length project. I also use Scrivener. I love certain things about it, the way you can organize the binder and build scenes. I think I need to learn it better though. And I still end up copying the manuscript out in Pages for spell and spacing checks and for review with my client. Would love to hear what you think of it.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Martin Lake says:

      Thanks for your kind comments, Jeanne. Let me know what you think when you’ve tried out different writing spaces.

      I’m a new convert to Scrivener and I love it. I haven’t yet compiled a manuscript so I’m a little worried that this will work ok. But I love the flexibility of it and the little gadgets which show how far in the project I’ve got, colour codes for characters, pin-boards and, I’m sure, lots of other things I’ve yet to discover. I also like that you don’t have to use everything to get a lot from it.

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