Without a ‘room of one’s own’, I need a routine of my own. Between writing the first chapter of The Silent Treatment and its publication, I have lived in five different houses - from flat-shares to my parents’ place, from Edinburgh to Brighton. Although that has been unsettling at times, sticking to strict writing hours has helped keep me grounded and ensure that I hit my deadlines!
A desk can be anywhere. I started writing my novel in bed, in the early hours before I went to my day-job. Since then, I have worked in cafes, public libraries, on trains and planes and buses. It’s amazing what can double up as a workstation! Now, when I have the opportunity to write on the kitchen table, uninterrupted for a few hours, it feels like a luxury.
Love the location. Experiencing new cities is a great way to find inspiration. The people I’ve met along the way have also provided me with ideas for stories, as well as opening my mind to new perspectives.
Being adaptable is key. In life and in literature! I’ve learnt to be more flexible which has definitely helped with the editorial process. Publishing a novel is a collaborative project and being stuck in your ways won’t help the book succeed.
Testing myself to the limit is a good thing. As a novelist, I want every book to be better than the last. Moving around so much in the past eighteen months (and not crumbling!) has taught me that I am capable of much more than I think, which can only help push my writing onwards and upwards.
Develop a stronger sense of self. Once I had left a familiar city behind, it made me realise which interests were really mine and which were just a product of the environment I lived in. For example, I quickly realised that expensive London yoga classes weren’t for me and replaced them with outdoor walks in Scotland which got my brain fired up with fresh inspiration. Being more certain in who I am has strengthened my authorial voice too.
I don’t need a lucky pen. Or a lucky mug. Or lucky socks or lucky anything else! Material possessions have been comforting to me in the past, but so long as I have a laptop, a pen and some paper, I will be able to write and try to make my own luck along the way.
A good support network is always there. Writing is a solitary pursuit but that only means understanding family and friends are all the more important. I’m always on the phone to my mum and my best friend, whether that’s to offload about an edit, or to brainstorm ideas for an article to promote the novel. It doesn’t matter if I’m five minutes down the road or a five-hour train journey away, their support is constant. I’m so grateful for it.