I found Hazel on Twitter and started exchanging tweets, we later moved onto direct email, when she helped me with my MA- here is she is now as my very very first Guest Blogger…….Welcome Hazel!
I saw a documentary a while ago (I can’t remember exactly what it was about – sorry), but it stayed with me because of a particular scene where novelist Jeffrey Archer was sitting at his desk, writing one of his blockbusters. I’ll describe the setting.
His desk was about 10ft long by 5ft wide (i.e. HUGE) and was placed within a spacious, calm uncluttered room. The desk faced a floor-to-ceiling panoramic window from which Mr Archer had the most breath-taking view of the ocean and dramatic, sweeping landscapes. On his desk were a few photographs of his family, a couple of tasteful trinkets, a notepad and a pen. Who couldn’t write a bestseller from there?
Having watched this, I had a little Pity Party for myself, complaining about how woeful and terrible my own writing place is. Why? Because, well, it’s just a little bit different to Jeffrey’s. I’ll try to describe it.
My writing place is one end of the kitchen table. I sit with my back to the patio doors which let in a horrible draught in the winter and cause me to tense my shoulders until I resemble an old hag. In front of me is a stunning vista of abandoned breakfast dishes, toast crumbs, crayons, some wilting tulips and an incomplete jigsaw. The washing machine clunks away in one corner; the dishwasher in the other. I leap from incomplete sentence to incomplete sentence to rescue a pie which is being cremated in the oven or to stir the bolognaise sauce. I abandon my characters in a scene which has just reached the height of dramatic tension because an incident is occurring outside between my kids and the neighbour’s kids. The doorbell rings constantly with people trying to sell me Sky Plus or to read the gas meter. The cat miaows incessantly to go out and miaows incessantly to come back in again ten seconds later. Most of the time I actually sit sideways on my chair in a ‘ready to bolt at any second’ position which does nothing to help my tense shoulders or my posture in general, let alone my creative genius.
When everyone is in bed and all the machines have stopped washing stuff, I retreat to the comfort of the sofa, laptop precariously balanced on a cushion, ready for some brilliance to leap forth from my cluttered mind. Generally, it doesn’t because by then I’m too knackered to produce anything creative so I just write down sentences, ideas and anecdotes which I plan to develop the next day at aforementioned kitchen table.
Of course we would all love the perfect, idyllic writing space – both mentally and physically – but in the real world (and not the one inhabited by Jeffrey Archer and People Like Him) the perfect writing space is the privilege of a very lucky few.
For us mere writing mortals, we could use this as an excuse. We could use it as a reason not to write. ‘But I have nowhere to write, NOWHERE, I tell you.’ Or, ‘I would write but how on earth am I supposed to concentrate with all THAT noise going on around me?’ We could use these excuses to procrastinate, but we shouldn’t. Because the harsh reality is that there is no perfect time or perfect place to start writing (well, there might be, but by the time you find it somebody else may very well have written that novel you’ve been planning for years), so we should probably just get on with it, wherever we are.
I like to think that in my latter years, when I have several international bestsellers to my name (see, I’m being positive again), I will sit in a beautiful room which is flooded with natural light, surrounded by fragrant lavender and rose bushes with the sunlight warming my frantically typing fingers and a pot of freshly brewed coffee always on hand (made by my domestic help). But until those far-off, halcyon days, I will stumble onwards, turn a blind eye to the domestic chaos unravelling around me and ‘Carry on Writing’ because how on earth is this novel ever going to get written otherwise?
Hazel Gaynor is an author and freelance journalist, writing regularly for the national press, magazines and websites in the UK and Ireland. After attending an Inkwell writing workshop in March 2009, Hazel launched her writing career with her award winning parenting and lifestyle blog ‘Hot Cross Mum’, which she went on to publish as an ebook in 2010.
Now concentrating on her passion for historical fiction, Hazel self-published her debut novel ‘The Girl Who Came Home – A Titanic Novel’ in March 2012, which has been a no.1 bestseller on the Kindle Historical Fiction charts. She is now working on her second novel.
Originally from North Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Kildare with her husband, two young children, an accident-prone cat and her best friends Hendricks and Tanqueray. She is represented by Sheila Crowley of Curtis Brown, London. Follow Hazel on Twitter @HazelGaynor