Today I was emailing back and fourth with Elizabeth Ewing aka. Kerner who works with me, all be it in the Edinburgh office, about this and that (mostly it has to be say the glamness of Bella’s new collar) but also about how one writes.

I used to write long hand for ages (on a Clairefontaine half-centimetre squared loose-leaf paper) because, a) my computer was old and clunky and in the corner of my bedroom, and b) I have a nice yew desk to work at which has much better ambience. Since the acquisition of my shiny new laptop last summer I’ve been writing direct onto computer – and the current version of my novel gets stored on a memory stick so it’s with me everywhere I go.

For Elizabeth

I tend to close myself in my office (keeping out curious cats, who *will* insist on walking across the keyboard) with my computer, put on headphones and listen to piano music – new age stuff. I prefer classical in real life, but those composers whose work I most adore are have voices that are too powerful to ignore, and I would end up writing in their voices, not mine. (Imagine writing to Beethoven – what would you come up with? Actually, that’s a thought…) I don’t do longhand, I’m a leftie and I write far, far too slowly.

I don’t dare listen to anything with words, though, as I will INEVITABLY sing along.


Writing in the lounge does of course me that I do get disturbed by the cats. Arthur in particular does like settling down on the keyboard. They are also fascinated by the movement of the cursor across the screen.

I tend to listen to music yes. Very often I have a few albums that seem to work at producing the right atmosphere for a particular story. Worryingly for my very eclectic taste in music, trashy pop music does actually seem to fire the imagination and get me productive. That said, right now I seem to be listening to a lot of Icelandic pop and rock which does of course have the advantage that I can’t get distracted by the words and sing along with them because it’s all in Icelandic (or in the case of Sigur-Rós, a made up language called Hopelandic…)

And yes, I do speak the words that I’m writing out loud. Which apparently used to be very funny for my parents when I lived at home, especially if I was writing late into the night and they would walk past my door on the way to bed and hear me muttering to myself inside!! 😉

So what are your routines for writing? Do I have any garret flat writers’ on my friends list? And by writing, I am talking in the broadest possible sense – writing stories; writing non-fiction; writing poetry; writing handbooks; writing code! Or creating ‘something’ in the broadest sense? How do you do it, and where?