Sunday 19 June 2011

Memories of writing

I've started on the path to losing my study: I've bought a laptop. Soon we'll buy a new bed, decorate and install my eldest child in the room that has seen two and a half novels and countless short stories written. I know I've been lucky to have kept hold of this room for so long, but it's still sad to see it go.

The imminent transition to writing on my lap got me thinking about all the places I've written since I started writing.

First I wrote on my bed when I was thirteen or fourteen. I shared a room with my sister and I had the bottom bunk which meant I wrote hunched over and in semi-darkness. I listened to albums copied on to 90mins tapes, an album on each side, dodgy sound. I remember listening to a Poison/Meat Loaf combo, and an Alice Cooper/Aerosmith one. Over and over, turning the tape rather than putting in a new one. The height of technology came when I got a double tape player, which meant one would roll seemlessly into the other, then I could turn them both over.

My mum had an old electric typewriter, which I attempted and failed to use. I spent an awful lot of time Tipp-Exing letters out.

Around that time, my dad bought a printer. We'd always had computers (Vic 20, Commodore 64, anyone?) but finally we acquired a word processing programme and a printer. The printer, however, was a graphics-only one. It only had a certain number of dots, and they didn't go below the line of normal text - so the tails of the 'y's, 'j's and 'g's sat on top of the line.

That printer was replaced, and finally I had manuscripts I could professionally send out! Yay! Cue first sale, and second sale, happy writer... then a bit of a lull.

When I moved into my flat with my now-husband and a friend, I commandeered part of the living room for a brand new black-ash desk. I don't feel bad about taking up a large part of the room, because it was the coldest place in the whole flat. The room itself was so cold I was convinced there was a ghost (add that to the fact that our clocks never kept time, ghosts were a sensible explanation), but also my desk was against the wall that backed on to the communal - and unheated - stairwell. I would often be found writing dressed in my coat and a long red scarf. Cue, despite the frozen fingers, a couple more sales, a happy writer... and then nothing...

Next time... Moving into my current house!


  1. Black-ash desk? This wouldn't have been the 80's by any chance would it?!

  2. No, Sarah, it wasn't the 80s - it was the 90s. Cheap and cheerful from Argos :-)

  3. Ahh, I remember writing on our Apple II C and shortly thereafter a used PC. Wrote my first book at the age of 14. It was crap. :P

  4. My first novel was about a girl who is spectacularly unimpressed when she finds out her long-lost cousin is a member of a hot boy band. It was a direct response to all my friends who were drooling over Take That the first time round.

    What was yours about Steve?


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