Sarah Totton’s Writing Space
In my last apartment, I would write in a tie-dyed beanbag chair on the floor or in a wooden-backed chair at my desk (the same desk in the photograph).
It was a studio apartment on the top floor of a 144-year-old heritage building with four enormous windows. The temperature regularly went above 30 degrees in the summer. Cold air gusted in around the windows in the winter. It was never a comfortable place to write.
When I moved to a much younger house, I bought a more comfortable desk chair. I find clutter distracting, so I tend keep the desk clear. I spend a lot of time at my desk, because that’s where I do my day job work as a scientific consultant.
Sometimes, while I’m waiting for a contractor to reply to an email or to send me more data, I do my fiction writing in 10-minute intervals. Depending on the day, I can get up to an hour of writing done in these 10-minute bursts. Sometimes, I make more progress during these short stints than I do when I have longer stretches of time after my day job work is done.
On the shelf above my desk are my reference books (for both day job and fiction writing), along with containers of coloured plastic disks that hold all of my old fiction writing back to the time I got my first desktop computer in December 1990.
In the evenings or on weekends, I write fiction in my recliner with the laptop unplugged from the internet. The recliner is more comfortable than my desk chair. Others have also discovered how comfortable it is.
On a given day, I’ll block out time for short story work and for novel work. If things aren’t going well on one particular project, I’ll switch to another project. It helps keep up morale and momentum, and often, by the time I come back to a difficult problem after some time away, the problem has sorted itself out in my head.
I’ve been asked if I feel displaced when I write. I don’t, but sometimes it’s necessary to displace the cats.
Photos by Sarah Totton