Writers rooms

I’ve been having trouble getting sweet B down lately. She’ll go to sleep in my arms as usual, but she wakes up, instantly and crankily, when I lay her down on couch or bed. I just drugged her with milk and tried again…success.

But instead of turning to work I’ve been feeling guilty about ignoring, I’ve been wandering through this irresistible site. I’m ashamed to say I don’t know the work of most of these Brit writers, but I love looking at their spaces and reading what they have to say about them.

Years ago, I wrote a book about home offices. I’d had a contract with a publisher, but when I delivered the first chapters we discovered we’d been thinking of two different books. I was writing a highly personal, very specific work based on my own experience both as a worker in a home office myself and as someone who in a previous life had had the chance to see many such spaces and to talk to their designers and users. My editor was looking for an impersonal and unspecific general text (basically, she wanted me to lose the first person pronoun, particular recommendations, and all brand names and models). She was polite but insistent. I was polite but determined. We parted company (which meant my sending money back to a publisher, an exquisitely painful experience), and I decided, as an experiment, to self-publish. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone else (well, maybe I would, now we’re in the era of E-books), but I learned a vast amount about everything from layout and design to marketing and sales, much of which I put to good use in a later position.

I was working at the time in my perfect home office, which we’d created in the unused one-car garage of our little house. A few years later, we moved around the corner, and I sadly left perfection for mere adequacy. Adequacy, as the Scots salesman would have expected, actually worked, and continues to work, just fine.

Now there’s a book topic for the new age.



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