Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Silence is Golden

This week on the blog, the Lucky 13s are discussing their ideal writing day.

The writing pod from the outside
I wake up with the sun; the dawn chorus is my alarm clock. When I head downstairs for breakfast, someone has made me a plateful of banana pancakes and a pot of black tea. I take my cup of tea outside, where my writing pod awaits me. It rotates so I can follow the passage of the sun all day and enjoy an ever-changing view. No one disturbs me: this space is sacred.

I read through the chapter I was working on yesterday and find myself chuckling at the funny lines and tensing up at the scary bits. This is word perfect. I plough on with the next chapter and the words flow effortlessly. In the middle of the day, I take a break to swim in the ocean which is just a stone’s throw from my pod. The water is eighty degrees and the sun is shining for 300th day in a row. As I swim around the cove, I have a brilliant idea for the next chapter… 
Inside the pod

…okay, that was a brief indulgence in fantasyland. I live in the south-west of England where the water temperature never gets above 66 even in the middle of summer, and the rain is an almost constant companion. Yes, we have 200 rainy days a year. Think Seattle, but a bit wetter. Silence is rare – if it isn’t the cat yowling to come in, it’s me yelling that I don’t want to be disturbed unless the house is burning down. I don’t have a sea view or a writing pod. And while I make occasionally chuckle manically at something I’ve written (don’t tell anyone – it makes me sound so smug!), I’ve never written anything word perfect.

In the real world I have 3 ingredients for the ideal working day: an endless supply of tea, a Do Not Disturb sign on the office door, and silence. Perfect.

We’d love you to share your ingredients for the perfecting writing day.

Helen Douglas writes books for young adults. AFTER EDEN, her debut novel, will be published by Bloomsbury in July 2013. You can learn more at http://www.helenmdouglas.com, http://www.facebook.com/helendouglasbooks and connect with Helen on Twitter @helenmdouglas.


  1. I love the pod, Helen! My ideal writing day: Quiet and alone. Warm spring day. Walk in the woods. Dash off 2000 words without even trying because I'm just that brilliant. An excellent lunch out with a glass of wine to celebrate aforesaid brilliance. Read in the hammock until I fall asleep for my afternoon nap.

    Yeah. Mine's a fantasy too.

  2. Let's have side-by-side pods. I promise not to knock on yours if you promise not to knock on mine.

  3. I love the pod. I want one! My ideal day: quiet, no family interruptions. Nice spring day, moderate breeze. I'm on a tropical island beach. My dogs are at my feet. There is the hint of sweetness in the air, like jasmine or lavender, maybe orange blossoms. Waves are gently rolling ashore. My house is behind me, it's white curtains billowing in the wind. Champagne is in the frig. Caterers will arrive in a few hours. A party with my friends and family is tonight. We're celebrating the release of my new novel. Right now, I'm sipping coffee in my hammock, relaxing, dreaming of my next novel plot and thanking God for all the blessings in my life.