A Laptop of One’s Own

The question I’m asked most about my writing is ‘When?’ When do I find the time to write between a demanding day job, two young kids and a busy husband?

I was talking to a friend the other day about writing and after discussing the When, she asked about Where: Where is my writing space? What is my set up at home?

Stephen King, unhelpfully I think, said in On Writing that a writer needs to be able to shut a door. I’ve spoken to wannabe writers and aspiring writers who focus on their writing space (or lack of it) rather than on what they are actually going to write. A nice desk, in a beautiful office would be  great, but it isn’t essential.

Virginia Woolf of course wrote about the room of one’s own. But as well as being a literal room for space, privacy and lack of interruptions it was also a symbol for larger issues like leisure time and financial independence. These are all still hurdles for writers to some extent.

The most important thing I take from Woolf’s work is the bit about killing the Angel in the House. Even more than those little darlings that routinely need to be edited out of my manuscripts, the Angel in the House is the thing that needs to be murdered every single day. It’s the voice that tells me I should cook, clean, do my tax return. It’s the Mummy Guilt; the pressure to be a perfect wife and mother. I have to tell myself I don’t need a spotless house, I don’t to cook a gourmet meal every night, I don’t need to spend three hours a week volunteering at my kids’ school or join the fete committee (let’s face it, they wouldn’t want me anyway).

I was also guilty one and told myself things like ‘I will write when I have my own study’. But thinking this is as helpful as thinking ‘I will write when I have time.’ If you’re waiting for a free year with nothing but free time and a beautiful study in which to sit, you’ll probably never get a book written. You need to make the space, just like you need to make the time.

I don’t mean you need to build an extra room on your house, but I’ve never had a study, the best I’ve had is a nook – an alcove near the kitchen. The kids can’t see me, though I can hear them and there’s no door between me and the endless questions and requests to mediate. But it’s the best I can do. I’m also at my most productive when they’re in bed, though as they get older and their bed times get later this golden time is shrinking. I have to make do with the time and space I do have.

Which is where the laptop comes in. If only Virginia had a laptop (Come to think about that how did anyone write before PCs? A post for another time maybe).

The laptop is portable – you can pick it up and move to a quiet part of the house. Or the library. Or a café if you are so inclined (I’m not, but that’s just me). A laptop with an internet connection is a room in itself – all the reference materials you could need. With Pinterest and Scrivener who needs note boards anymore?

And if the computer is truly your own you have privacy as well. No one to judge your search history. No fear that anyone will read your work before you’re ready for them to. And it’s all yours whenever, or wherever you are able to write.

While an actual room would be fantastic – I think the room Virginia Woolf wrote about is more metaphorical – freedom, privacy, time and lack of guilt are more important than a closed door.


I’m on AusRom Today with a fun post. Sadly there was a budget I had to stick to but I did my best…

Build Us Your Story with Justine Lewis I’m always up for a challenge, though staying within budget was very difficult (and sadly I have expensive tastes). Sigh Worthy Male lead I’d spend $5 …

Source: BUILD US YOUR IDEAL STORY with Justine Lewis

Release day: The Reluctant Lover

It’s release day and I’ve been so busy blogging on other sites I haven’t blogged on my own, but here’s a taster from the ARRA blog – thanks for having me on today!

Today is the official release of The Reluctant Lover by Justine Lewis (ebook, Penguin Australia). Here’s the blurb: Katherine Bright is one of Australia’s most acclaimed television jour…

Source: Release day: The Reluctant Lover

When good tropes turn bad

Amnesia. Mistaken identity. Marriage of convenience. Accidental pregnancy. These are all classic romance tropes. At the moment I’m in the middle of my own romance trope.

Well, sort of.

I’m in a cabin in Yosemite National Park and snowed in. And the furnace isn’t working, which means that the only means of heating the entire house is the pot belly stove in the living room. I’m wearing my parka and boots and the only reason I don’t have my gloves on is so I can type this.

The Snowed In trope. Sibling of the Stranded On a Tropical Island Trope. And the second cousin to the Stuck In An Elevator trope.

The pot belly fire is taking a while to get going. The thermostat says 44 degrees. Fahrenheit. And I’m not sure I want to translate that to Celsius. The management of the cabin should be bringing some electric heaters soon, but the road was only just drivable when we arrived three hours ago and it has been snowing heavily ever since. And it’s now dark. Staying here in the cold is still preferable to getting back into the car and going anywhere.

I also did that City Girl Goes To The Snow And Wears Inappropriate Shoes Thing too, but it wasn’t cute. It was wet. And it hurt when I fell (I’m from Canberra, I’m wearing solid boots, but the grip on the sole has worn away just a bit too much and wasn’t up to the challenges of black ice).

I am here with my own hero – my wonderful husband. So far so wonderful. But our two kids are also here.

And my parents. And if the portable heaters don’t arrive it looks like we’ll all be hunkering down in the living room by the fire as the rest of of the house is too freezing to inhabit.

I’m not exactly living a romantic dream. We are all being very polite and trying to keep spirits up but the kids have been in the car all day and are exhausted. Oh and the satellite television isn’t working. Mr Lewis is getting twitchy from internet deprivation. And so is my father, though he doesn’t dare complain as this trip was his idea.

The DVD selection is dire. My mother and I think the book selection is pretty good, though she did rip the Kate Morton out of my freezing hands. The pair of us would be happy but Patricia Cornwell isn’t going to keep my five year amused.

So basically, I’m in the middle of a romance trope gone bad.

(So this post has nothing to do with any of my books. They feature a secret royalty/mistaken identity trope, a boss’s daughter/from different worlds trope, and my latest release features and older woman – younger man trope).

What’s your favourite romance trope?