A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
When someone mentions the word desk to me, I immediately picture mine. It’s an antique mahogany writing desk, with an inlaid leather top, and drawers on either side. It has cunningly designed places for notebooks and pens, and a shelf above it for books. It carries the odd scar from its time with previous owners, a dent and a couple of scratches, but those just add to its character.
That desk is totally imaginary though. The picture in my head shows the desk I feel I should have, the sort of desk I always imagined an author having, but my real desk is very different. I started writing in the autumn of 2007 when I was recovering from a long illness. I couldn’t sit at a desk to write, so I didn’t have one. I just had a little netbook computer and did my writing in bed.
Things changed when I got a publishing deal for my debut novel, Earth Girl. Faced with the unnerving prospect of people actually reading my book, I decided it was time to get serious about writing, and got a proper laptop. I still didn’t have a desk though.
I wrote two more books before I finally got my desk. It’s nothing like my imaginary mahogany desk, just a small metal thing with only two legs. Each leg can fold in three places, so I can set my desk up in a variety of positions.
The photo shows my desk set up for when I’m writing in bed. With the legs adjusted to be straight, I can sit on a chair and write at it more like a standard desk. I can also fold it totally flat and pack it in my suitcase to go on holiday.
Yes, I really have packed my desk in my suitcase along with my clothes and taken it along to use it on holiday. It’s surprisingly light, and folds completely flat, so it’s rather like packing a metal tray.
I’m not sure that I’ll ever get my antique mahogany desk. The desk that I have is probably more appropriate for someone who writes science fiction and fantasy, and I could never pack an antique desk in a suitcase.
I’ve been writing for nearly nine years now, and I’ve learnt that every author is different. It doesn’t matter whether other people plan their stories or write into the dark, whether they have a mahogany desk or a writing cave, whether they write in a coffee shop or on the moon. Everyone has to find their own individual way of writing. My desk may not be the desk that I imagined authors having, but it works for me.
Janet Edwards lives in England. As a child, she read everything she could get her hands on, including a huge amount of science fiction and fantasy. She studied Maths at Oxford, and went on to suffer years of writing unbearably complicated technical documents before deciding to write something that was fun for a change. She has a husband, a son, a lot of books, and an aversion to housework.
Find out more about her, the Earth Girl trilogy, and her other books at www.janetedwards.com