What’s your Writing Place?

Written by Nudrat Siddiqui, CRSD

Photo source: http://sarawookey.com/dance-in-museums/awareness-through-movement-reading-wellcome-collection/

Writing well can be a tough task, no matter how seasoned a writer you may be. Good writing often comes from stumbling across the perfect formula for you, in which all the conditions to foster creativity are right. For many writers, the place where they write feeds into that formula.

I realised early on in my PhD that my formula involves inconsistency. I would have a productive day at a library or cafe and rush back the next day expecting similar results, only to have a miserable day that would conclude with me having strung together a few feeble sentences of my thesis. So I now alternate between libraries, cafes, and my living room couch, finding that the constant rotation in setting drives my writing.

As part of WriteFest 2018, we’re putting on Shut up and Write! retreats throughout November, which are a great opportunity to escape your usual surroundings and access protected time and space to work on your papers, chapters, and grant applications. If you can’t make it to King’s this month and are based in London, you can still make progress on your writing in one of the many quirky and interesting locations around the city.

Check out some of my favourite writing spots in London:

  • The British Library Reading Rooms – If you are looking for silence, these reading rooms are an oasis within the busy clamour of the Euston and King’s Cross area in which the library is based.   
  •  The National Art Library at the V&A – Situated in the V&A museum, gain inspiration from the chandeliers and beautiful views of the John Madejski Garden as you write.  
  • The Wellcome Collection Reading Room – a mixed bag of vintage arm chairs, sofas, a winding staircase complete with floor cushions and a ringing telephone that tells you the history of medicine when you answer it. When you need a break, have a wander through the free exhibitions downstairs.
  • The Barbican – Brutalist architecture, dim lighting, and ample seating and socket plugs. I find the creative vibe inherent to the Barbican often jumpstarts my own creative process.
  • Parks – Take your laptop or notebook and settle down on a bench in one of London’s numerous parks. Admittedly this might only be an option in warmer weather, but the scenic views go a long way in unclogging my ideas and thoughts.
  • Look Mum No Hands! – Doubling over as a café/bar and bike repair shop, this venue is a great spot to immerse yourself among other writers and freelancers busily tapping away on their laptops, with caffeine and baked treats to fuel you.

Finally, open yourself up to the possibility of writing anywhere, even when you’re not planning on it. Fragments of my thesis, sentences, and even whole paragraphs uncover themselves in unexpected moments when I’m on the tube or eating dinner, and the ‘Notes’ app on my phone is a handy way to quickly record them before they’re gone. Venture into some of the locations in this post and see if you can discover the right writing place for you this Academic Writing Month!