I’m a mobile writer, which means I don’t have a dedicated place where I go to work. I always smile at the photography series in the Indie that shows off writer’s spaces. The places they have made for themselves where they can create a masterpiece in comfort. There’s a lot of book-lined studies in there. It’s all very cosy.

If I were ever to have that honour, I’d have to show the photographer onto the 06:56 to London Paddington and get him to take a snap of a window seat. Lord knows, I’d love a place like Roald Dahl’s shed, or Neil Gaiman’s library, but that just don’t suit the way I do things. Maybe I should try a stint of writing in the summerhouse.

Writing on a train is the best way I know of getting some no-distraction work done. I can’t connect to the internet. I deliberately use a small, light netbook that doesn’t have too many fancies, but does have a good keyboard I can happily abuse. There’s power on the train, and access to coffee, which is really all I need to at least get a handle on the writing task of the day. I’m an early bird when it comes to this particular task, which means I can get a half-hours work done at the day’s creative peak.

A mobile writer needs a sturdy bag. It’s the office, essentially. It should be able to withstand all the rigours of a daily commute, while being light and small enough to be easily portable. When I began my rambling life, I carried my 13″ Blackbook in a solid, heavy Redline bookbag that was built to withstand a low-yield nuclear strike, but very nearly twisted my spine out of true whenever I picked it up. That was a lesson learned. Only carry what you really need, not everything you think you might.

If you’re interested in the sort of thing I lug around, allow me to point you at TLC’s new photo blog. She’s taken shots of our two bags, which are strangely accurate portraits, and interesting insights into our inner workings.


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Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

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