Saturday, August 03, 2019

Linda Strachan: shedworker

Children's author and former chair of the Society of Authors in Scotland, Linda Strachan is a shedworker - her latest book is The Dangerous Lives of the Jacobites: Fact-tastic Stories from Scotland's History. In this guest post, she describes her garden office lifestyle.

Nestled in a village in south east Scotland, ‘Tuscany’ is my shed, my garden writing space. About 12 years ago when we first moved here there was a perfectly ‘shed-shaped’ space in the garden. That summer with help from one of our offspring, my ‘him indoors’ built my writing shed. I wanted a place where I could close myself away from everything else to concentrate on writing; a safe haven for ideas, a peaceful, private space that I need for the creative flow. 

Originally the outside was painted a warm terracotta colour that suggested Tuscany to me, and so the name. It gets really warm, even moderately sunny days so I watch the thermometer closely. When it gets above 28°C with the doors and windows wide open, it’s time to move to a cooler spot for a while and in the winter I have a small electric radiator although I rarely need it on for very long. 

This summer Tuscany  got a new coat of paint both inside and out, thanks again to him indoors, a fresh pale green ‘rosemary’ that I love. He even made a name plate, a wooden gekko and a set of musical bars and notes for the wall. Unlike my home office I have a clear desk, also a pin-board for ideas and notes to myself about the book and a comfy chair for reading. I like to keep an assortment of things around me that make it my own space - ornaments that mean something special or might spark off ideas, including a small collection of gargoyles.

I go out there with no distractions, turning off internet, often playing some quiet music until I get into the flow. I only take out the book I am currently writing, (I sometimes have more than one ongoing at the same time). It’s like being in a quiet bubble with my story. When I need to disappear into a story Tuscany is my escape route, a doorway into other worlds. Just perfect.

Saturday posts are sponsored by woowoo waterless toilets, the best toilet for your garden office

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