Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Steven Mitchell: shedworker

In today's guest post we welcome writer Steven Mitchell who lives a stone's throw from Shedworking HQ. He talks us through his garden office journey.

I’m a writer, and like my childhood hero, Roald Dahl, I’ve always wanted a writing shed, and now I have one! With child number two on the way, we decided we needed a bit more space, so we started looking at new houses. One house immediately drew me in because the estate agent’s photos showed a garden office. When we went to view it, I knew this was the place. The garden office was tucked away in the back corner of the garden, half submerged in bushes, a palm tree beside the door, and in the shade of an enormous chestnut tree bulging with adolescent fruit. I imagined myself in there, furiously working on my next novel. We made an offer on the house the next day. 

Now I’ve moved into the shed, I often pause to breathe in the greenery as a breeze rustles the leaves and rain falls gently on the shed roof. It’s more peaceful than I’d imagined. I write early in the morning or late at night and I feel like I’m truly alone. I have a lovely oak desk, a comfy brown leather chair, and pictures on the wall. It’s cosy, but I’ve only experienced it in the summer so I’m bracing for autumn and winter. I’ll probably be typing in fingerless gloves, bobble hat on my head, wrapped tight in a blanket while chestnuts thunder down onto the roof. 

A fox visits the garden, a squirrel often scampers past the door, and one evening, as I returned to the house, I almost tripped over a hedgehog as it scurried across the lawn. In my second week in the shed, I heard scratching in the corner of the shed, a noise coming from outside, driving me to distraction. I stuck my head out to see a parade of wasps going in and out of a hole. Thankfully, they’ve gone, and I have my peace back. 

I’m going to do my best writing here—my award-winning work—I just know it. I wish I’d had this space when writing my first novel, Under The Moss—perhaps the boost of an inspiring place to write might have boosted sales. But it’s not just a writing shed—it’s my den. If I need a break, I have my guitars and electric drum kit (I’d love to swap it for my real one, but I have yet to convince my partner of that), which I thrash upon dreaming of being a rockstar (only one of my bands made it to Spotify (Double Handsome Dragons—check it out). 

I wish everyone could find their own space like this, and if I finally hit on the formula for writing a bestseller here, I’ll share the secret. 

And a quick plug…if you buy Under The Moss direct from my publisher’s website, they’ll plant a tree.  Or you can buy it from your favourite bookshop, and they’ll still plant a tree but maybe not a whole one.

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