Image of a multi-coloured chameleon standing on a stem and toungue shooting out to reach its prey. Image credited to the 4toconvert.

My Space to Write

Charles Bukowski once wrote in Notes of a Dirty Old Man that

“There is only one place to write and that is alone at a typewriter. The writer who has to go into the streets is a writer who does not know the streets. . . . when you leave your typewriter you leave your machine gun and the rats come pouring through”.

I remember reading somewhere else that Ernest Hemingway loved to write standing up.

I have also heard of writers like Dambudzo Marechera and Yvonne Vera who used to shut themselves in rooms or communes for a month of writing and emerge a month later with a complete manuscript.

A Black and white image of Dambudzo Marechera.
Legendary Zimbabwean writer Dambudzo Marechera – author of prize winning books like House of Hunger, Black Sunlight, The Black Insider and poems like Cemetery of Mind. [Image source:]
There were also women like Virginia Woolf who believed “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”.

My writing process is not complicated. It is very simple. I love writing at night when the people are dreaming with their eyes closed and I am dreaming with mine own.

A good selection of Reggae music should be playing in my headphones. Ideally, I love to have some herbs to burn every now and again during the writing process.

These ingredients take me from reality to inhabit the world I am writing in. Everything ceases to exist and it is just me and the story world.

That is when I am at my best when there are no distractions like phones ringing or people disturbing me and breaking me out of my other existence.

I feel fortunate that I am not one of those writers who can function [write] only when the conditions are perfect.

I can write in crowded places like libraries, lecture rooms, on the street etc. I can write in the office [I have to – it is part of my job].

Image of a keyboard and a photography magazine on top of a white desktop. Image credited to the 4toconvert.

I can write on the train, underground or on the bus. I can write almost anywhere. But I can’t write in coffee shops. I hate coffee. It makes me nauseous. And I could never write in a nauseating environment.

I feel lucky that I am pretty versatile: I am a chameleon that can change its colours depending on it’s environment.

Image of a multi-coloured chameleon standing on a stem. It's tongue is shooting out of its mouth and projecting towards some insect. Image credited to the 4toconvert.

Yes, that is it. I am a chameleon. I am always at home – writing in any environment. I don’t need a special space to write. Ideally, Reggae music, herbs and night time are perfect for me to write but I can write anywhere else with or without all of those essentials.

I have just written this in the library during the day while listening to Reggae music: the mix below is the one I was listening to.


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