Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Where Writers Write: Kate Tough

Welcome to another installment of TNBBC's Where Writers Write!

Where Writers Write is a series that features authors as they showcase their writing spaces using short form essay, photos, and/or video. As a lover of books and all of the hard work that goes into creating them, I thought it would be fun to see where the authors roll up their sleeves and make the magic happen. 

This is Kate Tough. Kate worked for the Scottish Parliament for six years before returning to her home city and gaining a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow in 2008. She writes poetry and fiction, spends too much time on email and doesn't do 'social networking' because it competes with writing time. Kate volunteers with children to aid literacy skills and works with new writers through workshops and mentoring. 

Her debut novel, Head for the Edge, Keep Walking, was selected for WHSmith’s summer travel book club, the Kindle Summer Sale and has garnered five star status on Kate held a Scottish Literature residency at Cove Park, 2014, and has received two Creative Scotland Awards to develop work (2009 and 2013). More info, extracts and audio clips at: 

Where Kate Tough Writes

I write beside a window. Always beside a window. With trees outside… always trees. In the last decade, in six different homes, the desk has taken that spot. I need daylight, awareness of the weather and space to stare into. Doesn’t everyone? In the last couple of years, as laptops became lighter and smaller, I got into a habit of writing curled up in an armchair, but my arm muscles rebelled with tightness and aches, so I’m back at the desk and very happy.

The desk is from Ikea, via Gumtree. The chair too. And the printer. And the laminator. Hmm, I hadn’t realised how much I used Gumtree over the years! 

When I’m making visual poetry, I kneel on the floor (the rug wasn’t from Gumtree). I write away from home as much (or more) than I do at home. Writing activity at home is often ‘writing-related’ rather than actual writing (e.g. admin, emails, articles, editing, rehearsing for events). The best way to get a good run at something creative is to take myself away (borrowing the accommodation of people I know). I prefer access to nature on these trips. For me, the best writing routine is to punctuate long working days with coast or countryside walks, or outdoor swims. I couldn’t do total isolation, though. A lone cottage on a deserted hillside? No thanks! I’ve done spells of writing in many places; below is a small selection. Sorry about the photo quality – I didn’t know I’d need them for a blog one day.

This is the view from my “writer’s cube” at the wonderful Scottish residency centre, Cove Park, in July 2014. International writers can apply, too. Hours, days and weeks were spent sticking poems together on the floor and watching ducks raise their young.

The view from the Edinburgh flat where I wrote a three-part poem, ‘Calm Seizure’.

The living room in the Galloway forest where a novel chunk was written. See  for photos of the stunning vista from the window.

The living room in Lochancroft Cottage, Wigtown (Scotland’s Book Town), where a novel chunk was written beneath the twin velux. It’s available to rent, too – book it and write! 

 The garden of the Spanish apartment where swimming breaks were enjoyed during long days of writing and editing. It made using my vacation for work a bit easier…!

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