Author: Vikki Patis
Vikki Patis is a writer and blogger at The Bandwagon, where she reviews books, interviews authors, and gives her opinions on a wide variety of topics, from feminism to fibromyalgia. She’s recently published a collection of short stories, Weltanschauung, and I’m excited to welcome her to the blog today to talk about her writing space!
[My Writing Space]
“Writing can be tough. Many of us don’t have the luxury of being able to write full-time – we have day jobs, families, commitments, insistent cats – and so it can be difficult to just sit down and write. But you don’t just need a physical space; you also need mental space. You need to be able to shut everything out, all the distractions, the worries, and focus on your writing. As a graduate, and a blogger, I’m used to working to deadlines, and squeezing time to write around other commitments. But I’ve found that writing fiction doesn’t always work that way. You have to be in the right zone; it can’t be forced.
When I’m writing, I usually sit on the sofa, with a fresh cup of tea and my feet up. I sit at a desk all day at work, and like to be comfortable at home. Friday evenings are usually my most productive time; I don’t have to worry about being too tired, since I can (usually!) sleep in on Saturdays. Dealing with a chronic illness can make things even harder, and there was a time when I barely wrote at all. But writing is one of my few outlets, and I cherish being able to do it.
I get some of my best ideas while going through my day – in the car on the way to work, wandering around the supermarket, even in dreams! The idea for Bane, the final short story, came from a dream, after reading Joe Hill’s The Fireman. I dreamt that the world was on fire, and I’d been contacted by the government to be a Reviewer, which meant travelling around and reviewing the safety of various structures, meeting weird creatures along the way. It was creepy, and didn’t make a lot of sense, but the seed was planted.
Music is one thing I use to get me into the zone. My partner had given me the initial idea for Zombie, the first short story in Weltanschauung, but I just couldn’t find the way to write it. After a few frustrated attempts, I’d decided to step away for a while, when “Zombie” by The Cranberries came on the radio on my commute home. It was perfect. I got home, found the song on Amazon, and the story just flowed.
As Leigh Bardugo once told me, nothing is wasted. Everything is fodder. In Bane, the main character, Rachel, works for a medical supplies company, before hell breaks loose. All the conversations I’ve had with disgruntled or demanding customers informed some of the scenes I wrote in Bane. I try to view every interaction as a lesson, as something that may end up in a story. This outlook particularly helped when I worked crappy waitressing and cleaning jobs a few years ago!
Although I do need peace, quiet, and endless cups of tea, I don’t have a set ritual when it comes to writing. Usually, an idea hits, and I rip my laptop open, and just start writing. That’s not to say that what I write is any good, but it’s a start.”