Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guest Blog: 120Socks

I have another wonderful friend visiting from Ireland. Louise Phillips—you may know her better as 120socks—has recently finished her first novel, blogs about everything from romantic poetry to red stilettos and is one of the greatest Twitter friends I’ve made so far.

So grab your coffee because you’re about to be transported to her home in Ireland as she shares her writing rituals with us. You may want to bring a sweater, too; I hear it’s chilly there.

When Krystal asked me to do a guest blog post, I put my mind to work coming up with lots of ideas. One of them was imagining being 20ft tall and describing the world from this viewpoint, the next was a sort of ‘Dear John’ letter, only this time written to me from a favourite piece of furniture, in my case, the Queen Anne chair in our living room. I did write a small amount on both of these angles, but finally settled for something very different altogether.

One of the reasons why I love visiting Krystal Wade’s blog is the way I get to experience a different place, culture, a window if you like into another world. So this got me thinking about my world, and to be specific the place where I do most of my writing. I work from home, so I also write at home. We have a designated office where I often do all the business related work, but for the most part I find myself here at our dining room table. Why you might ask, seeing as how we have a designated office? Well I thought about this and here’s what I came up with.

Firstly the dining room is right in the centre of our house, behind where I write is the living room, to my right is the hall, to my left the doors out to the garden, and straight ahead of me, the steps which lead to the upstairs bedrooms, and the old cottage (built around 1780) up to my left, where we have our main kitchen, snug living room and guest bedrooms. I love the fact that it is in the centre of the house, I can see people as they come down the stairs, or others who call to the door, or Benson our dog who usually sleeps outside wherever I write. I guess even though I like to work by myself, I also like to know when people want to enter my world.

The second reason I like working here is because this is the spot where I started my novel, and after a couple of previously failed attempts to complete a manuscript, this is the spot where I actually completed it (currently being edited). I guess I feel a little superstitious about it, as if some kind of writing spell now exists in this area. Despite being an extremely logical and organised person, to the point where I often wonder why I have any friends at all, I am also a little bit superstitious. Perhaps this comes from having a Mother who read tea leaves. You know the kind of thing, fortune telling, although I am not sure how much fortune was involved, but she never seen anything bad, and only ever did it for our family. Anyhow, I guess I still have a part of my brain which tells me even though there is no real logic in thinking that sitting in a particular place will bring you luck, I still do it.

I once read a piece about how a lot of writers have a writing ritual, probably a means by which they can move from real life into the fantasy/fiction world. One writer I know always plays solitaire on the PC before he starts to write. Others have certain times of day which work well for them, others too can’t write without coffee, whilst folk like Victor Hugo, used to give all his clothes to his servants, telling them, to only return them when he had completed his days writing. Another, Orhan Pamuk, used to say goodbye to his wife in the morning like someone going to work, then walk around a few blocks, before coming back as if arriving at an office. No doubt Victor figured being naked, meant he could not leave and therefore had to write, but he wasn’t the first or only writer to write naked, so maybe there is more to it than one might at first think. I can relate totally to Orhan, as what he sought was to trick the brain into believing that he had left one world, the domestic world, and entering a new creative one.

Considering the above, it is easy to understand why creative people are often accused of being a little eccentric, and I don’t mind if you think that of me as well, but this dining room table is my space, my cocoon to which I visit every day and attempt to write. Some days are good, some not so good, but whatever the output, this is where it all begins.

You can find more of Louise by clicking any of the following links:

Blog: 120socks
Facebook: Louise Phillips
Twitter: @120socks

Check out my post at 120Socks:


  1. Thanks Krystal for inviting me to visit! :)

  2. Looks like a little slice of heaven to me Louise. I'd say "lucky you" except for the fact that I know you've worked hard for it.


  3. You're welcome, Louise! Thank you.

  4. You house looks amazing and sounds even better, you are some lady Louise. Now hurry up and finish your book so I can read it!

  5. Anonymous8/24/2011

    What a great glimpse into your world, Louise! Congratulations on starting AND finishing your novel. I wish much success and enjoyment with the rest of the journey - the fun is just beginning!

  6. Some time ago the Ray Bradbury theatre was one of my favorite past times. The opening to each episode began with Mr. Bradbury walking into his “office” and sitting at his desk. As the camera pans around the room showing wall to wall trinkets, book cases full of nic nac’s, boyish items like model air planes and other medieval and science fiction items hanging from the ceiling by strings, shelves arranged with army men, monsters, action figures, chess pieces, and aliens; photos and newspaper clippings littered the walls of the crowded room, Mr. Bradbury’s voice begins to narrate “people ask, ‘where do you get your ideas?’; right here. All this is my Martian landscape, somewhere in this room is an African belt, just beyond perhaps is a small Illinois town where I grew up, and I’m surrounded on every side by my magician’s toy shop. I’ll never starve here, I just look around, find what I need, and begin.”

    I wasn’t very old then; a freshman in high school when this series aired. However, I knew that someday Ray Bradbury’s room would someday be my writing sanctuary. With 41 years’ worth of trinkets, clippings and such saved up to fill the shelves, Mr. Bradbury’s writing method is now my method and his writing space is my own. I’m comfortable there and the writer’s block cannot enter.

    Wonderful post! Thanks for taking me back to my writing roots. ;)


  7. Thanks guys for all ur brilliant comments - especially you Mel, you brought me on a wonderful writing journey! :)


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