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  • Writer's pictureMaggie Davies

My Writing Life

My favourite writing places are coffee shops, and now we are allowed back inside...

A couple of mornings a week, in normal times, I ignore scruffy clothes and climb into a more presentable outfit. Then I check that I have suitable materials (having once settled down to an hour's editing, to find my reading glasses were still at home), and some writing that needs attention. I rarely use a laptop, preferring to either compose directly onto a lined pad or, more frequently, scrawl alterations over a printed page with brightly coloured felt pens. Highlighters also come into play - to mark passages that need revision or internet research on my return home.

The beauty of a coffee shop is that there are no dishwashers to be emptied, no washing machines bleeping at you, and no partners looking hurt at being rebuffed when they want to discuss holidays and you are desperately trying to work out how to murder one of your characters.

You can be distracted by spotting someone you know but, more often than not, can lurk a discreet corner and lose yourself in your current work-in-progress. When it came to writing The Servant, I drafted early chapters in Taste Wells or in Fenwicks Terrace Coffee Shop, both situated in Royal Victoria Place in Tunbridge Wells.

I sometimes I spread my wings. Finch House, in Tonbridge High Street, is most acceptable, and the Porcupine Cafe at Penshurst Place offers not only excellent toasted teacakes, but a vista of dogs sitting on the outside terrace with their owners.

Bribes can be involved: proof read a whole chapter, and I can have a second Americano; compose a whole new page, and maybe a brownie can be indulged in, to celebrate.

Holidays on the Continent may be restricted still, but a journey to eighteenth century England is comfortably within reach and those days of shivering outside - with shaggy lock-down hair blowing in the wind - are over. Hopefully for good.

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