Mon 18 November 2019
In the Media
Publishing
Digital Reading
Young Writers in the News
Reports
Books & Reading
Goings On
You are here: Home > Young Writers' Hub > Blog > The advantages of writing in bed
The advantages of writing in bed
Writers like Orwell, Proust and Churchill liked doing it. Could it have been because writing in bed can help access the unconscious?

In one of the interviews to promote her new book, Untold Story, about the alternative life of Princess Diana, Monica Ali revealed that she preferred to write in bed. This puts her in some interesting company: Edith Wharton, Winston Churchill, Colette, and Mark Twain all wrote in bed.

To say you write in bed is partly to say that you are treating the activity with a certain airy nonchalance. I know, for instance, that among contemporary British writers A.N. Wilson, who cultivates a delightful detachment, likes writing in bed. There must be others, especially in the age of the laptop.

It was not always so easy. The dying George Orwell used to prop his typewriter up in bed, and hammer away at the final draft of 1984. I once spoke to the doctor who treated him in Glasgow. All he could remember was the sound of typing and the fog of cigarette smoke in Orwell's bedroom.

Writing in bed is not just about convenience or comfort. I think there's a psychological advantage, too. If you write in bed in the early morning (as I do occasionally) you occupy an intriguing part of consciousness, somewhere between dreaming and wakefulness. Part of you is still in the shadowy cave of dream world; part of you is adjusting to the sharp brightness of reality. The mixture is fruitful and often suggestive.

Marcel Proust, famously, always wrote in bed, and perhaps the sinuous, haunting paragraphs of A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu bear the mark of that silent twilight zone. Not only did he write in bed; his room was lined with cork, to promote tranquillity.

For some writers, those who like working in restaurants, for example, or on buses, this would be a kind of torture. Personally, I find both reading and writing in bed both stimulating and restful, a good combination.

Another blogger, Liz Squires, wrote to me: "Reading is an intimate activity, a dialogue between the author and the reader. It is a real relationship. So it is an activity well suited to the privacy and intimacy of the bed. Isn't this where we all prefer to have our intimate conversations? Why should this be different? And then, of course, bed is a comforting place, so it makes an ideal setting for reading something challenging, terrifying, turbulent. Beds and books are such perfect companions.  And there's another thing: in our busy lives the only time we have to ourselves is that hour or so in bed before we fall asleep. We never stop the clock to read during the day – unless we are on a train or plane perhaps. Bed is the one place where we permit ourselves the luxury of losing ourselves in a book, and where others allow us to read without passive-aggressively suggesting we should be doing something more useful."

For the full article

The Guardian

Comments & Opinion

To add a comment about this news story please click the link below. Please note all comments are moderated before appearing.

Add Comment
Comment History
We currently have no comments for this Blog.