Martini Writing – G B Williams

Gail Williams talks about the place where she writes, which, it turns out, gives her very wide scope.

People often ask writers when and where they write. Roald Dhal and Dylan Thomas both famously had their very different sheds. Truman Capote liked to lie down to write, while Barbara Cartland ‘lounged’ to dictate, and Maya Angelou liked to rent a hotel room to go write in. But for me it’s:

Anytime. Anyplace. Anywhere.

And in case you’re wondering, or are too young to remember, that without the usual spaces between words, is a tag line from the 1980s adverts for the drink Martini. You see, when it comes to writing, I am very much a Martini girl. I will write whenever, wherever. Though unlike Bond I don’t like it shaken or stirred, frankly I just don’t like Martini, but there you are. You know it’s only just this moment struck me that that’s a really bad line, any place is the same as anywhere. Hadn’t noticed that before. Which I suppose actually means that it’s a very good line because I accepted it regardless.

When it comes to writing I really will write anywhere. In the past I have been known to write a couple of lines in the office while running through computer programs – yes, I’m so boring I used to design databases for a living. I particularly enjoy writing while curled up on the sofa. I’ve written in the passenger seat of cars, on trains, in waiting rooms. I’ve written in pubs, restaurants, libraries, even once in a Waterstones because I could. In fact, I’ll write anywhere where it was possible to stop and think and write. I’ve even jotted notes with an eyeliner on a napkin during one evening out.

I do have a desk at home, though as you can see from the pictures, I also have company that is not terribly impressed with me or what I write.

Her name is Pearly and she’s a harsh critic, as you can tell from the expression. Like most cats she assumes all humans were created to serve her and nothing/no one else.

One of the really nice things about writing anywhere is it suits the fact that my hubby and I like to go campervanning. There’s nothing better than a home away from home. This also suits our lifestyles as he loves to do daft things like Sup Bike Run sporting events, and I don’t. I mean I do support him and take photos and stuff, but mostly I let him go off and play while I stay in the van and write. So, I have days like this:

The first picture is me set up to write in Shrewsbury, the second, the silhouette, was in Bath, and the third was a glass of wine in Crickhowell.

Similarly, I’m not wedded to any particular medium for writing either. Most of the time, now I’m full-time writing, I type directly into the computer or a tablet. But if out, I might type into my phone for later email to self or do speech to text. Though I admit with this is can be awkward, even in days of earphones people can look at you like you’ve lost your mind when you’re talking to yourself. Also, none of the speech to text systems work great, but some are okay. There’s also a strong possibility that I might actually get out a notebook and pen and write longhand. I do love a nice notebook. I kind of like writing long hand too, there’s something very relaxing about it. It definitely slows the writing process, so you have more time to think. Only something you then forget what you were going to write because it takes so long to get there, but there again, half the fun of writing is making stuff up so it kind of increases the joy.

I don’t have a routine either. I kind of wish I did. The thing is, I live in a household of shift workers, so I have to be flexible around their timetables. Their often clashing timetables. I also work with a lot of Americans, so different time zones, which means Zoom calls at odd hours of the day, though I do try to avoid the odd hours of the night.

The other thing is that I will take inspiration anywhere. Only last Saturday I was at a book fair and got chatting with another author on the table behind me, and he mentioned an incident that instantly sparked an idea for a new short story. So, yes, I did find some paper and a pen, and I started writing, only got about 500 words done because obviously I was at a book fair and talking to customers, did a talk and sold some books. The point however is that between it all I did write in an odd place, with a new idea, in whatever free moments I had. I have since mapped out the short story, and when I have time, I will write it (hopefully after I’ve finished writing this blog!).

While I see the benefits of a routine and a ‘place to write’, it simply doesn’t work for the way that the rest of my life is. This isn’t because I don’t prioritise my writing, if anything it’s the absolute opposite. Writing is so important to me that I will elbow it into my life whenever and wherever I can. I have to write. Simple as. Have to. Three days of not writing and my brain itches. So, I write, and I’ll do it any time, any place, anywhere.


For Elaine Blake, marriage was never a word, it was a sentence. For 25 years, they had all been lying to her.
Now the liar in chief, her husband Jason, is reported dead. Information he was supposed to hand to his spy bosses is missing.
Then, a phone call – a foster son in serious trouble. And news that her husband may not be dead after all. Jason doesn’t matter, but Elaine will do anything to save her son.
Even if she has to race to Paris, dodge assassins and hunt for evidence the best of spies can’t find.

Find Breaking Free here

Find Gail on Twitter: @GailBWilliams
Instagram: @gbwilliamsauthor
Blog: GB Williams Crime Blog

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