Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Annalisa Crawford, short story writer, and author of Cat and the Dreamer.

You can find Annalisa blogging at Annalisa Crawford – Wake up, eat, write, sleep.

Welcome, Annalisa!


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Annalisa Crawford

I’ve been writing forever – I know that’s a standard response, but it’s completely true. When my friends were playing outside during school holidays, I was writing. My first short stories were fairytale fanfic (because I was about seven), and then at thirteen I wrote a YA novel about a girl who discovered a distant cousin was in a famous boy-band. My adult writing is best described as tragi-romance (I’ve just come up with that but it works well).

In my day-job I’m a gym instructor – working out is also my hobby, so I think I’ve been pretty lucky fitting writing and working out into my life so fully.

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

Sadly I gave up my study a year ago so my kids could have their own rooms. I now switch my time between my settee for first drafts, and my dining table for those serious redrafts and edits. On sunny days, I even manage to work outside, but living in England, that doesn’t happen as much as I’d like.

Annalisa’s long lost desk

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

When I’m working on a WIP, all the relevant stuff is in a file, which I carry around to wherever I’m going to work that day. I have no desk to organize or arrange… but my pile of notebooks is incredibly neat! I love the idea of writing in cafes, but I don’t often go to cafés alone so I never have the chance. Libraries are a great place for leaping over those first-draft blocks.

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

I write with a beautiful fountain pen, and I adore new notebooks – so both of them are essential. And my thesaurus – I can spend ages searching for the right words. I’m really keen on having the right flow and rhythm when I write, so Roget is a great writing partner!

Annalisa, writing

4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I’m going to reminisce about the things that used to be on my desk, which are now packed up in a box in the attic. I had Captain Jack Sparrow, Angel and Spike bobbly heads; a purple fairy wand that a work colleague gave me years ago; two artificial red roses; and a miniature Arc du Triomphe. There was a lot more – it was a big, messy desk – but those are the wonderful things that came to mind first.

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Tea, and lots of it! And it has to be served in my Manchester City mug. If I’m writing in the evening, I find a glass of dry white wine really helps the words to flow.


Annalisa’s ebook

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

Margaret Atwood and Suzannah Dunn’s contemporary novels really inspired me – Atwood for being so versatile, and Dunn for proving to me that novellas and short stories could be sold. The first book of Dunn’s I read was Darker Days Than Usual, which was about 20,000 words. Since then I’ve loved also reading Ali Smith, and Daphne du Maurier’s short stories, but not so much her novels.


2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

I really don’t have a typical writing day. A couple of days a week, I’ll workout in the morning, before sitting down at my computer. I’m really bad at procrastinating (or really good, I suppose…) so I check email, check Facebook and Twitter, re-check my email just in case there’s anything new. I can always find something that sparks my interest!

If I’m writing something new, I have to wait for my muse. Once she strikes, I’ll be scribbling away longhand and ignoring everything else. As long as there’s music playing, I’ll be happy. If I’m on a second or third draft, I’m a bit more disciplined – I will sit at the table and I’ll focus.


3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

If I’m in the middle of something, nothing will stop me writing – I’ll forget to eat, forget to pick my son up from school…

If I’m at the first draft/making stuff up stage, then I’m easily distracted. Hubby gave up full time work a year ago, so sometimes we’ll go out for lunch, usually at a pub because he’s a musician and always searching for new venues – so it’s ‘work’! I’ll take a notebook with me though, so I can write while Hubby chats to the landlord. He’s much more disciplined than me, though, so if his head is in his laptop, I’ll make sure mine is.

At the moment, I have an idea and a possible character. I know where I want the story to go, but something’s not quite right, so I can’t start writing until my thoughts are in order. This is the most frustrating part of my process – I’d love to be a writer who can sit down every day and write something worthwhile. I’m editing a couple of collections at the moment, so I’m not just watching TV and having lunch!


4. Why do you write?

Because I can’t imagine my life if I didn’t. It really is the only thing I ever wanted to do, and the fact I’m doing it makes my head spin. I write because I hope that someone, somewhere reads my words, gets to the end, and says ‘Wow’ – and then the next day, they think about it again, and still say ‘Wow’.

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

I’m a huge fan of writing longhand. I think the actual mechanics of writing with a pen helps to release the creative part of your brain – it brings you closer to the words and the story.

I’m very bad at remembering quotes, and even worse at attributing them to the correct person, so yes there are hundreds of quotes I love, but I can’t remember a single one!


6. Care to share a favorite picture?

Here’s one of me, my dad and my sister.



Thanks, Annalisa, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.





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46 Responses to “Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Annalisa Crawford”

  1. mooderino says:

    Kids! Always making you give up stuff. You know, Harry Potter lived under the stairs.

    As a fellow Englander i can confirm working outside isn’t really feasible. Sometimes I feel drenched just looking out a window.


  2. Kyra Lennon says:

    Great interview! I love Annalisa, so it;s always great to find out more about her! 😀

  3. Talli Roland says:

    Great interview, ladies! I’d love to work outside… sigh. We do need more sun!

  4. Hi Nutschell, thanks for hosting me today. I really enjoyed the interview!

  5. Libby says:

    I am also a lover of new notebooks!

  6. Marta Szemik says:

    Great Answers. It’s nice to always learn something new about you:) For the first time in ages I actually began writing longhand yesterday too and was surprised to see three full pages written by the time the kids finished swimming.

  7. Great interview — I always like reading about what makes other writers “tick”.

  8. Angie F says:

    Oh how I miss my work desk too! I also had to give it up for our kids. Like you I am sure, I could and would spend hours at it. Thankful for dining tables. Great interview. I’m excited to read your book :)

  9. Oh, what a wonderful family picture! I totally want to steal your Angel & Spike bobbleheads LOL.

    Great interview, thank you both for sharing! :)

  10. I like the picture of Annalisa writing. And what a nice picture of her family!

    Wow, longhand. I can’t write as fast as I type, so it would drive me crazy!

  11. I think I wrote outside once, maybe a while ago! LOL good old English weather. Great Q&A sessions thanks. Loved the pics too, Annalisa.

  12. Bobble heads! Sorry they’re packed away now.

  13. Nas says:

    Lovely reading about your process Analisa!

    Thanks for sharing.


  14. Mary says:

    Awesome photo. Sorry you had to give up your desk. You’ll get it back eventually. I loved your book, Cat & the Dreamer.

  15. Lynda Young says:

    We have similar desks, Annalisa. Only yours is so much neater than mine hehehe

  16. unikorna says:

    Annalisa is a magical lady. I get an extremely positive vibe from her, I am one of her admirers :).

  17. Shelly says:

    As always, I love your Wednesdays. And I know you tagged me for the meme. I’ll be posting next Friday on it. I also have to tag some others from another one. I feel like I’m going crazy right now with the formatting of Secondhand Shoes even thought two other peeps are doing it for me…I’ve been proofing. That’s a head-banging expereince. Tomorrow, I deliver the winners to my Something Borrowed Giveaway.


  18. So fun to learn more about you, Annalisa! And I love the picture with your dad. Beautiful!

  19. Karen Lange says:

    It’s so nice to meet Annalisa. Enjoyed this very much, thank you, ladies! :)

  20. I prefer to write longhand, too. I have hundreds of filled notebooks and dozens still waiting.

    My husband doesn’t understand how I could forget to eat, but I do!

  21. Jackie Buxton says:

    Great post Writing Nut and nice interview, Annalisa! I can relate to so much of what you say – the sport, tea and not only the procrastination but also the exact way in which it manifests itself – but I now feel so guilty for having a large study in which to work, even if it does also double as the family dump room. Feel compelled to get back in there and do some writing! I do hope you get your space back soon.

    • Lol – enjoy your study, I don’t feel jealous… not much :-) I’ve tried so hard to get on top of my time wasting, but really I’m still just the kid who left her homework until Monday morning.

  22. Cindy says:

    Great Interview! I also write a lot of longhand and even carry a little notepad with me at all times in my purse.

  23. The dress was classy, so totally ran here for a giggle and got nothing. You’re a good mom to sacrifice your space and I agree…I get some of the best stuff (or at least I think it’s good) long hand.

    • Yeah…. the dress was a bit of a tease, it was a last minute replacement, but I loved wearing it. It was hard to give up my study, especially as I was the one who ended up repainting the room for my son to move into!

  24. Allison says:

    Great interview! I love the items on your old desk, Annalisa :)

  25. Hilary says:

    Hi Annalisa – great to read more of your world .. hadn’t realised you’re a fitness instructor – good for you … your son must be so pleased to have his own room … but you do seem to be ‘fairly’ organised to get on with writing – I love the cover of Cat and the Dreamer – definitely one for the list .. cheers Hilary

  26. tara tyler says:

    exquisite interview!! i love nutscell’s reliable “workspace” questions! love seeing where fwllow writers make the stories happen! and i love pen to paper as well, definitely feel the connection to the words!

    beautiful response to why you write and thanks for sharing that beautiful picture!

  27. Lynne says:

    I came across your blog looking for pictures of writers desk. I wanted to make sure I was not alone with a desk that is a mess.

    You now have a new fan…:-)

    I write in longhand.
    I tried writing fitction, I was not that good at it.
    I write because if I did not, I would go crazy.
    I write about an hour a day; in the mornings for about an hour.
    A lot of my note are on my tablet

    I am a reader, no hidden talents at all. I dabble in home decor,

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