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 Sci-Fi and Fantasy author Simon Kewin.

Learn more about Simon and his books by checking out his website

Welcome, Simon!


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?

Simon kewin

 Simon Kewin, Sci Fi and Fantasy author


Software development pays the bills. I’ve been a programmer and software designer for twenty-odd years. My plan is obviously to write fiction for a living, too …

As to genres, I mostly write fantasy and SF, but also some mainstream. And things that fall between the cracks. If I’m honest I’m wary of genres; they seem too simplistic to me. I like stories that could be fantasy and could be realism, for example, depending on your interpretation of events. But, sure, give me sword and sorcery too. I love that.

Interests? Plenty in theory. A full time job plus a young family plus the writing means I don’t have much spare time. Sound familiar? But I play the electric guitar when I can and we love to go walking in the hills. We’re lucky enough to live in a very beautiful part of the world (the Wye valley in England). We also go to the theatre and art galleries and concerts whenever we get chance. I also love computer games. When I was a boy I would play them for days on end. One day I shall do so again!

Oh, and cricket. I love cricket. Let me know if you want me to explain the rules…

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?


I have a desk in the room I optimistically  call “the study”. Other members of my family might have different names for it. Like “playroom” for example. I can write almost anywhere really and that’s something I’ve become used to doing over the years. All I really need is my laptop or a notebook and some peace and I’m happy. This picture is of my desk in “the study”, where I guess I do most of my writing. Also the view from my window. Sometimes I think it should be more mundane and less distracting (I enclose a couple of pictures). I did a degree in literature a few years back, fitting it in and around the rest of my life. It was invaluable experience at writing to deadlines with limited time and lots of distractions. That’s something I continue to do.


Simon’s workspace

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

My desk is just a desk, nothing special. I have a fantasy of having a writer’s retreat: a little room all of my own with an oak desk and my computer and all my books around me and a door I can shut. Maybe one day. As to arranging things, I can’t work in a mess. It’s impossible for me. I have to have a completely tidy desk before I can start work. I don’t know why. I spend a lot of time tidying my workspace rather than writing in it…

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

I’d say none. Is that odd? Apart from the lack of clutter already mentioned I just need a computer. And a cup of coffee is always good. I listen to music sometimes, once I’m into a piece and it’s flowing. But at the thinking/planning stage I tend to work in silence.


The view from my desk in summer

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

Just the computer…

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

I like my coffee black and strong. Sometimes coke or grapefruit juice. I very rarely drink alcohol because, alas, it gives me a migraine.

 Digital StillCamera

The view from my desk in winter

On Writing

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

I find this almost impossible to answer. At a pinch I might say Ursula K. Le Guin. But, really, where do you start?

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

Like many people, I don’t get that much writing time. I’ve learned over the years not to have time for quirks or rituals (apart from the tidying thing), but just to sit down and write when I can. Because it can be hard to do that, I’ve gotten into the habit of spending other parts of my day thinking about what I’m going to write when I get chance. Running through scenes and ideas in my head. I find this invaluable. When it works, I find I can just sit down and splurge out 1000 words onto the page.


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

Barring holidays and sickness I write every day. At least an hour but the more the better. I set myself daily word count targets and I make sure I stick to them. Distractions are too numerous to mention but I think that’s one of the great things about having limited time to write. If I had the whole day I’d spend half of it on Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest. I basically set aside all distractions and write.


4. Why do you write?

I don’t know. I have to. I guess my question would be, why don’t other people?


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

Just don’t ever give up. Write what you want and need to write. Don’t let the inevitable rejections stop you. They’re not a rejection of you, they’re just one editor’s opinion of one of the stories you wrote. Another editor – even the same editor in a different mood – might have accepted it.


Thanks,Simon, 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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40 Responses to “Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Simon Kewin”

  1. Simon Kewin says:

    Thanks for having me on your blog, Nutschell!

  2. Karen Strong says:

    Loved reading about Simon’s workspace. I SO understand the limited time and balance also having a full-time job in software development. The view from Simon’s workspace is gorgeous in Spring and in Winter.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. mooderino says:

    A good no nonsense approach. i find letting scenes rattle around in my head a good way to prime them for splurging onto the page too.


  4. debs says:

    Wow. That’s a clean workspace. You should see mine. Warhammer figurine (not mine). Endless papers to be dealt with (mine). What an insight into a mind.

  5. DEZMOND says:

    such a nice and clean working space. I also prefer them clean, ,warm and minimalistic, since that inspires creativity.

  6. Hi, Nutschell & Simon,

    I wish that I could have as neat a workspace as Simon, but then, I probably wouldn’t know what to do with myself if all the clutter disappeared.

  7. I love your Wednesday Workspace posts, but they always make me jealous. 😛

    Nice to meet you, Simon. I enjoyed reading your interview.

  8. Suze says:

    ‘I’d say none. Is that odd?’ (No.) ‘Apart from the lack of clutter already mentioned I just need a computer. And a cup of coffee is always good. I listen to music sometimes, once I’m into a piece and it’s flowing. But at the thinking/planning stage I tend to work in silence.’

    I like this a lot. This whole interview gave off a nice, down-to-earth, dedicated vibe. Really enjoyed reading it. Beauty idea, nutschell.

  9. Laura Eno says:

    Nice to meet you, Simon! I prefer cross-genre – both in reading and writing. I see it as thinking outside the box. :)

  10. Cherie Reich says:

    Oh, wow! I love the outdoor pictures, and your writing desk is so clean. I love it. :)

  11. tcavey says:

    Encouraging advice at the end. Thanks!

  12. spacerguy says:

    I love these computer work spaces, just think in the ol’ days writers like Asimov used to hammer out pages of pure awe and wonder on typewriters!

  13. Morgan Shamy says:

    Simon is fascinating–loved this interview and loved reading more about him. And the pictures were magical… it’s clear Simon has talent and knows how to tap into that magic. Great post!

  14. Nice to meet Simon, a minimalist with a great view!

  15. Jemi Fraser says:

    What a lovely view! I’ve learned to do without the rituals as well – there’s no time for that! :)

  16. Nicole says:

    Um, I would like to steal your summer writing space, Simon. :)

  17. I would never get any work done if that was the view out of my window. :)

  18. Very clean desk! Won’t ever reveal mine. It’s organized but cluttered.
    I admire those who really want to do it full time. As much as I’ve enjoyed writing and my published books, I wouldn’t want to do it full time. Too much pressure.

  19. Love your view, summer and winter. I’m so envious of your clean desk I could spit. Nice to meet you.

    Great interview, Nutschell!

  20. Shelly says:

    His summer and winter views are lovely.

    Hugs and chocolate,

    PS I could hardly wait to get home from work and read your blog today.

  21. Julie says:

    I also like Simon’s summer desk, and breathtaking year round views. I wish that he could come here to help us become more organized. Great interview Nutschell!

  22. Wow, what a gorgeous view to have while writing. I love to have a delightful view while writing, but yes, it can certainly be distracting. Great advice at the end of the interview, and I liked his answer to why he writes.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  23. Old Kitty says:

    I love Simon’s summer and winter views from his writing desk! And what a desk!! Where is everything?!?! LOL!! Wonderful!! Now I see why he is such a prolific writer of fantastic and fantastical stories – and am looking forward to his biggie novel out soon? – no clutter, no furry creatures sprawled on keyboard and beautiful scenery! And no alcohol. LOL!

    All the best, Simon!! Take care

  24. Simon Kewin says:

    Thanks for commenting everyone! Glad you liked the view from my desk…

  25. Lydia K says:

    Wow, his window view is so gorgeous! And his desk is so uncluttered. Maybe he’s not human? 😉 Just kidding. Nice to meet you Simon!

  26. Wonderful interview, Simon. :) I emptied a spare bedroom and turned it into my writing space. But like you, my summer writing space is very often outside. Unlike you I have lots of bits and pieces in my “office.” I think it comes from being an elementary school teacher for so long. Again, wonderful interview!

  27. Lexa Cain says:

    I loved the interview with Simon! He sounds like such a down-to-earth guy, someone it would be a pleasure to know. The pictures of his backyard were wonderful! He must get a lot of inspiration back there. :-)

  28. Look at that view! Gorgeous! I need a work space like that…

  29. “A clean desk is the sign of an insane mind” LOL Great insights Nutschel.

  30. Karen Lange says:

    I always enjoy reading about how/where others writers work and write. I find it inspiring! Thanks to both of you for sharing this. :)

    Happy almost weekend!

  31. Simon Kewin says:

    Thanks for all you kind comments everyone! And thanks again to Nutschell for having me…

  32. I really enjoyed this one. Great advice … I often do have all day and I do spend a lot of it on blogging, FB, etc. I think that I will set a goal of one hour per day on writing only. Thanks for the post!

    Kathy M.

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