Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

At the Desk: Sara Taylor

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Sara Taylor

Sara Taylor's Boring Girls (ECW Press) is anything but. The titular girls are the opposite of boring — Rachel and Fern are outcasts until they find each other, form a metal band and decide to upend the misogynistic world that's brought them down. Violence, friendship, music and coming of age blend together for a dark, funny, bloody journey that skips sugar and spice and goes straight for the throat.

Sara knows what she's talking about when it comes to writing musicians — with her band, The Birthday Massacre, she's played venues around the world. We're thrilled to have her on the site today as part of our At The Desk series, in which writers pull back the curtain on their workspaces and give us a peek into their writing processes.

We get to see her super comfy work space and Sara tells us about learning to write anywhere, how hand-knit blankets can be inspiring and living (and dying) by the laptop battery.

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I have spent the better part of my adult life on tour with my band and living in Toronto. I've moved to different apartments many times, all of them really small. It's been a rare occasion that I've had a living space that has had closets, let alone a nook or room that I could use as a dedicated workspace.

As such, when I write or work on art, I tend to use what I have. I spend a lot of the time in my bed, working on my laptop. I've made my bed a really nice, comfortable space. I love pillows, and rather than using one big comforter, I tend to have layers of blankets that I knitted or crocheted myself. I find it inspiring to wrap up in those blankets, those hours of work, and focus on new projects. They say you're not supposed to have computers in your bedroom and should keep it solely as a place of rest, but for me, my bed has always been an extremely productive place to focus and get work done.

I've also used any outdoor space that I have available. I've spent hours sitting on front porches drinking tea and writing. I tend to write in bursts, then sit and zone out for ten minutes or so. Outside is a good place for me to spend those ten minutes resetting my brain, looking at the sky or watching cars drive by. I'm very productive outside — at least until the laptop battery dies.

It can be difficult when you're living with roommates to find any sort of time or space to yourself. I live alone now, and focusing is easier, but I still find myself drawn to working in my bedroom or sitting on the front porch.

I have tried to sit at a desk and set up what I suppose would be a “proper” writing area, but I find that too rigid and end up feeling stressed out. I set myself writing goals for a day, and the more relaxed I am — the less pressure I feel — the more likely I am to achieve those goals.

My apartment is filled with things I find inspiring. I'm a bit of a collector. I have Halloween candles and snow globes on my tables, vintage kitschy paintings on my walls, my tour laminates hanging up, and hundreds of books. When you move as often as I have, those books are a real pain to pack and drag around, but I can't ever let go of books. I'm always telling myself to downsize, but I just can't do it.

I have motivation issues, and I am a very untidy person, so it's easy for me to just want to take a nap, go for a coffee, finally reorganize my clothes, or clean my house. I'll look for distractions instead of being able to focus on writing sometimes, especially when my house is a mess. And again, that's probably why I usually end up in bed working. My bed is cozy, and it isn't filled with dirty dishes. Usually.

Sara Taylor


Sara Taylor sings and writes songs for the Billboard-charting band The Birthday Massacre. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her Shetland sheepdog.

Check out all the At the Desk interviews in our archives.

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