Will Come the Words: Michelle Berry’s creative space

Read the series intro to Will Come the Words: Writers & their creative spaces here.


MICHELLE BERRY lives and writes in Peterborough, Canada.

What I like about my space:

What’s not to like? I rent an office in a busted-up old building above a bunch of great bars and restaurants and hairdressers on Water Street in downtown Peterborough, Ontario. My office is on the third floor and smells like fresh paint and mould from years of neglect and tenants. It’s bright and cheery and my windows swell in the heat and won’t open. I look out on the backs of all the stores, fire escapes, a tree that looks like it was hit by lightning (and a squirrel just tried to come in my window) — it’s an exciting place.

Every day at 11 a.m. the restaurants start belching out their smells, and my stomach growls. I like my one painted blue wall that the landlord obviously thought was stylish. I like the transoms over the doors. I like my artist sink (painted and splattered by the previous tenant so it looks a bit like a Jackson Pollock painting). Mostly, I like that I’m downtown, away from my house and my chores, and my sad dog who wants to be walked. I feel real here.

What I write:

I write novels and short stories and answer interview questions and write short blogs for others. I write freelance articles and book reviews and comments on my students’ works. I write Facebook status updates and e-mails to my mom and dad and everyone else I can think of. Mostly I write my novel, a new one.


My favourite writing quote:

That’s a hard one as every day a new quote appeals to me. When I was struggling to start a new novel I loved this one by Michael Chabon from The Wonder Boys“I saw that I could write ten thousand more pages of shimmering prose and still be nothing but a blind minotaur stumbling along broken ground, an unsuccessful, overweight ex-wonder boy with a pot habit and a dead dog in the trunk of my car” (p. 275).

Now that a new teaching term has begun, my favourite quote is: “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” ~ W. Somerset Maugham
My creative spaces online:

Michelle Berry: Turnstone Press

11 Writing Tips from Michelle Berry (on Allyson’s website)

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And check out other contributors to this series:

Christy Ann Conlin’s creative space


  1. Mary says:

    Having met the very positive Michelle Berry at 2012 Turquoise Waters Writing Retreat facilitated by Allyson, I think the writing space suits her perfectly.

    • Michelle says:

      Mary, hello! Yes, you are right, the space is cheery and positive. And I have just had the heat turned on, after a week of freezing, so it’s now warm too! Michelle

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