Do you only blow out candles on your birthday?

I often wonder if it was easier to write many, many years ago. Just imagine it, the clock strikes the seventeenth hour of the day and as the sky around you slowly begins to fade into twilight you down tools and you make your way home. Depending on the era the occasional flickering streetlight might be there to guide you back and then once you’re there, asides from eating, I suppose there must have been little other distractions.

Making the assumption that, at the time, you were educated enough to be able to write to a decent standard – you take a seat at your desk (in front of a roaring fire or candle), fill your pipe with tobacco and what else would you have time for but to write?

I always attach a certain kind of charm to writing by candlelight, I firmly believe in the Danish art of Hygge and I think a simple candle flame really can conjure up the right environment for you to centre yourself and collect your thoughts. So, what could be more perfect than having to use a candle to write with as a necessity rather than just an extra touch?

Of course, I’m being idyllic – I’m sure it would be rather annoying that your only source of illumination could be scuppered at the mere rustle of the wind. Plus, no matter which era you found yourself in times could likely be hard/busy and I’m sure the time to write probably wouldn’t come so easily. Still, it’s a nice thought isn’t it?

I mentioned Hygge earlier – here’s a definition just in case it prickled your curiosity:
Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special.  (

(Look at me using the lazy blogger art of copying definitions)

While in my ‘Sandwiched’ article, I mentioned that you shouldn’t spend too much of your time trying to find the perfect setting and moment to write, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make the odd tweak to your surroundings and your mood.

Start by embracing a bit of ‘Hygge’ and buying yourself a few candles – I was in Copenhagen not so long ago and the Danes absolutely love them. With good reason too. They create the perfect kind of cosy vibe that I find helps me to write – my mind rang with creativity throughout the whole trip.

Whether you write at a desk, or in bed – go out and get yourself some candles. Have them burning away while you write and see if it helps you find some focus – I wonder how many words you could write in the time it takes a standard candle to burn down to its wick?

If you’re interested in finding out some more about Hygge, check out this book – my girlfriend swears by it, and so do many others: Hygge

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