One of the things that often gets overlooked when thinking about writing for a living is actually having a good place to write. Yes, I know that, particularly with modern technology, you can write almost anywhere. I’ve certainly done my fair share of finishing off chapters in coffee shops, scribbling down character notes in the medical surgery waiting room and – more than once – texting myself plot twists in the middle of the weekly shop.
But it can’t be denied that having a nice, comfortable place to write is only going to help you when creating a good writing habit. If you’re trying to write somewhere noisy, cramped or otherwise uncomfortable, writing is only going to be more difficult – and it’s hard enough as it is! Besides, half the battle with writing is actually having the discipline to get your backside in the chair and fingers to keyboard in the first place, and if you have a great writing space, then that’s half the battle won. So read on for some tips about how to create the perfect writing space, no matter where you live.
YOUR PERFECT WRITING SPACE
As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post on creating a writing mindset, having a specific place to write can be very helpful in training your mind to know that when you sit down in the place you’ve designated to write, then that’s where you, well, write. But it’s equally as important to make sure that your designated writing space is a welcoming and comfortable space, otherwise you won’t want to spend any time in it!
Make sure you have enough space to sit comfortably and type or write, however you get the words down. A suitable chair is a must – something ergonomically designed to be supportive to your body when sitting for long periods is great. I know some writers who swear by using posture balls as chairs although I haven’t used one myself (a little look on Amazon shows me you can actually buy a hybrid chair/posture ball – who knew?)
Make sure the temperature is right – too hot and you’ll fall asleep, too cold and your fingers will be too stiff to type. In my younger days, when I was considerably poorer than I am now and couldn’t afford to have the heating on much, I actually used to type in fingerless gloves with a hot water bottle on my lap. Oh, those were the days (not).
It’s good to have some natural light but sun glare on your computer screen won’t help at all so you may need to shift your position to find the optimum placement for your writing space. Currently I write sitting at the end of the dining room table and facing a magnificent view. Every so often, I consider making the boys share a bedroom and using the leftover room as a proper office but then a) they’d probably take hours to go to sleep at night, knowing the naughty scamps and b) I’d miss out on my lovely view!
GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS
First things first, log into all your social media accounts and turn off your notifications. You know, the annoying ones that pop up on your screen every few minutes telling you that your mate Sandra is currently eating a burger at McDonalds or that some random bot has followed you on Twitter. You know, all those things you can’t possibly live another minute without knowing. Turn ‘em off! Even when you’re not writing, you’ll benefit from not having your train of thought derailed every two minutes.
You can also get apps that block the internet from your computer for a set time entirely, such as Freedom. Useful if you don’t want to be pulled down the Google rabbit hole!
Do you work best in silence or with some background noise? I’m one for quiet, myself but I know others can’t get a word down without some sort of background hubbub or even (perish the thought!) loud music. You can download rainstorms and even coffee shop noise apps if you need a quiet hum in the background and these white noise apps are also great if you live in a noisy area.
Decent writing equipment can also help. I know you don’t need a computer to write but if you do use one, one that runs efficiently is only going to help you. I use a laptop but with a plug in keyboard and a wireless mouse as I can’t stand typing on the weeny laptop keyboard and having a spaghetti-tangle of wires on my desk drives me insane.
MAKE YOUR WRITING SPACE AN INSPIRING ONE
The practicalities of creating a perfect writing space are all very well but you also want to make your writing space a welcoming and inspiring place to be as well. I would always recommend you have a plant or two – they are great oxygenators and humidifiers, they look nice and many studies have shown that the presence of plants in an office space (or anywhere, really) has measurable effects on reducing stress. Spider plants and succulents are particularly low maintenance – with the latter, you barely even have to water them.
I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful view to inspire me but if you don’t, you can create your own little oasis of inspiration with pictures, photographs or go the whole hog with a vision board. Why not have a vision board of your dream life right by your desk, so you can look at it every time you write? It could do great things for you subconsciously as well as being a constant and visual reminder as to why you want to get those words down. If you want to go really ‘woo’, get some crystals – amethyst is supposed to be good for creativity and citrine is linked with financial abundance. It can’t hurt, can it?
I hope this blog post has given you some ideas as to how to best create your perfect writing space. I’m always keen to see pictures of inspiring home offices or writing spaces so don’t be shy – show me a pic in the comments below.