I’m often asked the question: where do you write? I find this perplexing because I write pretty much anywhere. There are spaces in which I prefer to write (my office) and places where I get a lot of work done (Starbucks). But I think important for a writer to develop a writing space dedicated to the craft. And as this is the time of year for spring cleaning, I thought a post on setting up one’s writing space was terribly appropriate.
Every writer has a different style of writing and this lends itself to the establishment of the writing space. In his book, On Writing, Stephen King describes his need for very loud music when he is writing. (He also mentions not putting one’s desk in the middle of the room.) Loud music mean he probably doesn’t set up camp in his local library. Some writers need natural light. Some people need to ensure that they are aligned properly. I recently saw on Facebook that Julia Quinn was getting a treadmill desk.
Recently, a colleague sent me this photo after struggling for hours to get into the zone. Sometimes it takes standing up to get the blood flowing. That’s perfectly acceptable.
Last spring, I went over my entire office and set up a very inspiring space. My office is filled with the things that make me happy: all of my Disney regalia, my Audrey Hepburn barbie doll, and my two Mr. Potato Heads in attire corresponding with my present mood. Today they are a pirate and Janine from Ghostbusters.
But when you are setting up your own writing space, here are my tips on creating a productive work space:
- Comfort: Think outside the box here. Figure out how you work best in the most comfortable position. Don’t be afraid to stand up like my colleague in the photo above. Need an ergonomic keyboard? Don’t be afraid to check them out.
- What are you looking at: Visual cues are very important when writing. Make sure your line of sight is reflecting off of something that will make you productive and not distract you. (Don’t write near the overflowing hamper!)
- Sound: Do you prefer quiet or do you prefer loud? Some people need audible stimulation to get the juices running. Make sure you have access to a quality sound system in your writing space. Need it to be quiet? Don’t set up shop in the main traffic area of your house.
- Inspire: Be sure to surround yourself with the things that make you happy. No matter how silly they are. You’ll be surprised to find that they actually help you go.
- Take a break: Don’t ever be afraid to take a break. Just walk away. The story is not going anywhere without you. Put a dedicated rest spot in your writing space. For me, it’s my grandmother’s rocking chair, a fuzzy blanket, and a giant stuffed lion. Relax for a just a minute. It will help get you back on track.