You maybe lucky enough that you have a room within your home specifically for the endeavour of writing. Or, perhaps you are able to squeeze some use out of a shared study or office. Either way, you will want to make sure that the the area is well suited for those all-important creative endeavours. And believe me, they ARE important!
Your writing space needs to be not only inspiring but a practical place to create too. So, having had quite a few 'diverse' writing spaces myself over the years, I thought we could look at a few tips to help you make the very best of it.
Let there be light
Luckily, as writers, we don't need a lot of complex equipment to get our job done. However, visibility is very high on that shortlist. Do what you can to maximise natural light within the space, from effectively positioning your writing seat and desk to catch that light, or using mirrors and lighter colours to help it better bounce around the room. Good task lighting for your writing desk is vital, too. You don’t want eyestrain to interrupt you and ruin your progress because you’ve been staring at a glowing screen in a bright corner for hours on end. Add contrasting light around it to soften that screen and not test your eyes quite as much. I have learned this the hard way!
Splash out on a decent chair
You might think, like the Bohemian raconteur that you are, you could sit on a rock and churn out quality writing, with no problem. While that burning itch to write might be within you, don’t underestimate how easy it is to lose it to back pain. Get yourself a real chair, an ergonomic chair that will support your back, your head, and your arms. Sitting down and writing for hours can put a strain on your body, there’s no need to make it worse. Of course, you should get up, walk around, and stretch when you can but, when you forget, you should at least make sure that your chair is doing work to mitigate the stress on your joints.
Get a good desk and organise it well
You need a desk to put your laptop, monitor, keyboard, or typewriter on. However, you should consider how else you can use that space and how much you might need. If you take a lot of handwritten notes, then you might want a little stationery bin. If you collect a lot of inspiration, then you may want a corkboard either on or immediately next to the desk so that you can keep track of everything. If you’re a little superstitious and you feel like your favourite pen or some other creative totem is vital to your work, then make sure that you have the space to keep it nearby. I use posters when plotting my novels so need lots of wall space where I can pin up rolls of paper!
Make it look like a workspace, not like a home
There’s a certain cosiness about the idea of working at home, but you may quickly find that, as it becomes a routine, the lines can blur between where you live and where you work, and that’s rarely good. As such, it’s a good idea to go with a style in your writing room that’s a little different from your home. If not strictly professional, at least a good contrast from the rest of the home. Bar table legs for your workspace, brick wall cladding to give it that industrial look, and task lighting are all examples of ways you can give the space a bit more of a workspace vibe. Of course, you don’t want to go too far and recreate the office, either!
Create a relaxing space to read (or meditate)
Your writing room can also double as a reading room and, as such, creating a lovely reading nook can give you the right place to sit down and do the reading that is necessary as a writer. If you don’t read, then not only is your pool of ideas going to remain more limited, but so too will your writing style. A reading nook can be a great place for practising mindfulness and meditation, as well. Taking a moment away from the stress of trying to put words on a page to have a mental reset can be greatly beneficial for those facing writer’s block, for instance (another one I've learned from experience!).
Get a plant in there
You don’t want to have to deal with more distractions than necessary. Sure, it may not always be possible to keep your family from coming and interrupting you at your work but, when you’re able to find those moments of solitude, you want to ensure that they don’t end up feeling too lonely. One way to do that is to put a good houseplant with you in there. Houseplants have proven benefits towards relaxation and mood, and a lot of people attest that they help them feel more creative, as well. Plus, the little ritual of taking care of the plant while you’re in there can help you settle into a complete work schedule a little more easily.
Surround yourself with inspiring visuals
What inspires you? Can you distil it into something visual or physical that you can turn to? Whether it’s a landscape, a particularly evocative painting, or fantastical scenes for those sci-fi and fantasy writers, keeping inspiring imagery on hand can be great for setting the mind ablaze with ideas. Some people get ideas from a single photo or image, and having that framed and nearby can help you keep your writing as true to the original idea that spawned it, or rather, your interpretation of that idea. A digital photo frame is a great one, too, because you can have it scroll through a wide range of inspiring images and media to keep you feeling creative and energized.
Be mindful of noise levels
Sound and noise are factors that can be much more important to your writing space than you might think. For one, you want to make sure that exterior noise doesn’t penetrate too much, so doing a little to soundproof the room, even if it’s just using a draft excluder or a white noise machine may be able to help you concentrate a lot more effectively on your writing. However, if you like to listen to music or podcasts as you write, then you want to make sure that your noise doesn’t disturb the rest of the home, as well. If you want to do both at the same time, then fitting some acoustic tiles to the walls or the ceiling can do a lot of good.
Keep it clean and clutter-free
Your idea of a writer’s room might be a place with notes strewn everywhere, and inspiring little trinkets kept in every corner. Indeed, you might have plenty of notes and, indeed, there’s nothing wrong with having a creative totem or two to fidget with as you ponder, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be messy. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Clutter is not only bad to look at and bad for the air quality thanks to the dust that it attracts, but it also increases feelings of stress, which most writers can admit can short-circuit the creative parts of your brain quite effectively. Take the time to clean your writing space on a more regular basis, and ensure that everything has its place. I give my desk a good tidy every Monday morning and that always sets me up for the week ahead!
Of course, the kind of creative space that suits you the most is down to you, in the end. The suggestions above give you some ideas but trust your gut and go with the things that feel the most inspiring, the most useful, and the best for you. Can't wait to see what you come up with!
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