Shape your Space

As a writer, I prize a good workspace. If I am to write, and I mean really write, I need to find a spot away from distractions. This isn’t to say that I don’t sometimes do my best thinking in crowded subway cars, diners, or walking home at the end of the night, but to produce pages and pages I usually need to be physically primed. Thus, I bring you to: Steps to Create the Ideal Writing Environment.

1. Remove distractions. An easy one. Get away from friends. Distance yourself from house parties. Turn off the television. Exit Internet Explorer. (Some people even write by hand or typewriter to avoid potential internet distractions.) Stop texting your bff. Make this your priority. And make sure it is a workspace that you won’t have to share with another.

2. Clean yo’ space! I usually do this more to procrastinate than to be effective, but getting all of the unnecessary paperwork and to-do lists out of the way can help you focus and really sink in.

3. Supply yourself. Get your good pen, a clean pad, and any other implements that help you edit your drafts. (See post about school supplies for hot tips!) Keep tissues and snacks nearby. Make it easy to stay put.

4. Hydrate.

5. Make sure you are comfortable. If this requires a pillow, a seat adjustment, a blanket, and comfortable clothes, so be it! I do my best writing in sweatpants. Duh.

6. Add touches of motivation. If you are working in the library, it might be awkward to bring your family photos and your crystal collection, but if you are working in a personal space consistently then go ahead and spruce her up! Add artwork, favorite books, printed poems, a plant, your best pens, your found objects, magazines, saved letters. Play music if it helps you think. Make the space feel personal, feel creative, and then you will feel like being there.

7. How’s the view? Working near a window, or in a place with adequate light, is very important. Though my office is in the basement, which sometimes keeps me from longing to play outside, I do find it incredibly grounding and inspiring to write near a window. Seeing the world around you is imperative. It is also good for your skin, your mind, your eyes. Also, turn up the lights.  

8. Get some reference books! I recognize that everything is available on the internet, but I always keep reference books at my side; it helps me from straying on the world wide web to less effective pursuits, and it also often allows me to peruse information that will enhance my work. I keep a dictionary, a thesaurus, and a copy of EasyWriter, for all my never-ending grammar questions.

Perhaps it is indulgent to think that you need a special space to write, but a stocked workspace simply allows you to work long hours, and it helps you get into the habit of writing on a daily basis. If commitment requires a little indulgence, then go ahead and carve out a space for yourself.  

Check out some of these writers’ workspaces for extra inspiration:


1 comment for “Shape your Space

  1. Kate
    May 9, 2011 at 9:30 am

    What a brilliant post. Such dynamic pictures. I love all of your ideas. You must be some sort of genius.

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