Writing Process

Setting Up a Writing Space That Works for You

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Often, I find the fast pace of the modern world overwhelming. While I love many of the conveniences contemporary technology offers, such as connecting with friends living on the other side of the country, I can also feel distracted by the constant sounds emanating from the television, the vibrations buzzing through my phone, or the flashing notification tabs at the top of my internet browser.

While I usually consider myself a fairly decent multi-tasker, writing is one task that I find I have to focus on one hundred percent in order to make any progress on it. I cannot write while I am watching Netflix, nor can I type while carrying a conversation with my boyfriend.

For me, focusing on writing one hundred percent means retreating to my writing desk in the spare bedroom and basically isolating myself from others until I am able to finish my writing task for the day. No t.v., no texting, no mindless internet browsing.

I have set up a corner of the spare bedroom to be my writing “getaway.” This space is an area where I can do my writing, uninterrupted. Alex is respectful of my space and intuitively knows this is my sacred time. Our two cats and dog are less intuitive and like to follow me in here, but still they seem to know this is the “quiet” room. As I type this post, our dog Queso is laying asleep on the floor beside me, one of the rare times that he isn’t actively trying to sit in my lap despite weighing over 50 pounds.

Having an area dedicated to writing has helped me tremendously. If you have been following this blog, you may know I moved in with Alex last October and have been learning to balance living with a partner for the first time, working a full-time job, and trying to fit in as much writing as possible into my already busy life.

If you haven’t already, I suggest setting up your own writing space at your home. If you are unsure where to start, or your space isn’t working quite right for you, you can try some of these suggestions:

Choose a desk that is functional for you

I found the desk I am currently typing on for about 20 dollars at a Goodwill when I lived in Asheville. It is not too large nor too small – the perfect size to fit in the corner of the bedroom. There are no fancy drawers or built in shelves. I hate dust and clutter, and this desk was ideal for me because of its simple and sleek design which makes cleaning it easy.

Keep unnecessary objects to a minimum

Unless you are someone that absolutely thrives in a chaotic environment, I suggest keeping only the bare essentials on your desk. I have a desk lamp, a jar of writing utensils (pens, highlighters, colored pencils) and few other objects on my desk. I find that the more things I have out, the more I get distracted. I also enjoy returning my desk when I know it is clean and orderly. Starting a writing session of with a clear desk helps me feel more relaxed and focused.

Set up your writing spot near a window

If possible, try to set up your spot near a window. I find that the sunlight helps me feel less “trapped” inside the house while also letting me see a bit of outdoors without getting to off-track. The lighting also helps me to feel more awake and energetic so that I don’t get too sleepy as I am sitting.

Have your writing tools close at hand

I have a bulletin board calendar propped up on the window pane beside me. This calendar has only my writing related tasks displayed on it so that anytime I am in my writing chair, I can look to my right and see this month’s deadlines and other important dates set out in chronological order.

I also keep my beloved planner with me while I am writing. Putting things down into my planner helps me organize my writing tasks day by day so that I don’t feel unnecessarily stressed by the amount of work I need to do.

Let others know about your space

Don’t be shy to tell others that you need your space. We all do from time to time. Giving roommates, partners, spouses, etc. a heads up before time will save you a headache in the long run. I have found that one hour of alone time at my writing desk will be much more productive than three hours of interrupted writing time while I am trying to socialize at the same time, in other parts of the house.

You can always close the door to your room, or, if your space isn’t in a separate room, put some headphones in. When I am in coffee shops and don’t want to get into conversations, I have even put in headphones without turning on any music (I usually find music distracting while writing). This trick works every time for me, and people around me seem to take the hint. I am not as anti-social as this makes me sound, but again, sometimes I just need a little quiet time.

Be willing to adjust your space as needed

Don’t feel confined to your initial set up. Keep your mind open for new arrangements, new writing tools. Just a few weeks ago, I moved my desk on the opposite side of the room because I wanted to get more sunlight while I worked. I am also now closer to the outlets so I can charge my laptop easier.

I have found that making this space as comfortable as possible will make me more likely to want to come in and write. My space is still a work in progress, and I hope to put up some soft-glow lights for the wall or some plants.

I hope these tips have been helpful for you! Do you have more suggestions for setting up a comfortable yet productive writing space? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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