My living situation recently changed and a room opened up for me to use. Right away, I knew what I was going to do with it. I was going to make a dedicated space to do my writing…. Well, a few solid weeks passed and the room sat empty. I had a lot of ideas on how to set it up, but I haven’t done anything yet. What I needed was to do some brainstorming before I got to work. I needed to approach this project just like a writing project. I needed some kind of outline or guidelines to drive the progress. Here are some things I think are important:
Keep it Neat & Tidy
This will look different for everyone, but in general too much visual clutter or a shuffled stack of papers can distract you from your writing. Use the tools that work for you. The fancy desktop organizers and expensive office supplies will do no good if they don’t ever get used. I have the box of office supplies gathering dust to prove my point.
If something doesn’t work, is broken, or doesn’t fuel you, get rid of it! Ask yourself a few questions if you’re unsure what needs to go. Does it inspire you? Does improve your focus? Does it keep your space functioning smoothly? If the answer to any of these questions is no, the item in question does not belong in your writing space!
Light it Up!
In basic scientific terms, light is energy. The best light for your writing space is the natural light from a window. Unless you’re ready to saw holes in your wall, you’re pretty much stuck with the windows you have. I am fortunate to have a window in the room I’m setting my creative space up in. However, the window looks out at the house next to mine. It wouldn’t be so bad, but the house is six feet away from mine. It’s less than inspiring and all I can see.
There are other strategies you can use to make your light work for you. Overhead lights, particularly fluorescents can kill the mood, so to speak. Opt instead for using lamps and soft, diffuse light sources. Candles can offer an ambient glow (and can do double duty if you choose a focusing, energizing scent). Another option that may help energize you is a full spectrum light, which simulates natural daylight.
Make it Personal
This is your space. Make it yours. Fill the shelves with your favorite books. Your favorite authors were once like you, trying to find the time and space to write. Their books are proof that success can be achieved. Along the same line, surround yourself with quotes and art that inspires you. Hang something motivational where you can see it when you’re writing. Fresh flowers or potted plants bring the outside in and energize the space.
Have your favorite tools at hand. Sure, you could write with that crummy ballpoint you accidentally stole from the checkout counter, but why would you want to? Stock up on your favorite pens or pencils. Have a big stack of paper or your writing journal nearby. Write on your computer or laptop, but don’t let it become a distraction.
Keep your space clean and make it yours, but don’t make it into a lounge. If you’re anything like me, the last thing you need is another place to relax and watch Netflix. There’s a reason I don’t get anything written in my living room. As soon as I sit on my couch, I am in chill mode. Your writing space should get you ready to write from the moment you walk in. To put myself in work mode, I had knew I would need a few things. The room I have to use is small, so the desk and shelves had to be custom made.
Luckily, I know a guy and that guy happens to be my dad. With a few coats of paint on some old chairs alongside my new custom set-up, I am well on my way to a usable and inspiring work space. Check out these photos of my project, and use the comments section on Facebook to let me know what is essential in your work space!
Meet the blogger:
COURTNEY BALDRIGE is a poet and recent graduate of Hamline University. In addition to her passion for writing and the written word, Courtney also enjoys her work with elementary students and volunteering at a cat shelter.