How to Create Your Perfect Writing Space
You’re ready to write the novel that’s been living in your head for months, but first, you need to figure out where you’re going to sit down and write it. Whether you plan to write at home or somewhere else, creating the perfect writing space is important because it helps establish a routine that makes writing a priority in your everyday life. Having the right space to write can also motivate you, setting the mood to keep you focused and inspired to get that novel out of your head and onto the page.
So how do you create that ideal spot? In this post, we’ll share tips to help you create the perfect writing space so that you will soon have that finished manuscript in hand.
Identify a space you can use regularly for writing
First, you need to find a space you can regularly use for writing. Although it’s true you can write in whatever time and space you can find, if you’re trying to build a consistent writing routine, then it helps to have a consistent writing space.
Look around your home. What space do you have that could be freed up for writing? If you have a spare room that is rarely used, this might be an ideal location. Maybe you have a corner of the living room that has potential, or a breakfast nook tucked into the kitchen. Even if your kitchen table is the best option you have at home, that’s fine! You can make it work.
If you can’t find an ideal space at home to claim for a few hours each day, consider writing at a coffee shop or the local library. Most coffee shops welcome writers who use the space to work while they sip their daily latte, and libraries always welcome budding writers! Those reference librarians might even become your new best friend as you write.
Clear your writing space of clutter
Your brain, your mood, and your life are all affected by the space that surrounds you. If your writing space is a cluttered mess, your ability to think and focus on writing will be just as jumbled as your environment. In a chaotic environment, you might feel frustrated and overwhelmed as all those unfinished household tasks surround you, causing you to lose focus and motivation.
For example, if you plan to write from a home office, clear your desk of everything except those things essential to your daily writing routine. Put away that stack of mail in a drawer where those unpaid bills and advertisements aren’t distracting you as you write. Put any books or notebooks not needed for writing on a bookshelf away from your desk. Stow those extra office supplies away in drawers.
After you’ve cleared your writing space of clutter, give those things that are essential to your writing process their own permanent home. Assign a space for your laptop, notebooks, reference books, and writing utensils. Give anything else in your writing space a new home so it isn’t distracting you as you write.
If you’re writing from the coffee shop, use a messenger bag or backpack to easily store all the essentials needed for writing so that you have everything you need in one tidy, portable location when you're ready to go.
As an added benefit, keeping your living space tidy will help you feel refreshed and focused so you can sit in your writing space with a clear mind and let the words flow. As decluttering expert, Marie Kondo says, "From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life."
Add something to your space that signals it is time to write
Add something to your space that your brain will associate only with writing. This is a form of Pavlovian conditioning that triggers a signal in your brain, reminding you it’s time to write. If scents inspire you, light a candle that makes you feel alert, such as peppermint or citrus, but only use that scent while writing in your writing space. When it’s time to start writing, light the candle. When you’ve finished writing for the day, blow out the candle to let your brain know you're done for the day.
If candles aren’t your thing, choose a favorite coffee mug you can’t begin drinking from until you’ve opened up your laptop and started writing. Brew a cup of your favorite herbal tea that you only drink while writing. It could even be a favorite pair of yoga pants or comfortable slippers you only wear when writing.
Find something you can add to your writing space that will let your brain know it’s time to write in exchange for that special treat.
Let those around you know this is your writing space
You may share your living space with a roommate, significant other, children, or pets. If this is the case, you need to let those around you know that this is your writing space and that when you are in it, you are not to be disturbed unless it is an emergency.
Create a signal that lets everyone know that you’re now in your writing space to work and shouldn’t be disturbed. This sets the habit for an uninterrupted writing session. If you’re writing from a spare room or home office, you can simply shut the door or hang a “do not disturb” sign on that door. If you’re working in the corner of the living room, turn on the desktop lamp, letting the light be the reminder that you are writing and not to be disturbed. If you are writing at the kitchen table or the coffee shop, try using a pair of noise-canceling headphones.
Find what works for you, and those around you, and make this a part of your writing space and routine.
Remove all distractions and start writing
Finally, one of the most important things you can do is to remove all distractions from your writing space. These days, the most distracting thing is your phone. Your phone is filled with apps, sounds, alerts, text messages, emails, and other distractions that will eat away at your ability to get into the writing flow state. Once a person is distracted by their pinging phone, it often takes twenty-five minutes to get back into a clear head space, so leave the phone in a bedside drawer. If you’re working from the kitchen table or the library, leave your phone tucked away in your bag where it won’t be a distraction.
This also goes for televisions, radios, and any other device that can distract you with lights or sounds. Clear these devices from your writing space, and you’ll quickly see that you're meeting your word count goals much more easily.
Your perfect space is waiting for you!
With these tips in mind, you’re ready to create the perfect writing space! Start by finding a space you can use regularly for a few hours each day. Clear that space of clutter, and add a special element your brain will associate with writing. Let those around you know you are in your space and not to be disturbed by shutting a door, turning on a light, or putting on noise-canceling headphones. Finally, remove all distractions from your writing space, such as your phone, televisions, and radios.
With these tips in mind, you’ll soon have the perfect writing space that inspires you to meet your daily word count and finish that book!