I’m a firm believer in the power of having the right space to work. In today’s blog post I’m discussing the essential things you need to consider when putting together a comfortable (and, more importantly, productive) space to write. All suggestions are optimised for use during lockdown!
What A Writing Space “Should” Look Like
Traditionally, every writer might be expected to have a grand wooden desk that they confine themselves to every morning in order to write – but this vision of what a writer “should” look like isn’t necessarily helpful, or accurate, for anyone. A lot of us don’t want to, or can’t, write in a formal set up like this. A writing space, just like a writer, should look exactly how you want it to.
Pick the Desk – or, Abandon It Entirely.
The first thing to consider: do you prefer writing sat at a desk, lounging on a bed, sitting on a sofa, or a mix of all of these? There’s no need to limit yourself to only one of these options, but it’s a good idea to eliminate any that you know reduce your productivity, allow you to get distracted easily, and make it downright impossible to write – no matter how comfortable that place is. This decision is all about balancing comfort with productivity and finding a healthy balance in between. If you’re sitting at a desk, consider the type of chair. Do you need a padded chair, or a chair without wheels? Look over your available options from the furniture you already have and make a decision.
If you’re not going for the traditional desk option, consider if you can allocate that space specifically for writing. Perhaps have a certain way or angle you’ll sit on the sofa or your bed that will train your brain to engage in your writing, rather than scrolling through Facebook or binging Netflix.
Pick the Background Ambience.
Do you prefer to write in silence, with music (either out loud or using headphones), with a podcast in the background, or ambient noise like a coffee shop or quiet library? If you can’t write in complete silence but don’t like music, consider different kinds of instrumental (that doesn’t have to mean classical music) or YouTube videos that mimic different kinds of ambient settings. I listen to a mix of things: podcasts and playlists are my favourite, but when it comes to editing I’ll often do it in complete silence for short bursts of time, and then resume the soundtrack while I’m rewriting sections.
Pick an Outfit
What kind of clothing do you like to wear when you’re sitting down to write? Think about it. Some writers prefer to be fully dressed, with a full face of makeup, in jeans or something formal. I prefer to be in comfortable clothing when I’m writing the first draft, whereas when I’m editing I’ll put on a jeans and t-shirt combination. You might like to try wearing different outfits to emulate different moods in your writing. Try it out! Quarantine is the perfect time to experiment.
Pick the Lighting
Some people might like writing under bright white lights whereas others might prefer a softer yellow light. You might be someone who enjoys writing with lots of fairy lights strung up around you, or a sole focused beam of light. When setting this up, consider two things: first, what you have access to, and second, what will genuinely enable you to write. Thousands of words will go unwritten while you’re building the perfect Instagram-able writing space; don’t let them escape you! I have two favourite options: writing near a window for the natural light (during the day), writing near an open window at night (assuming there’s enough external light) and writing in complete darkness late into the night. I can adapt to writing in libraries or coffee shops, though, depending on my mood.
Other Things to Consider
Bored, or struggling? Mix it up! Try changing one of the above factors. There are some other decisions to think about, too. Consider if you like company (writing around other people), need to be completely by yourself, or a mix between the two? A coffee shop, library or other public space might be a compromise between not feeling isolated (although, during this lockdown, that option might not be possible). Time of Day might also be important. Are you a morning writer, an afternoon writer, or a dead-of-night writer? I personally don’t have any preference with when I write, but location is very important to me. Your experience might be the total opposite.
The main takeaway from this post should be that no writing space is superior. Find what works for you and be proud of it. It doesn’t matter what it looks like or how strange it looks to other people. All that matters is that you like it, it works for you, and you’re able to write well in that space.
FIND LOTTIE ELSEWHERE
What’s an essential part of your writing space? Have you made any changes to it during Covid-19 quarantine? Tell me all about it in the comments!