What’s in Your Writing Space?

Photo by Jeanie Mayer

Here’s what’s in mine…

Like most writers, I have my little quirks.  I have a hard time creating in chaos.  I can’t cook dinner if the kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes. I can go to sleep of my room is a mess.  If things in my immediate view are out of place, my writing suffers.  Is this just an excuse to avoid starting to write?  Maybe.  But one sure fire cure for it is to carve out a writing space in your home that you can have some control over.  Make it your writing oasis and your productivity will begin to soar.  I should note that I have a couple places carved out in my house depending on what I want to write and when.

So, what’s in my space?

For journaling, I opt for the over-stuffed chair in my living room.  The coffee table next to it contains my reading glasses, a leather-bound journal, a variety of pens and a warm blanket.  Since I tend to journal first thing in the morning and last thing at night, I like this space to be cozy.  A hot cup of coffee is a must.  A wall of windows gives me a view of nature, which I find inspiring.  Your journal space might be the top of a mountain, beside a babbling brook with cool breezes and wildlife all around you.  Whatever it is, make sure it is a place you can get to as often as the muse strikes.

When I shift into work mode, I prefer a counter height surface so I can stand. Movement helps me generate ideas and I find that when I stand, I can write for longer periods without becoming achy.  I keep a comfy barstool nearby in case I get tired. A clear counter is essential; however, I keep all the books and materials I will need to complete the project close at hand.  For these reasons- I write in the kitchen during the day when everyone else in the house is at work or school.  This also gives me a clearly defined starting and ending time for work.  When four kids and a husband descend upon the house, there is no chance of getting work done at the kitchen counter.  Even if I had an office dedicated to my work, I would insist on a standing workstation.  Biographers of Ernest Hemmingway have written that Papa was known to stand at his typewriter when writing dialogue, making it quick and direct.  (He also recommended writing scenery out longhand, to slow the pace.)

Good light is important, which is why I opt for working by a window with a pretty view.  Mine overlooks some bushes and the tops of several centuries-old oak trees.  If you are easily distracted by squirrels, this might not be a good option for you. A table lamp is essential for the evening journal time.

My laptop and a notebook with a fast, good quality pen are always with me.  Right now, I am into black tip Pilot Precise V7 Stick Rolling Ball Pens, Fine Point

Did I mention that I always have a cup of coffee within reach?  And snacks.  Writing is an energy-sucking activity and it requires fuel.  I usually opt for nutrient-packed nuts and dried fruit.  I try to stay away from things that are processed, sugary or sticky. (I have gummed-up a keyboard or two in my day.)

The space in our heads is just as important for writing as the space around us.  Not everyone works the same way, so the things I omit from my writing space might be deal-breakers for you.  I know many writers who can create while piping the music of Joan Jett, Bowling for Soup or the Beatles into their brains via earbuds.  Others can be bingeing on Netflix and write wonderful prose.  But for me, music, television, even my cell phone are distractions.  I opt for a quite place where I can hear my thoughts.  I don’t get distracted by the squirrels in the trees, but the ones in my head I have got to tame!

What’s in your writing space?  I’d love to hear about it!

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