Do you have a space in your home that is specifically designed as your writing space?
I use my laptop in whatever area fits my mood.
The office is too dark.
The dining room faces the street instead of the mountains.
The best I have is the kitchen table and I’ve surrounded it with plants, a large fountain and the TV turned to The Cafe music station.
It’s not Starbucks, but it works.
Former Pikes Peak Writer President Chris Mandeville recently gave a talk on the writing zone.
Part One of this piece is on the detractions of your writing space.
The other half of her talk discussed how to enhance your writing space to make it the place you want to run to every day and put your butt in the chair and knock out your novel.
Just as with detractions, she has four categories for enhancements: Eyes, Ears, Ergo, Ego.
Eyes – what you see should be pleasing and motivating
- Visual surroundings should be inspiring – I see mountains but I also see plants of varying shapes. They calm me down and decrease my stress so I can focus on my writing.
- Turn your writing space into the location of your story – one author once turned her entire office into the leprechaun village she was writing about.
- What are you wearing? Immerse yourself in your characters clothes (this goes along with Robert Lipuralo’s idea of Method Writing)
Ears – what you hear can affect your mood
- Nature? – My water fountain provides the same ambiance as my plants. And as hyper as I am, anything to calm me down is a plus!
- Talking? – When I write at Panera Bread or Starbucks, most of the time I can tune out the chatters. Sometimes they are too loud or their topic too interesting (aka conversation hi-jacking but not writing)
- Machinery? – Is the dishwasher driving you crazy? My dryer button can drag me out of a scene so fast it’s like an air horn!
- Make it based on what you’re writing–Mozart for an 18th century historical romance
- Genre should go with story — some writers are even offering their lists with their books
- Tempo & mood match the story tempo/mood you’re writing–I like the coffee-house stuff but sometimes I need Yo Yo Ma or Linkin Park. Totally depends on the scene.
Ergo – can you sit in that place for hours without pain?
- Be Proactive & set yourself up comfortably in your writing space
- Height of desk or table; I have a standing desk that I switch to when I’ve been sitting too long (Yes, thank you Don Rumsfeld for introducing those to popular culture)
- Is your chair so comfy you don’t notice it or so hard, it’s driving you crazy?
- Set the space up to give your eyes a rest and offer a respite so you can stay healthy to keep writing longer (i.e. easy access to taking a walk)
Ego – are you boosted enough to keep writing or is it so depressing you feel like Edgar Allen Poe
- Self esteem walls or on the desktop – anything to help you feel good about yourself will keep your motivation up
- Acceptance letters
- First dollar as a writer
- That book that made you realize you want to be a writer
- Sayings or inspirations or quotes
- Checklists that you can check off
- Write down your goals and post them
- Anything to show you that you have talent
- Affirm yourself as a writer and you’ll be more productive
The bottom line is to set your space up so you feel like a writer. If you feel like a writer, you’ll actually write the book. So, to quote one of my favorite bands, break the habit and find yourself somewhere you belong so the world can read that novel.
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