Today’s post was written by the lovely Katelyn Bolds, a friend and fellow Taylor grad. She wanted to share some tips on creating a writing space for those of us who love words. Thanks Katelyn!
Some writers can write anywhere. They keep a journal in their backpack or tote bag filled with colorful journals and pens they didn’t get for free. Whenever the mood strikes them, they can sit down and write.
I am amazed at what a gift that is. But after wasting hours being distracted and having “writer’s block”, I have learned that creating a writer’s space is an art. People who can write everywhere are simply good at tuning out distractions. It can be learned with practice, or avoided by creating a dedicated space. While I do not have a spare bedroom or even a broom closet to dedicate as my writer’s room, I used these tips to create a writer’s room anywhere.
Have one space
Pick an area that you want to dedicate to writing. This can be anywhere—in your house or at a nearby park. In my home, I have two possible places to sit (other than the floor). The futon is in front of the TV and far too comfortable; if I sit here too long, my legs fall asleep and I get a strong impulse to watch The Office. The kitchen table is in the middle of our apartment and doubles as where we eat, but it has worked because I keep my space neat.
Comfy but not too cozy
Don’t go out and buy some ergonomic desk chair that rocks back and forth and spins. That’s a recipe for disaster. You aren’t going to live in your writer’s chair forever. Just make it do its job. Currently, I am sitting on a wooden chair that I bought online at a virtual garage sale. Four of them cost me $5. It’s not super comfortable, but it supports me, helps me to remember not to slouch, and keeps me focused. The pain of sitting there after five hours reminds me how long I have been writing.
Create an inspiration filled environment
Make your space a space that inspires you. There is no one recipe for the perfect inspirational workspace. I am inspired by nature and easily distracted so my space simply has a vase full of fresh flowers my husband bought me and a cup of coffee. Nothing more. But that won’t work for everyone.
If you are crafty, make a collage of your favorite quotes in pretty fonts and colors. If you are on-the-go, find a spot that inspires you outside of your home—a spot in the park, a favorite section of the library, a coffee shop with good vibes. If you are book-crazy, some people love to have a shelf of books by their desk. It is a nice idea to have the great works of those who inspire you to look at when you might be stuck. Just make sure that this does not distract you from writing your great work.
Have everything you need
Keep your favorite materials handy. For me, all I need to write is my computer (with Internet), sticky notes, and a pen. Invest in tools that make you feel like a writer. What you are doing is important work and will, presumably, make you money if you do your job right. Even getting an inspirational mug like this one may help spur you on to creativity. Coffee always makes me feel more competent.
Keep your space organized
Many writers debate the benefits of a cluttered desk vs. a clean desk. After all, if all of my notes are piled precariously next to me that should help me, right? Sadly, no. It’s scientifically proven that a mess causes stress. Keep everything in your space clean so you won’t be tempted to get up and wash the dishes or do laundry. Now is writing time.
If you tend to be a messy person, invest in a binder or folio to put all of your work in and go to a coffee shop or the library. Somewhere outside the home might be less distracting for you in the long run.
To find your space find a place that you can go consistently, doesn’t distract you, and makes you feel inspired. Do this consistently and without fail. Don’t stop writing because you can’t think of anything. Write because you need to. The fewer leniencies you give yourself, the less you will struggle with excuses and losing focus.
“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” —E. B. White
Katelyn Bolds is a freelance writer and recent graduate of Taylor University. She and her husband, Samuel, live in the Chicago area. Katelyn blogs about home, health, and DIY at theboldhome.wordpress.com.