Whether you are a new or seasoned writer, you likely have or are establishing your own writing space. However experienced you are though, designing your writing space and your writing schedule can be challenging, especially if you feel your productivity dropping no matter what you do.
If you fear your writing space is not allowing the ideas to flow, try rearranging it using these tips to create a peaceful environment for maximum creativity.
Pick Your Workspace
This step is one of the most important ones in settling into your own writing environment. You may not always want to write in the same workspace, but having a consistent place where you work on your writing can help you get into the writing mindset, especially if you’re busy with another job during other hours of the day.
Everybody has a different preferred writing environment, so find what works best for you! Some people prefer to write from the comfort of their own home, while others may like scribbling down their best ideas in public places like parks, coffee shops, or libraries. You may have a few favorite places or just one go-to spot, that part is up to you.
It may be helpful to choose a place that you don’t already associate with another activity. If your home office is where you always answer emails and take phone calls, maybe don’t use it as your writing space, as tempting as it may be. You want to be in the writing zone when you arrive at your space, and if you choose a space dedicated to something else, it is incredibly easy for your brain to go, “Well, since I’m already here, let me just write up this report, answer this email, send out this form…” and before you know it, you’re right back at work doing everything but what you came here to do!
When you pick a writing space, commit to it. Refrain from returning phone calls from co-workers, answering work text messages, or sitting back to play a mobile game, or anything else that may turn off your writer’s brain.
Carve Out Time
Everybody is busy. Whether your day job is centered around writing or something else completely unrelated, you’ve probably got a packed schedule that makes it hard to sit down and work on a personal writing project.
No matter how packed your schedule is, if you want to progress on your writing you need to set aside time in your weekly schedule. You don’t have to set aside a whole day, but allot a little chunk of time at least every week for writing.
How much time? This is where it comes down to how well you know yourself. Some people can sit down for fifteen minutes a day and churn out a chapter a week. Others can mull over a single page for an hour perfecting until they can perfect no more. Set aside an amount of time that works for you.
Stuff gets crazy and schedules can get out of whack pretty fast! However, try to continue your writing routine to keep your brain working on writing.
Pay Attention to Your Level of Comfort
When creating your writing environment, you’ll want to be comfortable of course!
However, have you ever settled into a cozy chair with a cup of tea on a rainy afternoon and before you know it you’ve slipped into a two hour nap? That may be a little too comfortable for your writing purposes.
You shouldn’t be sitting on a bed of needles either. Find a nice office chair and your favorite desk and settle into a nice professional level of comfort.
Unless you really want to or it is the ultimate crunch time, don’t write through any pain or discomfort. Often times when you’re stressed you can forget the simplest things like eating, drinking water, or bathroom breaks! Stock your writing space with some snacks to fuel your brain like veggies, fruits, or nuts. Keep some water bottles nearby. If you feel your brainpower start to dwindle, stop and ask yourself, “Did I eat today? If so, how long ago?”
If your goal is to write quality pieces, relax and don’t push through any discomfort. If you try to force out creativity it isn’t likely to come. A writing schedule is lovely to have, but don’t stick to it if something in your life is actively working against you!
Understand How You Work
Similar to our last tip, this one could go without saying, but know how your body works! Some people love listening to music while they work, but others like total silence. You can try something new, but don’t feel like you have to follow every productivity tip written if it doesn’t work for you.
Schedule your writing blocks to mesh with everything else going on in your crazy life. A routine is nice to have, but if your weekly schedule gets out of whack, don’t stress. Trying to hit a daily writing goal might not work if you’re battling a metric ton of stress from your job, family, or from a sickness that won’t go away.
Sticking with your own personal style, find your best writing position and make sure your desk, chair, whatever matches your best writing position. Some people’s writing rooms may have a grand desk, a single chair, or just the floor. Write where you want!
Keep it Organized
Some people may claim they love chaos, but organization is mandatory to some degree for everyone.
As I’m sure many writers know, it is extremely easy to get distracted while working on a project. You misplace a pen and all of a sudden you’re cleaning out your whole office, doing all your dishes, and vacuuming the whole house. Suddenly you look up at the clock and its six in the evening and you’ve written about two words on your project.
Combat your tendency to get distracted by organizing your writing space so that everything is easy to find. If you’re a pen and paper type of writer, stock your desk ahead of time with pens, pencils, paper, erasers and any other writing supplies and place them all in an easy to find location.
If you prefer to type up your masterpieces, make sure you’ve got your computer and all its necessary accessories. Even if your laptop has full charge when you sit down, make sure your charger is plugged in and ready to go just in case. If you need wifi for research, make sure your router is doing just fine. If you’re at a coffee shop, library, or other location, make sure you know the password.
Once you’ve organized your space, keep it that way by clearing the clutter every few days or so. Schedule a separate time to do this, too. If you mark in cleaning as part of your writing time, chances are you’ll never get to the actual writing part! A little de-cluttering every so often will keep your environment fresh and welcoming.
Minimizing your distractions will keep your brain on the writing track and help you accomplish your daily writing goals without dragging you through a field of side tasks.
Set Goals, But Don’t Push Too Hard
Part of creating your writing environment is having constructive goals for yourself. Every time you sit down at your desk, try writing down a couple goals for your writing session. They may be small ones or pretty lofty ones depending on the intensity of your session, but having goals can keep you from becoming distracted quickly.
When you sit down to write, try jotting down a couple of goals for your writing session. Maybe you want to get a chapter finished, proofread a couple of pages for the third time, or maybe you just need to iron out a way around that plot hole. In general, try to set a few short term goals and one or two long term goals. They can be detailed or broad, up to you!
Goals will help keep your mind on track, especially if you set easily obtainable daily goals. The goal of “finish my novel” can be too broad and distant and can easily shut down your motivation. Finishing a whole novel in two hours to too daunting of a task! However, small goals like, “summarize character A’s backstory” or “complete page one hundred two” make your brain go, “Yeah, I can do that!”
It is great to think big picture! When setting your goals, though, try to also take a look at the smaller details. Your goals will be more attainable and keep your motivation up!
In the end, creating your writing environment comes down to what works for your body and mind. Don’t spend all your time trying to recreate someone else’s writing environment. Your space should be a good match for you and should keep you productive and stress free. If your environment isn’t doing that for you, it is probably time to make a change!