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10 ways to create a better workspace
16 May 2018
Written by Steve Hancock
Do you want to be a writer? It is sometimes said that everyone has a book in them, but how can you best prepare yourself to get your novel into the world?
The most important aspects of your writing space are undoubtedly your desk and your chair. Luckily, we've already discussed Choosing a Writing Desk in a previous blog post. If you've not already read this, feel free to give it a read. When choosing a writing chair, comfort must be your number one priority. A highly adjustable chair is ideal so that you can tailor your chair to your personal needs. If you are interested in finding out the best way to set up an office chair, this recent blog post will point you in the right direction.
The choice of writing device is typically down to personal preference. Do you want a nice portable laptop that you can open at any moment that inspiration strikes? Or do you prefer the personal connection between yourself and the written word that only a pen and paper can provide? Some people prefer an option that doesn't offer an undo or delete option, such as a typewriter, or pen and paper. This forces the writer to carry on regardless of any minor mistakes, which can be fixed in a re-write once the first draft is complete. The temptation to write and re-write the same passage endlessly can be a significant block in completing a project. Others prefer a computer. There are multiple word processing programs available, from fully featured ones to minimalist ones that attempt to reduce the number of distractions present during the writing process.
Once you've set up your desk, chair and writing device, the next thing to look at is your working environment.
Some people suggest that a tidy desk leads to a tidy mind, but you may find that a more haphazard workspace helps to get your creative juices flowing. This may, however, depend on what you are planning to write. If you're writing historical fiction or epic fantasy, for example, you may find that your workspace is necessarily covered with maps, articles, and other research. Contemporary fiction, on the other hand, may require less background information, leading to a cleaner desktop. Either way, we recommend that you try to limit your mess to items related to your current project. That way, you are less likely to get confused or spend too long hunting through irrelevant documents when looking for something specific.
If you are someone who is easily distracted, you may find that it is sensible to limit connections to the outside world while writing. This could mean turning off your phone or leaving it outside of the room entirely. It could also mean choosing to write on a computer that isn't connected to the internet. Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin famously uses an old DOS-based laptop that allows him to focus completely on his writing, rather than providing outside distractions.
While keeping your thoughts organised while writing can be important, it can also be useful to keep some inspirational items around to keep you in the mood. A piece of art that reflects the mood and tone of your novel may help keep you stylistically focused while writing. Alternatively, you may wish to put together a playlist of music that helps you to keep a consistent mindset during the writing process.
It is important to stay focused and relaxed while writing. Inadequate lighting can cause eye strain and fatigue. As a result, it is important to ensure that the lighting in your writing room is correct. Natural light is typically best, so a room with large windows is generally good. If you write a lot during darker hours, however, you may find that a daylight bulb helps with your focus. These bulbs produce a more blue / white hued light than standard bulbs, which is closer to the colour temperature of sunlight.
While some people benefit from a minimalist approach to their writing space, there are a couple of accessories that can be useful to keep you focused while writing.
Having a notebook handy can be useful if you have a mind that tends to wander. If you have an important thought that isn't related to your writing, simply jot it down in your notebook and save it for later. This helps to keep your mind clear of distraction. A notebook can also be useful for carrying outside of your writing room so that you can jot down any ideas that come to mind for future reference.
As with a notebook, an audio recorder can be a useful item for collecting ideas while out and about. If you're out walking the dog, or on a leisurely drive, you may come up with a great idea relating to your novel. In order to remember the idea, simply record a short voice memo that you can refer back to once you get back to writing.
If you have any other top tips for creating a writing room, we'd love to hear them. Until then, happy writing!
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