February 20, 2017

Writing Spaces for Those With No Space

Writing Spaces for Those With No Space

I'll be the first to admit that I don't have a beautiful writing space like the ones you see on Pinterest. I don't actually have a space devote purely to writing. My desk is used for multiple projects and purposes. I also live in a small house with seven other people, so there's not a lot of space for personal areas.

But I have never let that stop me. I make space for writing in my life and in my small portions of the house. I'm sure there are many other people out there discouraged by their lack of an area solely for their creative writing endeavors. In this post I'm going to show you how to make do with what you have to best eliminate distractions and help you focus on your writing.

(Also, this post was originally called "Writing Spaces for the Spaceless". However, when I looked up spaceless, because the dictionary wasn't accepting it, I found out it actually means infinite or boundless. Not the definition I had in mind. So there's your word definition for the day.)

1. Find a Spot

First, you need to decided where you are going to write. Selecting one or two spots where you always write can help you form a habit of knowing that when you sit in this spot, it's time to write.

Good choices are a desk you may currently have, your bed, a corner with a beanbag, or a special chair. I have a few different spots myself, including my desk, my bedroom floor, and my bed. You need to find the area(s) that will work best for you.

The area you pick should be someplace you can sit a while, or stand if that's your preference. If you're at a desk, make sure you have a chair with good support. If you sit on the floor or your bed, take breaks to stretch your legs and make sure to sit with good posture.

2. Block out Distractions

The spot you pick should also enable you to block out anything that will take your attention off your writing. You need to be focused so that you can get your work done in a shorter amount of time.

Obviously, if you write in your bedroom, you can simply shut and lock the door to keep out family members bearing distractions. You can even put up a sign like "At risk of the death of your favorite character, do not disturb". If you have a desk that's not in a private area, turn it so it faces away from the room. Wear headphones when you're working to discourage people from talking to you.

Other options could include keeping your space clean so you can't be distracted, blocking off your area with a bookshelf or filing cabinet, or making a private corner for yourself. Brainstorm ways to best keep yourself focused, then find ways to apply them.

3. Inspire Yourself

You can't forget inspiration in your space. Proper motivation helps you work better, or it does for me.

Inspiration can come in many forms. Maybe you can hang a bulletin board above your desk with motivational quotes on it. Or have a vision board of your story to set beside you as you work. Wear a hat that you only wear when writing. Find something that when you look at it inspires you to keep going, and keep that in your area.

And don't forget music. Music is one of the best focusing tools there is. Figure out what type you like to listen to while writing, and play it at full blast. (Just make sure to wear headphones if you're in a public room.) Everyone differs in what they genre of music that prefer. Some people can't write with music that has words. Others could never listen to a classical song. Personally, my interest varies depending on my mood. I do know though I can't write while listen to music with words I haven't heard before. It distracts me too much.

Odds and Ends

Here are a few last things you may want for your writing space.

Bring supplies. Making sure you have water, tea, a snack, or whatever you need before you start writing can help keep you at or desk or on the floor, without getting up a million times for a drink. Also bring with you any information (worldbuilding, character interviews, outlines) you may need during your session.

Keep your writing organized, or at least all in one place. That awesome character quirk you can't remember won't be able to help you if you can't find your character questionnaire. If you're not a neat freak like me, make sure it's all in one spot. It saves time later. The same goes for your computer files. Keep them tidy and it will be easier to find the things you need.

• Don't stress if your space is used for more than one purpose. As I said, my desk is used for more than writing. If you have to do the same thing, keep it organized so you can switch what you're doing easily.

Have a set goal for your writing time. This doesn't have so much to do with the area as just making good use of your time. Make sure you know what you're trying to accomplish, like write 1,000 words or edit a chapter, turn off or block out distractions, and get to it.

One last note. Make your writing space work for you. What I do isn't what you need to do. Find what helps you and do that.

Let's talk. What does your writing space look like? Do you have to share space with a lot of people, like me? Tell me in the comments.

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