JTH 5 Where Is your Writing Space

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What is the importance of your writing space?  It helps to have a place you enjoy and where you write that inspires you. If you don’t enjoy where you write you procrastinate and writing does not occur. Your book, short story, poem, or thesis does not get written. Take the time to figure out what works best for you.

What are your needs?

What have you found works best for you when you want to start then complete your writing project no matter how large or small it maybe? Is it:

  • A messy space or a neat-as-a-pin space
  • Inside or outside
  • The bedroom, study, kitchen, a separate outside-the-home room, a cafe or library
  • With a computer setup or pen and paper
  • In bed, sitting on a supporting computer chair, slouched on a bean bag, using a standing/walking desk
  • At home, at work when on a break, commuting to work

Everyone has their own unique space that they feel they write better in. Thousands of others may write in similar places but few are going to be writing at the same place and same time every day and no-one will have whatever your personal ritual is to start you writing each day.

A good way to decide on what you personally want is to take your notebook and pen and find a place to sit down and think about what you would love in your happy writing space.

At Home, would it be some of the spaces I have previously listed or could it be in that closet or armoire that you could kit out with a desk, chair and whatever you like writing with? You might like to include cheerful inspiration quotes, photos of family or places in nature, crystals as I do, a container for pens, paperclips and pushpins or a vase of fragrant flowers.  Write down your dream and make it happen. It may take a while to complete your dream space but as you do something when you can it will grow into YOUR writing space. Having YOUR writing space acts as an incentive for you to write more consistently.

At Work, you can use the in-between times. Do you have breaks? They can be ten to sixty minutes you can write. Try standing while you do so if you sit down at work, sit down if you spend most of your time standing. If you need to nibble or have a drink do so while you are typing. Do your work on a USB drive so it isn’t in your work computer. You can write at your desk, in an empty meeting room or in the canteen.

Outside is a great place to write. This can mean in a local park or other green spaces, at the beach, in the ski lodge, museums, galleries, cafes ( a well-known space for writers), libraries, pubs, bars, restaurants, on public transport of all sorts, verbally recording as you drive ( careful with this one), on a bench in a mall or with your back up against a tree. You might like to trek up a steep hill and write when you get to the top, visit the Eiffel Tower and write while you are there or be sitting on a cruise ship deck chair.

My Writing Space

My desk is on the other side of my room but the file cabinet is on my right, the printer is on the left side of my desk but I may shift it to the dresser – beside me on the left – to clear my desk a bit more. I have crystals under my monitor because I enjoy them. The made bed is at my back if I need to spread paperwork out and I use a pinboard to put images on for inspiration. I want to use the clipboards I have brought over the years to hold character studies for my main characters, settings and wanted action scenes for easy referral to while writing. Camp Nanowrimo is only a few weeks away and I have two things I want to do: finish November’s book and re-write the MG novel so I am happier with it.

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These are some ideas to ponder on for your ideal wring space or spaces.

  • Can you think of a place I have not mentioned so far
  • What 3 spaces have you enjoyed writing in so far
  • Have you figured out why you like these places to writing in
  • Do you like silence/noise, alone/people around you, stillness/movement
  • Where do you hate to write
  • Why do you hate writing there ( maybe you can write there when you want to get something finished faster)
  • What days of the week do you write
  •  Does the day of the week effect where you write and why does it do so
  • Have you figured out a new possible place to write while doing this
  • Have you tried a virtual writing group
  • What senses did you find made a difference to your writing and how can you bring those into where you write now
  • Is there a place near you that will encourage you to write

No-one else can tell you where you can write unless it is putting you or others at risk so go wild as you try to figure out the what, where, when, why, who and how of your perfect writing space or spaces. Rituals of time and space help you write regularly and inspire your words that everyone is waiting to read.

This is the journal writing I did on this topic.

19th January 2020

A New Year and decade has started and I have only done two blogs and no writing or editing on my novels. It is time to get back into it. I want my books finished and published this year. I want others in the Botany library IAWG to do so as well. I need to get myself back on track to doing this thing I love, take the thoughts from my mind and put them on paper.

The topic is writing spaces in your life. I write in a number of spaces. If I am writing on my computer, my desk is against the wall at the foot of my bed. I make my bed before I start to write as it helps calm my mind to have a tidy bed behind my back. To the left is the dresser and I regularly tidy the top of it and polish the wood. To my right, I have a 2 drawer filing cabinet (red) that has my jewellery cases and other items on top of it. I tidy and polish that weekly as various items end up there.

I have 3 high windows above my desk and on their sill, I have 2 cross-stitch embroideries, a long metal wand, 5 small buddhas, a blue money box and containers for pushpins etc. My frosted glass metal legged desk has a TV/monitor at the back that has a number of crystals just underneath it. To my left is a Canon Pixma printer/scanner and 2 small computer speakers are behind my monitor.

My bed is queen-sized. I have 2 European pillows, 2 memory foam pillows 1 ordinary pillow and 2 cushions. One cushion is light purple with a wolf image in shite on it and the other is green with a dragon image on it. A stuffed dog that was my mother’s, given to her when they shifted and left their dog with a small farmer in need of his huntaway/eye dogs skills, wanders to various places on the bed depending on where he gets tossed.

 I have described my writing space before so will go further down the diary pages and pick up there.

I do sometimes write longhand on the couch outside the sitting room doors or on a blue leather chair I pull outside the front door. I even write in my maroon lazy boy chair or at the dining table but that is not often. I do so when I feel stuck as a change of writing space can sometimes change your mindset enough to get some new ideas flowing.

Other spaces I have thought of other than what is already above

  • Your own writing hut at the bottom of the garden (Utilitarian or as whimsical as you like)
  • On holiday anywhere in the world including your own country
  • Seaside, lakes, rivers
  • Up a mountain, in  a forest/wood, in the desert, on a volcano
  • During a war
  • At a peace conference
  • On a writing retreat
  • At a writing conference
  • In a writing group session
  • Recording as you walk or cycle along

Basically, if you have the means to write and the desire to do so you can write whenever and wherever you want. All it has a need for is a place to put your words and the hand or voice to do so. If you love writing you can do it. It might only be for a few minutes or it can be hours of your day.

My three most usual writing spaces are journalling on my bed, typing at my computer desk, or longhand at the library. I am happy when I can write 2000+ words at my computer in a session. If I am having a bad day it may only be 500 words which are better than nothing. A great day is when I do much more than 2000 words. My water bottle is within hand reach and I wander around for five minutes each hour to stretch and loosen my muscles and maybe have a nibble.

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On my bed I journal but I also plan out what to write next in my first draft novel or write a short story that I edit and type up later for one of my writing groups. It can sometimes be the warmest place to do so if it is winter, definitely the softest most comfortable place if my back is hurting. The journaling helps me empty my mind in the evening and I sleep better. It is also a place to explore like I am doing at the moment using the JTH writing prompts.

I like using the library for doing a writing sprint during Nanowrimo. The writing groups I attend are held in libraries and we do writing exercises there to a short time (Writing fast and furious) which can be a lot of fun. I might try writing at one of the seating places scattered around our local mall and see what effect that has on my writing. Parks and beaches, while it is still summer, might be fun to do. The lovely weather and different external aspect might add further depth to my writing.

My least favourite writing space would be on the bus as the movement would make my words lurch all over the paper. I could mistype them on my phone as the movement would make me hit the wrong key (Damn you autocorrect). I might try it someday as overheard conversations might be useful for ideas or pertinent dialogue.

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I write at some time most days but Tuesday and Thursday are busy days so just when I write can change. It might be very early or much later in the day. They are often the days of low word count but not always. I don’t want to spend all day every day at the computer as life needs to be lived as well. I could write in my notebook when I am out though and transcribe it later.

Senses-wise, I like aromatherapy. I could use scented candles or oil dispensers to scent my area with mind-stimulating aromas. Rosemary could be one, citrus fruits another. Maybe I could get a sheepskin to make my chair more comfortable to sit in or get a footstool to lift my feet into a better position.

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I wear one of two long jumpers with high necks in winter and fingerless gloves to keep me warmer as sitting writing can cool me down. In summer I have windows/doors open to have an airflow that keeps me cooler. I can scent the flowering plants from outside and hear birds chittering even over the road noise (my white noise).

I want to put up a corkboard to pin either index cards on it with story ideas or images to help me describe the world I am writing about. One colourful board is lilac material with lime ribbons; the other two are cheap corkboards from The Warehouse. Nothing says I can’t pretty them up though.

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I have handmade pictures on my walls and writing quotes to inspire me. I am in the process of sorting my files and putting in new colourful hanging file holders. The hanging files can be colour coded to various subjects for ease of finding what I want.

Silent spaces in the neighbourhood are the small parks and scattered green areas in the subdivision I live in. Not too many children use them at the same time as I would and any walkers power their way through on the way to their destination. I would not be disturbed too much using those areas. A blanket, a pillow, some nibbles and a drink and I could be there for hours. Sunblock is needed if there is not enough shade but that’s okay. Pen and paper would get my thoughts captured until later. Summer is a good time to try this out, get tanned, breathe fresher air and maybe get some inspiration.

I won’t give you my to-do list but having done one I did get a lot of it ticked off.

CTA: Comment below and share what your writing space is like or what you wish it could be like

Pictures would be fun too.

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