I recently heard a radio report on “the new home office,” and since we had just moved and were in the process of setting up my own new office, I was very interested to hear what others were doing. One of the people interviewed had just spent $25,000 on her new office. Any of you who are personally acquainted with me know that I managed to set up my office for a lot less than that!
I’ve had an office in my home for over 20 years, but this is the first time that the room has not doubled as something else, like a guest room, also. It’s a room totally for me and Open Door Publications and I’m quite proud of it.
But not everyone has the space for a room totally devoted to their writing work. So what do you do when you have to share you space with the rest of your family? First, remember there is no one right space in which to write. I’ve known writers who love a messy desk and those who can’t write until all their pens, pencils, papers and other paraphernalia are lined neatly in rows. I’ve known writers who write best in a crowd, and others who crave solitude. There are writers who can only write with music blasting, and others, like me, who find it distracting. The important thing is for you to find where and how you write best. Where does your creative energy flow most easily?
If you have a spare room or home office, you may automatically think that this is the best place for you to write. Try it out; you might be right. But even if that space is the most obvious and the most practical place for you to create your writing haven, it might not have the best atmosphere for you to be creative.
If your office is also the place where you do business – anything from paying the family bills to running your own company – it might not be an easy place for you to relax enough to be creative. If each time you sit at your desk you see unfinished tasks waiting to be accomplished, how likely are you to be able to put them aside and focus on your writing?
The most important thing about your writing space is how it makes you feel. If you don’t have a space in which you feel comfortable, safe and secure, you will not be able to bring the right type of concentration and mental energy to your writing.
What makes you feel comfortable when you write? Make a list of the things you need to work creatively. Is it a particular place? Some music? A glass of wine? Once you have made a list and know what you need, go out and find it. Before you write you need to set up a space that enhances your ability to be creative.
What does comfort mean to you? Is it an overstuffed armchair where you can throw your legs over the side and curl up with your laptop? A desk and office chair with good back support so that you aren’t stiff after sitting for hours?
What about lighting? Does the lighting in your writing space set the mood to energize you and make it easy to see your computer screen? Nothing can deplete your energy faster than eye strain caused by glare on your computer.
What about your view? Do you want to look up from the computer and look out the window, or do you find that distracting? Position your desk in a way to make this either easy or difficult, depending on your preference.
Room color can also have an effect on mood and energy. If your writing space feels uncomfortable, you may want to think about painting it. Paint is one of the cheapest and quickest ways to change the atmosphere of a space. When we moved into our new home, the room designated as Open Door Publications headquarters was painted a dreary shade of brown. One weekend and a couple of cans of paint in two shades of blue changed the mood from depressing to comfortable or energizing.
Often, simple things such as rearranging the furniture or adding a better desk light can make a world of difference in your comfort and your creative energy.
What changes do you need to make to feel more comfortable in your writing haven? If you love the space you have to work in right now, great! If not, make a list of some easy things you can do to make it more appealing. Remember, cheap, quick and easy work best. You don’t want to spend months perfecting your writing space, but you should spend a few days enhancing it and removing any physical blocks to your creativity.