Creative Mindset: Finding a Corner to Write in

“Too many people never put words on the page because they have themselves convinced they need a specif­ic envir­on­ment” ~ Ruth Ayres in Finding a Space to Write.

Writing Needs?


Do you have a corner to write in? Finding somewhere to write seems a constant challenge for the writer. Justine Duhr makes the point that in the modern world “technic­ally, writing is portable and so we can write wherever we want”. Space and time are at the top of the complaints writers list about their inabil­ity to get work done. 

Before going too much further I recom­mend you play the follow­ing video:

The business blogger may have this problem solved for them. It is their office workspace, they are expec­ted to take that as it is and use it. Yet the ability to focus and concen­trate is still vital. Is it merely a corner to write in or does the workspace need adapt­ing? The aim: provide its user the creature comforts to make it work.

A Corner to Write In?

Recently I found myself waiting for an appoint­ment. We have all been there. A lesson of a lifetime is doing something on those occasions when you’re in someone else’s hands. You are early but have to wait, yet in doing so you can take an element of control if you wish to. Don’t get bored. It can be a time for reading, which is fine — all writers must read.
Alternatively, you can get back your time, finding a seat, block out the distrac­tions, and start writing. Your special corner to write in, even when there are no corners avail­able. I take my Android tablet with me and do just that. There may not be room for setting up a keyboard, a laptop is too big. This is where the tablet becomes a handy tool. You can work without taking up too much room.
Ruth Ayres states “some of my best work has happened in airports because I’ve learned to work through distrac­tions”. I agree and have also done the same. On the techno­logy front, it is easier with a tablet than a laptop, because the latter discharges its batter­ies faster and airlines still have not yet made power sockets avail­able to every seat. 
There are two challenges at play. First, the ability to make use of tempor­ary spaces to complete work and second to find yourself a good full time writing space. We can agree, using the space avail­able is something that is neces­sary from time to time.

Temporary Space

Airport seat from CC0 Public domain image by PexelsClearly, the airport or doctor’s office are tempor­ary spaces. I have used enough of those over the years. They have been respons­ible for their share of back aches and headaches.
Also remem­ber if you happen to be in a hotel they often have business suites, where you can use some desk space when you have a spare hour. This is much quieter than using a table in the lobby and being disturbed by the person stacks their baggage next to the oppos­ite chair, setting up a feeling of insec­ur­ity. Desks in business suites are often avail­able without cost.
At the airport I found it advant­age­ous to find an execut­ive lounge, they are often avail­able to all for a small fee.
Claire Rosslyn Wilson in Finding Space To Write When You’re On The Go questions “Finding the space to write is a vital part of any writer’s life, wheth­er it’s having the resources and support to have a room of your own, or learn­ing how to write while being surroun­ded by distrac­tions. Writers who travel face a unique challenge – the space around them continu­ally changes. Is it possible to write when you have no set place where you can go to focus your ideas?” Also “The most challen­ging part about travel­ling all the time is finding the mental space amongst the distrac­tions”

Permanent Space 

More import­ant than those tempor­ary workspaces are what you set up as your perman­ent space. This is more than a corner to write in, although it may be just that. Neither the dining table nor the kitchen counter­top make good perman­ent spaces. You cannot leave your papers, journ­al, and computer there. Better to have a small corner desk than use the dining table.
I am lucky, having an office to use. One thing I have always done was ensure an office space existed in each home that I have lived in. Here is the plan:
My office by Peter B. Giblett
The first thing you are going to say is that you don’t have a spare room to convert let alone that amount of space.
As I said a dedic­ated space is good, prefer­ably in a quiet room — where you can concen­trate. A space in the living room can be quite noisy, with the TV or stereo system going. Never an easy problem.

How do you Relate?

“The key is to figure out how you relate to your writing space and how you can make it a comfort­able, private, and product­ive writing space for a few hours each day”. Kelly Hanson at Grad Hacker. How you relate to your writing space impacts your productiv­ity. If you are disturbed when the kids come home then it is not a good place to be.
Comfort and privacy are both import­ant. I walk about the place when think­ing. It may be paging in front of my ideas board on the wall, or it may be a walk to the coffee maker to get a fresh cup. I have lost count of the number of times that stand­ing there I find a better way to phrase something or perhaps find the lead-in to the next paragraph. It is not the coffee that is creat­ive but waiting for it can be.
Writing Space courtesy apartmenttherapyChairs matter. You can often spend more on a good one than a desk.
Find one that is comfort­able for you, even if you spend a few extra dollars over your budget. Try every chair in the store, find one that is yours. It should give you comfort when writing. What makes you comfort­able is differ­ent to what makes your spouse comfort­able. Nobody else should be allowed to sit in it.

Decorating your Space

Having just rebuilt my office (or so it feels) I know getting the space right is vital. New drywall was neces­sary in order to repair one wall that had a collec­tion of problems. A new floor was laid. The walls were repainted to a relax­ing colour, a light blue which has a textured feel to it. I mounted a shelf on the wall and displayed my collec­tion of Franklin Mint coloured eggs.
It is not finished. I am still rearran­ging my papers, files, books etc. There are three boxes of paper­work and two with old electric sockets etc. and outdated equip­ment. They all need moving to the basement, but not before they are sorted through once again to ensure irrel­ev­ant mater­i­al is binned.
Apartment Therapy has sever­al pictori­al sugges­tions when it comes to finding a space to write. Take a look here to see their sugges­tions.
The displayed workspace comes from their site, proving you do not need a large space to get comfort­able. I also suggest you watch the follow­ing video by Charli Marie as she explains her setup.

Creative Mindset

What should be clear is that space you write in should empower your creat­ive mindset. Some of the things you can do to aid creativ­ity include:
  • Add mood light­ing and music, maybe.
  • Organise your space how you need it.
  • Make it comfort­able and cosy.
  • Socialise (if this triggers creativ­ity).
  • Fill the space with inspir­a­tion.
  • Somewhere to clear your mind.
Space helps the mindset, or as Blair Hurley says in Wrtierly Life “It’s part of a mental defin­i­tion of a creat­ive space that is essen­tial for being in a creat­ive mindset.” 
I grew up in an industry which was cutting-edge, well known for using music to aid productiv­ity. Many of my colleagues could only create computer programs with the aid of their headphones and music. I love music, but for work have always preferred silence. Each is a person­al choice and what is right for one is wrong for anoth­er. What helps you create, think about that and adapt your space accord­ingly.

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Have you spent time creat­ing your idea workspace? It should be more than simply finding a corner to write in. The envir­on­ment affects your creativ­ity as a writer.

If you like this content, we appre­ci­ate any donations to GobbledeGoox.  Something to contrib­ute, then please leave a comment. Some images here were sourced from a public domain location, such as Pixabay..


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