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.
Clearly, 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”
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:
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.
Chairs 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.
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.
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.
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