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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Create a Friendly Writing Space: WL 366 (#10)

Lesson 10: Create a friendly writing space.

There are two things you are going to want (notice I didn't say need) when you decide to get serious about writing. One is a dedicated workspace. The other is a clean, clutter-free workspace.

Why can't I just park it anywhere--like at the folding table in the laundry room with twenty years of dusty newspapers stacked next to it and the kitty litter box underneath?

You certainly can write above the kitty litter box if you don't mind getting soiled sand between your toes, but if you have the ability to do so, find a place to write where you can't be distracted.

Don't get me wrong. When I'm in the writing zone, nothing distracts me. Sometimes, though, it's hard to get in that zone, and if my office is unappealing or cluttered or dirty, there's only one thing on my mind: no wonder I can't focus on my story, look how ugly, disorganized, and gross my work space is. Why risk hindering your creative thought processes over an unfriendly work space?

Additionally, you need to make sure your work space fits your needs.

When I first decided to get serious about writing, writing on my laptop in bed wasn't going to work anymore (I actually charged my laptop on an ironing board next to my bed). So I cleared a corner of the guest room, bought a tiny desk and bookshelf, and called it my office. It worked fine for a few years. It was crowded, but it was clean.

Then last December when I got a screenwriting partner and we planned our first big project, my tiny corner wasn't big enough. Screenwriting takes a lot of space with scene boards and picture boards--you need to be able to spread out. I had to take over an entire room that would fit both of us and all of our stuff.

I still have my tiny desk because I've grown attached to it, and it fits nicely in the corner. Besides, if I had a bigger desk, it would just be more work surface to clutter and gather dust.

It's important to understand that you should never let anything defeat your writing dream. If the laundry room table with the kitty litter box beneath it is all you have, don't let that deter you. Great writers have written masterpieces in much worse conditions.

Tell us about your writing space. Does it look more like the good? . . .

The not too bad? . . . 

Or the dreadfully horrid?

Visit me tomorrow for another Writer's Leap 366 lesson.


  1. Peggy Eddleman said...

    Oh my gosh-- I love your writing lessons! Mine looks "not too bad." I definitely have a dedicated space. But it has about 50 lists on it (I'm a list-maker), and way too many other things. SOMEDAY, when I can seem to take a writing break, I'll transform it into "the good." :)

  2. Karen said...

    That means a lot coming from you, Peggy. Your writing blog is amazing!

  3. Karen Phillips said...

    We enclosed our small deck several years ago. It's my office. I need to put shades up on the French door. But, I bought a white noise machine last year to drown out the TV in the livingroom.