A (Writer’s) Room Of Your Own

When I think about writing, I naturally think about where. Someday, I’ll set aside some time to go over my perfect, idealized writing space, probably somewhere on top of a mountain. Surrounded by a fence, which is in turn surrounded by a moat. Filled with sharks.

We all want to be left alone so we can sling a few hundred words in peace. If not silence, creativity at least demands attention. But for many of us, that’s not possible. Thousands of writers out there suffer without a room to call their own or a space in which to stretch out their craft. But you don’t have to put up with it! Here’s a few tips on how you, yes you, straining to hold on to your corner of the dining room table, can claim your sacred creative space.

1. Don’t Go Anywhere Obvious

Find an area with little foot traffic to set up shop. Don’t plant your flag on top of the kitchen table and expect your family to respect your need for a quiet working environment. if you’re putting yourself in the way of daily life, your loved ones won’t be able to give you space even if they want to. Find a room with the lowest foot traffic possible for example an attic or basement. Don’t have one of those? There’s nothing better than a closet. No one has any reason to go into an empty closet.

2. Get a Mini Fridge. No, really.

If you can afford a mini fridge, get one for your writing space. Yes, they fit perfectly in most closets and yes, you will be doing everyone else a favor even if they can’t see it at first. Whether you write early in the morning or late at night. you won’t want to wake or disturb your family just to get a soda. You want to blend in to the environment, almost like you’re not there. With any luck, they’ll forget you exist for an hour or two. The best way to accomplish this is by keeping the food and hydration supply as close as possible. 

3. Get the Right Chair

Another key to getting work done without interruption is staying at your desk for as long as possible. You can’t do that without the right chair. Take your time and do some research here: you want something ergonomic that is adjustable so that you can make sure you’re the right distance from your monitor. And you want it to be made of something that breathes, in case the air vent in your closet sucks. Cup holders are a bonus.

4. Lighting is Key

Most articles online about a home office or writing room discuss at length why you want a window in the room, why natural light is better, and where you should put your desk in relation to the window. Like the people you live with are going to give you a room with a window all to yourself. Chances are pretty good you’ll have to make do with synthetic lighting but even if you do, Armageddon is still probably way off. Do your research and get an overhead bulb or a bulb for your desk lamp meant to simulate daylight. You probably won’t thank me later, but you should. 

Just as important is the other part of lighting: glare. The normal glare from a monitor can strain your eyes and tire you out quickly, leaving you with less productive time each day to write. There are a couple of solutions to avoid this: you can find a distraction-free word processor with a soft background to minimize eye strain, or you can move your light to the side of the screen to prevent glare. If you’re lucky enough to have a window, look up the best position for your monitor to be in relation to the window to keep glare out of your eyes.

5. Forbid People Access

Can your pets come into your writing room? Sure. Can people? Not unless they’re you. This is your sacred space. Look, I get it. You’re a writer, and people you know already think you’re weird. A secret room isn’t going to help that. But it will help your word count. your loved ones need to understand how important your craft is to you, and the best way to do that is to let them know that when you’re in your writing space you are not to be disturbed. 

There are a lot more tips on how to set up a writing space, and at some point I’ll give a tour of my own, but these are the essentials. Hopefully they help you to create the ideal creation space for you. What about you? Do you have a writing space? What does it look like now and what do you wish it looked like instead?