Some days, inspiration hits like ice during a hailstorm, abundant and out of control. Our minds flood with ideas. We can barely write fast enough to keep up with our brains. On these days, it hardly matters where we write. The stories basically write themselves.
On other days, the clouds of inspiration fail to gather and we are dry, left painfully staring at a blank page, wondering how we had written all those previous stories (or blog posts or poems). On these days, the only thing keeping us from shutting down that notebook or powering down that laptop might be the comfortable chair we sit on or the view of our favorite books or the soft wind blowing in from the window.
It is on these days that we realize just how important where we write is.
Because we spend long hours in this place, it is important that it is built to inspire us, especially for those days when we rather not write. If done right, our space can become our best weapons against writer’s block.
So what makes up this great weapon that is the writer’s space?
Every writer is different and unique. However, I do feel like there are a few basic necessities every writer should have in his/her space.
A GOOD TABLE AND CHAIR: There’s nothing like a comfortable chair. One that is neither too hard nor too soft. If even goldilocks can go through the trouble of sourcing for a chair that was ‘just right’, then we sure as hell can too. If you want to survive hours of writing several times a week, then the best investment you’ll ever make will be a comfortable chair.
And of course, there’s nothing that kicks your body and mind into work mode like a table. When we sit down at that table, the muse knows it’s time to get to work.
Being in school, I don’t have the luxury of my dream writing space. Right now, all I have to work with is a cramped dorm room that I share with three other people. But even in that small space, I have a little corner with a table and a chair. Honestly, it’s the most basic necessity.
COLOUR: The power of colour is often under emphasized. Beauty and colour are things that never fail to stimulate our muse. This doesn’t necessarily mean rainbow walls, bright yellow carpet and orange curtains although if this style says you then by all means, go for it. But I prefer more subtle touches of colour. A vase of red roses. A stack of colourful sticky notes. Highlighters. A cup of colourful pens and pencils.
But whether you prefer light brush strokes or full on buckets of colour, the important thing is that you add some.
LIGHT AND AIR: Another great addition to a writer’s space is a window. Maybe it’s just the claustrophobia talking but I can’t imagine writing for hours in a room with no window. It wouldn’t take long before I would need fresh air. In my dream space, I would place the window directly in front of my desk so I would be able to look out at life. Because I have discovered that watching things in motion helps me think. But for others, this could be a great distraction and so the window is placed behind or away from the writer’s line of sight. Whatever works!
BOOKS: When I was young, whenever I was stuck at a point in my story, I would go to my bedside cupboard and pull out a drawer. I would run my fingers through the books then pick up my favorites and skim through them. A few minutes of that and I would be able to get back to work. Nowadays, I just open the folder on my phone where I keep books. I realized that the practice did two things for me. The first was to remind me of why I wanted to write in the first place, to remind me that each hour spent writing is an hour closer to the dream. It reminded me that if I was persistent, one day, my books would be one of them. The second thing was that by skimming through them, I could get an idea that would push me over the writer’s block.
This is why books are essential in a writer’s space. Because they stand as symbols of the dream. When we are stuck on a blank page and are tempted to skip the day’s writing session, just a glimpse of the bookshelves can keep our butt glued for another few hours.
And so, in my dream space, there are book shelves along all the walls so that in every gaze is a glimpse of books.
DECLUTTER: As we know, when we are deep in the throes of the muse, we take notes on every scrap of paper we can find. We tear out sticky notes after sticky notes for chapter notes and scene notes. In fact you can probably tell how much work I’ve done by the amount of surrounding litter. You need to give yourself enough space for creative litter. Or else new litter gets mixed up with old litter which gets mixed up with non-litter. Yes, it all becomes very confusing.
INSPIRING DECORATION: My dream space will probably be done up like a Victorian study with a pop of colour. Why? Because I write historical romance. I would be able to walk into my office and be instantly transported to a period in history that so fascinates me. So if you make comics of superheroes, hang illustrations on the walls, put superhero bobble-heads on the windowpane. Find a way to make the space your own. Let the decoration be able to get you in the zone.
JUST A FEW CAVEATS
- Brainstorming and writing are not the same.
It is of course a crucial step in the writing process. But while it’s useful to sit at a table and a chair when drafting or researching or editing, our usual space, no matter how inspiring, might not work all the time when sourcing for new ideas. For me, when I’m brainstorming, I need to take a walk or go for a drive. People watch. Eaves-drop. If I must be inside the house, then I’ll rather be flat on my bed, my eyes closed and my mind roaming.
- In the end, work is work.
And it has to be done no matter what. Whether we have to write out of a basement or from the penthouse of a 7 star hotel. As far as we are writers, we have to write even in the worst conditions. Do what you can to brighten up the place. Get a desk plant. Cover the walls in sticky notes. Whatever you do, just get the work done.
In the year, 3118, life is far more advanced. There are no books or pens. Certainly nothing so archaic as a laptop. You are a writer in the year 3118. Describe what your work space is like?
By Joanne @ http://www.thisgirlblogs.com.ng