In my ten years of writing I noticed that I tend to write better in some environments, less well in others. This piece summarizes my observations. Hopefully it will help you create that perfect writing environment where words just seem to flow effortlessly.
You may think that this is a frivolous detail, but to let your thoughts adrift, dressing comfortably helps. So if you are at home, wear some loose, comfortable and casual clothing, and while at office, even if you have a dress code, you could work around it by doing stuff like loosening your tie or kicking off your shoes.
This is an activity which goes in tandem with creating your own space. Now here’s the catch: While some people find it difficult to work amidst a mess, others are serial ‘clutterers’, and find a perverse sense of comfort amongst the mess that they create. But if you belong to the first category, then you would do well to get rid of the unnecessary mess before starting work.
Whether you are at home or at office or even in a public place like a library or a coffee shop (don’t laugh, many a great piece of writing has been written sitting in a coffee shop!), you need to create your own space. By placing familiar objects around you like a laughing Buddha or other Feng Shui stuff, a vase of flowers, or a photograph of a loved one, you create an inner peace within you. If you are a regular writer, you are likely to spend a considerable amount of time sitting in that area, so a few embellishments like pictures, a music system, or a coffee pot regularly stocked with fresh, aromatic coffee would make your workspace a nicer place to be, where you will look forward to going to – and possibly help eliminate writer’s block
One thing is very clear – if you are angry or upset or experiencing any type of emotional upheaval, the last thing you should do is write. Writing needs a clear mind, and if your mind is clouded with negative thoughts, you are not going to make any progress. When you are in a clear frame of mind, just go for it!
Life is full of distractions, and it’s easy to get sidetracked into anything but your writing work. So, it’s very important to create a daily, regular routine, where the time you spend writing is clearly allocated. This helps, especially when you are living with someone else, who will learn to leave you to yourself, when they know that it is time for you to write.
There are many aspects to this. Your chair should be comfortable enough not to give you backache after hours of sitting on it. You should have a comfortable desk, and if you use a desktop computer or laptop, the screen should be adjusted to a comfortable angle and distance for easy viewing. In short, when you sit down to write, you should be comfortable. Being properly air-conditioned, clean and having an air purifier, all help.
You should have all the accessories at hand and up and running. If you write using the internet for research, you need a reliable and fast internet connection, for easy access to information. Your laptop or desktop computer should have a comfortable and ergonomic keyboard. If you have the habit of jotting down notes, have a writing pad and lots of sharpened pencils or a good pen handy. Bottom line – create a good setup.
Have a Plan
You need to be focused on what you are about to write. Whether you are writing something for your own satisfaction, or for someone else, the first thing you need is a topic. Now, you need to plan ahead. You can frame a basic structure, and compose some sub-headings. Keep in mind the introduction and conclusion, and also the approximate length of your piece of writing in terms of pages or number of words. On creating this rough framework, the actual writing of the piece should be a cakewalk.
Work in a place that is conducive to your mental processes. If you live in a house or flat that is ‘generously endowed’ with noisy kids, pets, and nosy relatives, you will not be able to hear yourself think, let alone actually put your thoughts into writing.
Although some people have the capacity to keep focused in the midst of chaos, noise generally is a source of disruption. But hey, wait! How about a bit of Pink Floyd or Beethoven in the background for setting the right background to write? Some people think and write better with a bit of soft music in the background, while others prefer complete silence (like me!).
These are my two cents on how to create the perfect writing environment. Do you have other tips you would like to share? Please leave a comment below.
Byline: Janet Miller is a work-at-home mom of four who loves her children to bits but takes a break once in a while to pamper herself. She is a yoga enthusiast, nutritionist and spa therapist.