What does your writing space look like? Does it scream “Romance writer”? Or if your space is like mine, right now it simply screams, “Clean me.” I remember once seeing a romance writer’s home office and feeling seriously deficient.
She had crystal chandeliers and fluffy carpet. Her writing desk was an elaborate period piece that looked like it had been swiped from a southern plantation.
My office, pictured below, is a compilation of twenty year old hand me downs and a few pictures. It’s enough to kill anyone’s creativity. Technically, my office is in the front room of our home.
It doesn’t have a door so it’s open to the entire home, which means that most often, I write at the kitchen table or worse, at a local coffee shop.
However, my eldest is going off to college in a few weeks, sniff sniff, so I’m converting the space into a guest bedroom/writing office. It’s the silver lining I need to help manage her leaving home.
I’m a design freak and can spend all of my free time looking at home design websites and watching HGTV. So I’ve spent the last six months or so collecting inspiration and planning my new office.
Here’s what I’ve learned from design experts and writing and creativity coaches…
1. Create a file – Start collecting pictures that inspire you and can realistically become part of your writing space or home office. I say realistically because some things are just not feasible. For example, I’d love a fireplace in my office, but that’s not happening. Collect images of pillows, desks, office organizers, chairs, paint colors or whatever else might inspire you. If you only have a small desk in the corner of a room make sure that space is designed to support you. Because I work at the kitchen table so much, I bought a table cloth that makes me smile.
2. Remember you’re a writer – Your writing space needs to support you to take your writing dreams and goals seriously. You want to be able to sit down at your keyboard and feel like the writer you are. Choose tools that support you and make you feel a sense of ownership over the pursuit and the space. Maybe that means getting a coffee mug with the words “Writer” on it and using it for your pencils or hanging a “keep calm and write romance” poster on the wall.
3. Comfort matters – Make your space comfy but not too much so. You don’t want to spend more time napping than writing. Or maybe you do…You can embrace this concept on many levels. For example, if you have a small desk in your front room then make sure it’s in a space that makes you feel comfortable, a space that you want to be in. If you have the luxury of an entire room to yourself, comfortable chairs and surroundings can make it a welcoming space.
Finally, allow the creation of your writing space to be a process. It’s taken me six months to form an idea of what I want my new home office to look and feel like and I still have another month until I can get in there and start painting. I’m sure of two things, that my plans will change between now and then and that I will change my design as I paint and bring in furniture. It’s okay if your space changes as you change. You’re a creative being and that means embracing your creative impulses. Some of the things you try will work, others won’t. Learn, grow, write!
Oh, and you can check out a great photo collection of writing spaces including Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Agatha Christie http://booktique.weebly.com/blog/the-writing-space-of-famous-writers.