5 Ways to Discover Your Most Productive Writing Space
All writers experience that creative rush: inspiration strikes and your brain fills with ideas needing to be unleashed. Sometimes you have a great writing session, and other times the urge fades and you’re left staring at a blank page and blinking cursor. Sound familiar?
The latter can be the toughest situation for a writer—when you desperately want to write but something feels off. It could be that you still need to work out the idea in your head before jotting it down; in which case, taking a step back and brainstorming is your best option. It could also be that your “writing space” isn’t what you need to achieve optimum productivity.
There are many factors that can affect how you work. Learning to identify them will allow you to establish the right setting and proper mindset to finally achieve your writing goals.
1. Where do you like to write?
Do you often stay home and write? Maybe you like to work in your study, curl up on a comfy couch, or sit outside in the sunshine on the patio.
Do you prefer to be in a public place? Although writing is often a solitary task, perhaps you like to write in a coffee shop or at the library where you’re surrounded by people and don’t feel so isolated. Maybe you’d even be interested in joining a writer’s group or attending a “write-in,” where you meet up with fellow authors to support one another creatively and gain a sense of camaraderie as you work.
Identify your favorite spots and utilize them to the fullest.
2. When do you like to write?
Time of day is also key. When is your mind at its best? Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you schedule your writing time and keep track of sessions? Think about what times of the day you feel most invigorated and creative, and save your writing sessions until then.
Or is your muse spontaneous, striking at random moments like when you’re exercising or caught in traffic? Maybe the solution is as simple as always keeping a small notebook or your phone/tablet handy so you can quickly jot down notes and ideas on the go, no matter where you are.
You could be some combination of both as an author—welcoming unexpected inspiration but waiting to work on it later when you have more time to devote your full attention. To be a more efficient author, be as creative in analyzing your thought process as you are with your writing.
3. How do you like to write?
Some authors prefer to work on the computer—whether it be a desktop PC or laptop—while others like to work on paper. You may find typing on the computer relaxing or a quicker way to transcribe your ideas. It may also save you a step later on when it’s time to reread and make edits.
On the other hand, you could be a more tactile writer. The sensation of the physical page may feel grounding and force you to think carefully about your words before jotting them down. Maybe you love writing but dislike editing. Writing your story by hand first can allow you to later review and edit as you type.
Do you write in short bursts or for long periods of time? Is it usually a few paragraphs or full chapters? Maybe you don’t write chronologically and like to skip around to work on different sections. Your writing method of choice is important in determining your setting and how best to foster your muse.
4. What are you writing?
The genre of your story and meaning of specific scenes may require you to set the mood. Are you writing an action-packed thriller that requires high energy and intrigue? Is it a historical romance that combines witty banter and vulnerable emotional moments? Is it a memoir about your personal experiences, prompting you to ponder past triumphs and challenges?
In addition to the setting, time of day, and writing method, there are other helpful elements that can promote productivity in your writing space. Do you require a certain kind of music/ambient noise to set the tone or prefer complete silence? Do you need extra space to lay out your research? Do you need lighting in the room to be bright or dim? The answer might not always be the same. Be open to exploring various scenarios and conditions.
5. Why are you writing?
The million-dollar question. “Why are you writing?” seems so simple, yet it can be the most difficult to answer. Is writing a part-time hobby for fun, or do you consider it a full-time pursuit? Do you write for yourself, or with the intention to be published someday? Do you write whenever you want, or are you on a specific deadline? Your answer can be any combination of these, and they certainly will define your ideal writing space.
If you’re writing for work, maybe you like to be fully dressed with a clear time limit in mind. If it’s for fun or relaxation, maybe you wear comfy clothes or pajamas and hardly ever stare at the clock. You could eat a certain snack while you write (or afterward as a reward) or choose a favorite beverage such as coffee, tea, or wine. These conditions can be as substantial or trivial as you want; do whatever you need to reach your goals.
Whether you stick to a certain routine or want to experiment, only you can define your best writing environment. Have fun with it, and remember your options are as vast as the ocean!