This article is by Bruno Somerset.
If you are a writer, one of the biggest advantages, whether you use a laptop or a pen and legal pad, is that you can do it anywhere. The key is finding the place that is best for your individual personality. There are as many ways to set up your office or workspace as there are individual writers.
I have always preferred writing longhand outside at Starbucks and transcribing it later on my computer; this gives me the advantage of being able to do the first edit when I start typing. For me, the first draft of a chapter or scene is best done in the midst of people, in the middle of something happening. This method may not work for everyone, but there are some tips I can give with regard to your home writing space, whether you start your work on your computer or are transcribing as I often do:
1. Always write in the same place.
Consistency is critical for success, and just as you should be writing every day, and at the same time if possible, you should try to always write in the same place. Certainly some writers are probably quite successful scribbling away whenever and wherever they get the chance, but for the majority of us, that simply doesn’t work.
2. Choose a location that is free of distractions.
This point may have more to do with the time of day you write than the actual location. Those of us with full-time day jobs will likely find the best time to be in the morning before work or after the kids have gone to bed, for example. Regardless of the time, find a space away from distractions, whether the distraction is the television, the refrigerator, or the family.
3. Keep your writing space as sparse as possible.
Clutter is not your friend. You should have ample space to spread out papers, reference books nearby, and your computer. Very little else should be there, because the more there is, the more distracted you will be, even if the distraction is simply thinking about how you need to clean up your workspace.
4. Have an ergonomically comfortable writing space.
You will be sitting for very long stretches, so a comfortable chair may be the most important investment you make. Good lighting is also very important, both for short-term comfort and your long-term eyesight. Finally, a comfortable keyboard is crucial. Very few of us have large enough laptop keyboards for long periods of typing. If you are using a laptop, I would suggest plugging in a full-size keyboard. It will make your writing flow much more smoothly.
However you ultimately set up your workspace, it will be a reflection of you as a writer. You may want to add something that inspires you, whether it’s a picture of your children or a picture of Hemingway (I personally keep a first edition of The Razor’s Edge in a prominent spot, for example). In the end, your writing space is important because it is one of the tools that you use to follow your dream.
What is your workspace like? What about it makes you more (or less) productive as a writer?
Do you have any additional tips for setting up a writing workspace? What is important to you?