“I just want to write,” I thought aloud as I read about the importance of having my own personal place to do my writing. “It shouldn’t matter where I do it.” I didn’t need any fancy desk or to greedily make a space of my own. So I tried to write sitting on the couch; someone would inevitably turn the television up to some ungodly level. I tried writing in the bedroom, and my husband would come in and strike up a conversation. I would go outside to write on the patio — well, you just really never know how many of your neighbors are out moving around their yards and the neighborhood until you try to do something that requires concentration outside. If I really had something that was pressing on my mind, I could write. The distractions made it quite difficult though. So can a writer write anywhere, or do they need their own “office”? The truth is: both can be true. If you really want to write, anywhere will do, but if you need to seriously sit down to write a hard scene or do some editing, you would probably benefit from your own personal space. Of course, I am typing this from the kitchen table — the TV blaring in the next room — because my own “office” has been disrupted until we get moved and settled into a new house (which could take months). My own personal grievances aside, having a space of your own is best.
The common misconception is that a writer needs their own writing room, locked away in some quiet corner of the house, to get serious about their work. While you do want to find somewhere relatively private, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a room. Not everyone lives in a household where a chamber just for writing is feasible. What you need is some little space — maybe the corner of a room — that you can make your own.
There are certain things that need to be present in your writing space.
- A desk or table in a well lit area
- A computer and printer with plenty of paper (or notebook and pen if you write longhand)
- Privacy – If you don’t have a room to use, try a screen around your desk or, at the very least, make sure that everyone in your household knows that you are not to be disturbed while you are writing.
- Books, pictures or other motivation. The days of needing a dictionary, thesaurus, book on proper grammar, etc. are pretty much over. We can all find those things on the internet, negating the need for physical copies, but having inspiring books and pictures can personalize your space and give you momentum to keep going. My desk is normally covered with Stephen King books (including “On Writing”), “The Nightmare Before Christmas” Funko Pop figures and Story Cubes. I also keep pictures of scenery and people that I am using as inspiration for my work.
- A file cabinet or two (or three or four, if you’re prolific)
There are many theories about what makes the perfect writing space. Many of them would say that my desk is too disorganized and cluttered. This is what works best for me though. My best advice is to read as much as you can about creating your writing space. Try out different layouts, and find what works for you.