Writing is hard.
I mean, I know I’ve acknowledged before that when I get into the flow, I can quite easily write several thousand words in a single sitting, but at other times, it can be really difficult to even get a couple of sentences down on the page.
That’s why I’ve found it important to make everything else as conducive to writing as I possibly can. Over the years, I’ve found a number of things that help me get into the right headspace for letting my creativity flow, and one of the most important aspects of that is having my primary writing space set up correctly.
Having my space set up comfortably was, admittedly, a lot easier in the days when I was a little less transient than I have been in recent years. It’s one thing to set up a space that’s designed just for writing and creative pursuits when you know you’re going to be there for the foreseeable future.
Entering 2019, I’m in a kind of semi-permanent setting. So I’ve actually gone to the effort of setting something up that’s relatively stable and comfortable, and gives me a strong workplace and creative space to be productive in.
I just want to break down a few of the important aspects of my own workspace.
Dining Table Desk
One of the most important parts of my creative space, for years, has been a good amount of space to spread out in. For years, my desk was actually made up of a door. Dad had it spare for some reason, and so I flattened it out and made a desk out of it. I’m very digital in my lifestyle, but I still make copious amounts of notes (the document tray on the desk is all the ones I’ve got to digitise), which means I like to have space to spread out the various sheets of paper and notebooks that I’ve got to sift through while I’m compiling all of that information into a single set of cohesive thoughts.
I love having a large desk space.
I think that once you actually use a dual monitor setup, it’s almost impossible to go back. The value that second screen adds to your workspace is just phenomenal. Whether it’s during a website design project, or having a browser window open with a million tabs that are all aspects of research for the current piece I’m working on, that second screen makes life so much easier.
Secret: Sometimes it even has Netflix open if I’m doing something less taxing.
Obviously, that’s not so easy when travelling, which is a reason I’m quite happy with where I’m at right now.
I backup everywhere. My important documents are backed up to the cloud, which syncs with my hard drive, and my computer is then backed up regularly using Time Machine as well to ensure that if anything catastrophic happens, I’ve still got my life in order.
Coffee. Water. Do I really need to say more?
I know people who function without coffee. In fact, I was speaking to a friend recently about how, at one point, I just decided to stop drinking it myself, and went six months or so without drinking any coffee. Crazy, right?
Whatever it is: tea, coffee, hot chocolate, soft drink, or something else, having something to fuel yourself is an important part of sitting down to be productive, at least, I’ve found it is. Alongside whatever fuel of choice I may be using at the time, though, I always need a bottle of water just to maintain hydration levels and keep refreshed.
I also find it nice to have something to reach to, for those moments when you just want to pause and think about where you’re up to with the current piece being worked on.
Speakers or Headphones
Right now, it’s speakers, and I love it (he says, noticing that he forgot to hit play after a minor video distraction). I have always loved music, and I find that it is so much easier to get into a creative space when there’s music playing. Alongside the speakers, I have headphones literally strewn throughout my life so that there’s always something available when I happen to need it.
Okay, so this one’s not in the picture, but it’s another aspect that I think really provides a boost to productivity, mental capacity, awareness, and mood. Behind the workspace in the image, two windows are open as well as the door. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, I find having airflow just makes me work better. In a previous office job, I used to sit by the fire exit and leave the door open as much as possible to help keep my productivity and mood up. There are very few days I’ve found when it’s too cold to actually have at least some form of fresh air flowing through my workspace – and in most of those cases, a blanket or more layers of clothing is helpful.
Alongside this is making sure to step outside. Most people who work on computers will know the health and safety advice to take time away from the screen every hour,
Bonus Points: The Travel Edition
As I said earlier, being somewhat of a transient personality, I find myself on the road a lot, and it’s not quite so easy to just carry all of these things around with me. What I do have, though, is my exceptionally trusty satchel (it’s not a man purse), which carries around the necessary items to ensure that I can pretty much make a creative space anywhere I happen to sit myself down: café, beach, park bench, hotel, etcetera. This includes: headphones, portable hard drive, notebook, pens, Kindle, and, of course some spare change to buy a coffee. All I need to do is throw the laptop and charger in, and I’m set to go to work wherever I happen to be.
Obviously, all of this is going to be very subjective. I’m sure there are people who would find a dual-monitor setup just too distracting – and it can be at times, or you may be one of those people who can sit in a very small place and get your creative on. I even know people who do their best work sitting on their bed with the laptop on their knees.
The important thing is, of course, to work out what’s best for you. Create a space that you feel comfortable enough in to allow your creativity to flow and spill out onto the page, whether that’s a paper page, or a word processor.
What are the key aspects of your creative space?