Writing can be intimidating, especially when you are just starting out. Experienced writers will have their own processes formulated through rigorous trial and error. If you are new to the world of writing, some input from more experienced writers can be invaluable. I’ve been writing for years now and thought it would be cool to share some of my knowledge with those seeking it. For novelist or short story authors, I’ve already gone over the importance of knowing the difference between a plot versus premise, you can find that article here.
Today I want to go over something that can be easily overlooked, the importance of WHERE you write. Proper preparation before you get anywhere near your notepad or laptop is essential to optimizing your writing potential. Whether you’re a poet, novelist, or blogger, where you right is an important thing to think about and can be the difference between a productive writing session and a frustrating one.
Your Designated Work Area
Have a favorite desk or table to work from? Think about turning it into your designated study, the main place you’ll be doing your writing. Focus on making it a great creative workspace, one you can feel comfortable stretching your imagination in day after day. The first thing I did after I decided I wanted to be a writer was to purchase myself a comfortable computer chair. You and that chair are going to be real close friends so whatever chair you choose better be a comfortable one.
I have my writing supplies somewhere close at hand at all times. Think about where you want to store everything you need and try to keep it all in one area. I also hate clutter in my work environment so I take a minimalist approach to my workspace, though some people work better in a “controlled chaos” (that’s my little brother’s argument when I tell him to clean his tornado-swept room).
Channel Your Creative Influences
Totems are items that we subscribe power and personal value to. My totems might look like ordinary items, a compass with a quote from Henry Thoreau for example. However, it has a great personal value that is unique only to myself, my mother having given it to me during a time when I felt directionless in my life. I keep it close at hand for those times when I feel stuck in my writing and its energy can sometimes help me find my center and power through those tough moments. Hanging art, having your favorite books close by, or even moving a displayed collection into your workspace can help inspire you.
This is a technique I learned from my favorite director working in Hollywood right now, Guillermo Del Toro. Through the years, he has amassed such a collection of artwork, toys, movie props, wax statues, book, and films he needs a second house to warehouse it all. This Bleak House is his creative center, a monument to all the things that have captured his inspiration. To learn more about Del Toro’s collection, click here.
I have a miniature version of this in my own home. Artwork featuring video games, horror icons, comic book characters, and retro pin-up art dot the walls of my home. Memorabilia from my world travels are enshrined next on shelves next to the books that made me want to be a writer. Aliens Pop Vinyls stare at the comic collection in my closet. All of these are placed on display to remind me why I love doing what I do and to imagine someone else doing the same with my creative works in their own home.
Mixing Things Up
Feel free to change where you do your work at your leisure. I often switch up where I do my work to keep things varied. Now that’s it’s starting to warm up in CT, I’ve started to frequent my back porch again. Sometimes nature can be a little too overwhelming, but after a long winter, there’s nothing better than laying on my hammock with my laptop on my lap to put some words to paper.
Some people prefer to do their work out in public, which I always find to be a bit too chaotic for my taste. Cafe’s are always popular for the writers fueled by caffeine and social pressure. Libraries can be great for the novelist imagining his work among the greats. Parks can be thought provoking for the stuck writer or writing exercises. Anywhere you can watch other people interact without looking like a creeper can be helpful. The point is, feel free to experiment and find what works for you. What works for one writer may not work for all writers.
Where are some of your favorite places to write? Let me know in the comments below.