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PREPTOBER - Setting Up Your Ideal Writing Space

Set up your ideal writing space for National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo).

Setting your space is not about having a perfectly neat, organized, cozy, or picturesque writing space. It’s about setting up the proper space to encourage your most productive writing time and most inspired writing.

There are three considerations when it comes to your ideal writing space.

  • Time

  • Physical Space

  • Sound

There is a toxic misconception in contemporary society that if we don’t have the time to do everything, we don’t have the time to do anything. This leads to us missing out on the benefits of small chunks of dedicated time that add up to great results.

The first element of time refers to what time of day is best for your work. For me, I am a rare morning bird artist. My most creative hours are in the morning before the world is awake and when the day is just beginning. Those hours between 5:00 AM and 9:00 AM are my sweet spot creatively. You may be a night owl or somebody managing a full-time corporate job from which you can creatively escape on your lunch breaks. The “when” may be different from person to person, but what matters is that you honor that time period with your creative energies.

If you are most creative in those morning hours, like me, and you start your day off by reading email, scrolling through your newsfeeds, or responding to people on social media, you are wasting that time when your brain is most creatively inspired. Spending those hours or time blocks in logistical or business endeavors is going to lead you straight into those hours when the task lists really are the job of the day or moment. Honor your creative hours with creative work.

The second part of time is to ask yourself what time block (what length of time) is most successful for you? We all have a natural block of time in which we can work before our minds start to wander. For me, I have learned that my natural time block for work is 110 minutes; it’s not quite two hours. The way I know that the 110-minute time block is the end of my brain creatively engaging is that I turn to scrolling or I squirrel away to some other task. Rather than letting that wandering take place, I set 110-minute writing blocks and, after those 110 minutes, I need to stop and give my brain a break. How do I stop and then re-engage? Get up. Walk to the mail box; do some pushups; get a drink of water or coffee; breathe. Disengage so that you can then re-engage for another 110-minute block. (Or, if your time blocks are 15 minutes, by God do those 15-minutes! They WILL add up!)

Setting Your Ideal Writing Space – Part 1


1 – WHEN are you most creative?

2 – How long can you stay creative before giving your brain a rest?

When it comes to your physical space your first consideration should be comfort and ergonomics. It's important to take care of ourselves physically so that we’re around creating in healthy ways for a long time! If you find yourself settling into a space that has you hunched over, squinting, or otherwise physically uncomfortable, consider adjustments to a healthier space.

When you get stressed, tired, and tense, your quality of work will decrease, too. Physical health matters to your mental, emotional, and creative spiritual health. Make sure you are writing comfortably.

The second part of your physical space is related to your surroundings. What do you need to see in order to feel inspired? I need to see nature. Seasonal changes, water, and light are all important to me. I know some writers who need darkness with only enough light to see their own keyboards. Once again, it’s okay to need something different than what another author needs. The point is that you have to know what visuals inspire your creative mind. Some writers also like to see other people. Think coffee shop (however stereotyped it may be).

Setting Your Ideal Writing Space – Part 2

Physical Space:

1 – How can you be most comfortable in order to be productive in a healthy manner?

2 – What do you need to visually consume to feed your inspiration?

The last element related to setting your ideal writing space is sound. Some people prefer complete silence. If I am in total silence, it is suffocating. I cannot be creative in total silence. I like to have music, but not something by which I’m too distracted. Some of my favorite creative listens include 1940s hits or jazz. If I’m writing action, I may prefer a non-lyrical cinematic soundtrack. I know some writers who like to listen to white noise such as the sound of rain. And even putting in headphones with no sound at all will pull your mind inward and encourage creative focus. You may be one of those people who prefer silence. If that’s what works for you, then use it.

The other part of sound to consider is whether or not you would like to have other voices or people around you. This is another reason that a café may be ideal for some writers. Sometimes I want people around me when I am creating scenes that have exchanges in them. The people around me may help to encourage or inspire the dialogue I am writing.

Setting Your Ideal Writing Space – Part 3


1 – Do you or do you not want music and, if you do want music, what kind will aid in and not distract from, your writing?

2 – Do you or do you not want other people or voices around you?

Good luck creating your own ideal writing space!

Yours in writing,


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