Have you ever walked into a room and thought “…I can’t write here?”
I’m a mover. I always like to visit people and places. I also love taking my laptop or tablet along and tippity-typing away in cute little coffee shops, friends’ houses, etc. But this willingness to try new writing locales has busted as much as it’s banked.
There are some places I just can’t write.
Maybe the atmosphere is too dark. Maybe there’s not enough natural light. Maybe the place just give me the heebie-jeebies. Maybe it’s too cluttered or too noisy or just too something.
I think many writers would agree: one of the key elements to writing is the ambiance of your space. So it’s very, very important to nurture that space. Your surroundings can actually help contribute to – or cure! – a block!
If you’re feeling mentally stuck or antsy when you sit down to write, consider these options:
Take a day and deep clean. If you tend toward a “the mess pile isn’t THAT bad” attitude – like I do – something as simple as cleaning your desk and/or broader writing space can bring a great shift to your mood and mental health! I greatly encourage this ESPECIALLY when starting a new draft. Starting with a blank slate + a clean environment is a real recipe for success!
Fill your space with good things. This looks different for everyone. You might have printed fanart or candles or office supplies. Maybe you’ve got a bookshelf – or two or three – of your favorite reads. Walls decorated with beautiful art and inspirational quotes. Do what it takes to create an environment you’re happy to walk into! For me, this looked like a small rearranging of my office and the purchase of a Boston Fern. It’s amazing to me how having lil’ Fernando hanging from the ceiling has seriously brightened up my workspace!
Protect your sacred borders. Not everyone has a designated office for writing. But whether you have your own room for this or not, don’t be afraid to defend your space! Your writing space is an extension of your creative mind, so when things or people invade it, it can seriously throw you off your game. Be bold in guarding your writing space and time!
Write in unusual places. When burnout hit me hard in mid-June 2019, I spent two consecutive mornings in my office, sitting on the floor, not touching my laptop. Just me and my coffee, chilling among the wax warmers and Himalayan salt lamps. Same space I write in every morning, but by erasing the pressure of sitting at my desk – where I feel like I need to produce words RIGHT NOW – I reclaimed my sacred space for something more relaxing and laid-back. It’s the same office, but to me it now feels like a place of creativity instead of supply/demand of words.
Go write outside. Weather and safety permitting, being outdoors is a great space for the creative mind. While struggling with burnout on the first draft run of STARCHASER, I did a good deal of drafting on the last book sitting on my porch rather than at my desk. It was amazing how that shift in environment shifted my mental terrain, too!
JUST GO! If being in your usual writing area itself is a deterrent, go explore! Find a cute coffee shop or a park, a cyber-cafe, a friend’s house. Check into a hotel for an overnight write-in with just yourself and your laptop and soak up every second of it. Sometimes we don’t get to permanently keep the writing spaces we love, but just being in that environment is good for the soul!
Q: What’s your favorite writing space? Let us know in the comments below!