Creating Your Writing Environment

Do you have a place where you write consistently? If not, this guide will help you create a focused environment so you can be at your best when writing.

Location, Location, Location

First, your writing environment should be a place you feel safe. It should engage your thoughts and help you focus. Ideally it should be a place where you can recharge, practice your craft, and find inspiration.

Ask yourself the following questions: Where do I feel the most comfortable in my home? What type of environment focuses my mind? What ignites my imagination? On the flip side, what distracts me? What makes my writing practice harder than it needs to be?

Whether it’s in your home or in a cafe near work or school, having a place that’s easy to get to increases the likelihood that you’ll actually go there and write. 

Here are a few points you’ll want to consider:

  • When do you plan to write? Do you prefer writing in the morning, afternoon, in the dead of night? If you’re writing during the day, ample natural lighting can help you stay focused. If you like to write at night, a full-spectrum light can do the same. Or maybe you’re a night owl who likes working in the dark. Whatever time you’re the most focused and productive, carve out some writing time in that part of the day.
  • Factor in your ideal noise level. If you find background noise distracting, seek out a quiet location. If you like to listen to music, remember to bring your headphones to your writing session. If the active buzz of a cafe helps you focus, plan to write at your favorite coffee shop. 
  • How much can you control or impact the space? Do you have space to post notes about your story, or visual references for your settings or characters? Littering your writing space with inspiration can give you that extra creative boost. 
  • Creature comforts matter. Is your chair comfortable enough to sit in for at least an hour? Do you have the right layers to keep yourself comfortable while you write? Are food and drink within arm’s reach, so you don’t need to take extra time to get up and eat?
  • Is there anything visual that helps you focus? Do you like to look at something specific, like an object that triggers your imagination? How about a beautiful view? Does it inspire you to watch people around you? Figure out whether you need sensory reduction or stimulation to get those words down on paper.

    Remember to Gather Your Tools

  • Water – Keep your mind sharp by staying hydrated
  • Notepad and pen for taking notes
  • Computer charger
  • An extra layer in case it gets cold
  • Headphones and an inspiring playlist of your favorite writing music
  • A writing trinket – Many successful writers keep a special item on their desk whenever they write
  • Snacks – Don’t write while hungry!
  • Reliable WiFi – We recommend investing in a mobile WiFi hotspot so you can provide your own WiFi when necessary

Setting Expectations for Others

This is especially important for those who are just starting out with their writing practice. 

Before you start writing, tell anyone who may call that you are going to be busy. Reach out to your spouse, coworkers, or anyone else who may interrupt you and let them know you’ll get back to them after you finish your writing session. If you are plugged into the digital world, consider posting on social media that you are going dark for an hour. 

Declaring your intentions to the world is a powerful way to focus yourself. Make it known that you will be unavailable for mundane tasks during your writing time. This is your time to bring focus to your craft without getting distracted by other people’s needs.

One Last Thing: Go Dark

Once you’re completely prepared and ready to start writing, all you have to do is put your phone on airplane mode and get started. It’s as simple as that. 

Published by Jeremy Thweatt

Shut Up & Write Outreach Director Jeremy Thweatt loves engaging the community through the monthly writing challenges and inspirational content about the craft of writing. He feeds his love of story through his personal science fiction project, playing games, and exploring the outdoors.

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