What does an inspiring writing space or home office look like? It depends, of course, entirely on the personality, space, and budget of the writer. There are some things that are a given while others are a matter of personal taste.
1. A supportive chair
Face it. Writers spend a lot of time sitting down. Besides obesity (whole ‘nother topic there!), sitting a lot can lead to back trouble. A good quality chair is your most valuable asset. Look for something that fits your body and has decent lumbar support. Make sure it is adjustable. Some people like arms on their chair—I don’t. I find they get in the way. Most office chairs have removable arms, so you can do it either way. A good chair will last you many years and is the best investment you can make.
2. A computer
Yes, I put that that second! Sadly your computer isn’t likely to last as long as your chair. Whether you prefer Macs (I do) or PCs, your computer is vital to your ability to write and get connected. Yes, they used to write out their manuscripts long-hand and then type them on an old school typewriter, but computers are necessary these days. I prefer a laptop, as it’s portable and can go with me to work, on vacation, or to a coffee shop. I like having everything all in one place. Some people have both and use something like DropBox to keep their files synced.
3. A desk
Make sure the desk is at the right height for you and your chair. This is much lower than most people think. Your chair should be adjusted so your feet rest flat on the floor. Your keyboard should be at a height where your shoulders are not hunched while typing. You may also need a space the right height for spreading out research material and writing notes by hand, which is likely to be a few inches higher. An L-shape works well for this. You don’t need a large space for just your laptop or keyboard.
4. A Printer
Many writers swear by a laser printer. If you can afford one, go for it. I have a mid-quality Canon that has served me well for many years. In this era of electronic transfer, I don’t need it often for official purposes, but it’s still useful to have.
5. A Bookshelf
This should go without saying! Find a spot in your writing space for your favorite how-to-write books, baby naming books (so helpful for naming characters), a dictionary and thesaurus, your copy of The Elements of Style, and of course, books by authors you admire.
- 12 essentials for your writing space: click to tweet
- What do you need in a writing space? More than a computer and a desk! click to tweet
6. A Whiteboard
Aka a dry-erase board, this is a vital piece of a workspace. Mine is 48″x36″. I keep a to-do list down one side of it and leave the majority of it open for mindmapping exercises as I have need of them, which is several times a week. I buy every color of dry-erase pens to make the board more fun. :)
7. An Inspiration Board
An inspiration board is simply a bulletin board, but mine is made of donnaconna board (a soundproof building material) and covered with linen and two strips of pretty fabric. At 48″x36″, it’s too large for my current space (but was perfect in my previous office). I use it for character images, maps, house plans, and other print-outs it’s useful to have available to glance at when I need a bit of inspiration. Anything that relates to the story I currently have on the go. Think of it as a Pinterest board right over your desk. (Mine is over the other leg of the L from my laptop).
8. File Storage
Electronic files should be backed up online via something like DropBox. It’s great to have more backups like a thumb drive and an external hard drive. Your paperwork—printouts, research, images, etc—also need to be stored, though. You may need a filing cabinet. I use a cardboard file box with folders for each story. Each contains a spiral bound notebook I’ve used for revision notes and all the contents of the inspiration board when I’ve moved on to a new project.
9. Inspiring Décor
The décor in your writing space needs to be conducive to your creativity. Use colors that make you happy. If you like bright, happy hues, bathe your walls in them. If you think better surrounded in deeper colors, go for it. If you have any wall space left, consider original art that makes you smile. Make sure this space embraces you.
10. A Window
I know not everyone has the option of a long view from their office but, if you can, place your writing desk in front of it. Your eyes need the chance to adjust to distance after staring at a backlit screen for too long. It’s even better if you have a view of something natural, like a flower garden, a lake, or mountains rather than city streets. Soak in some nature and allow your mind to rest.
11. Embrace Your 5 Senses
While colors, views, and art speak to your soul through your eyes, what can you include to wake up your other senses? Music is great for your ears, if you can work to it (I can’t). Try a desktop fountain. Purring kitties are nice, too, and double as a texture for your sense of touch! You may like a scented candle or a vase of fragrant blossoms to tantalize your nose. And, while you need to be careful not to spill things on your keyboard, having flavorful, healthy snacks at your elbow can be great, too. I love sugar snap peas and grapes.
12. Creature Comforts
What do you need handy to keep your writing time running smoothly? For me, it’s hand lotion and a water bottle. Consider buying a reusable stainless steel water bottle rather than buying bottled water. Beware of too much caffeine, and especially of all the chemicals in pop (or whatever you call it where you live: soda, coke, etc). You might need a heater or a blanket. Or a window air-conditioning unit. A good lamp for evening work. Whatever you need to keep you comfortable, make sure it’s easily available!
Here are 40 work spaces of famous artists and authors. What do you think? Do any of these welcome you?
What do you need in your writing space?
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net