Friday, March 29, 2019

Considerations for Your Home Writing Space

     I have been asked many times if I write at home or go somewhere to write. I do a mix. If you work at home, do you need a private office? No. That said, a private desk or corner is important.

     Clutter may not bother you, but it can distract you. You don’t need a fancy desk, but a reasonably clear writing surface can keep you focused.

     I bought two sets of kitchen drawers (they’re about 42 inches high) and placed a hollow wood door on them. Plenty of room for supplies, and table space for a couple of printers as well as the laptop.

     However, doors are big. When we moved to an apartment, I ditched the door and got the local Lowe’s store to cut a piece of particle board to a size that fit the space I needed.

     If you think this is a high desk, it is. I can stand as I write, or adjust the desk chair so it’s high enough to sit. If you always want to sit, put the board on a couple of two-drawer file cabinets.

     Some considerations for an efficient writing space are: 

  • Good lighting. That can mean an overhead or desk lamp, and a spot without glare from the windows.
  • Comfortable temperature. If you can’t control it, have a fan or lap blanket. 
  • Table and chair at a height that does not give you a stiff neck. You need to look straight ahead and, if in a straight chair, keep your feet flat on the floor and the keyboard on your lap.
  • Good recliner posture. If you write or edit in a recliner, use a lap desk or across-the-chair table so you can look straight ahead
  •  Safe distance from the kitchen. Some people eat if they can’t think of what to write, others to reward themselves after finishing a chapter. No problem if you can usually think what to write or you compose long chapters. The rest of us have been known to nosh too much.
  • Minimal media disturbance. Background music can be soothing, but if you tell Alexa to play rock or rap, that’s where your mind will travel. Television? Hard to imagine getting much done with the tube on.
  • Minimal visual distraction. Lots of photos or the weekend to-do list on the bulletin board in front of you will let your mind roam.
  • Research in easy reach. If you have folders with articles for reference, have them accessible. Same with a thesaurus or dictionary. However, if I have a huge pile of research materials, I can lose myself in them. Same with going from one web page to another.
        If little feet patter through your house, make sure tiny hands can’t grab a hanging cord and pull a printer on their heads.

      Finally, take a break. That writing space will be an even more efficient place to work if you take a morning or afternoon walk or jog. 
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