How to Set Up an Inspiring Writing Workspace
Written by
March 2020
Written by
March 2020

Because of the #COVID19 pandemic and the quarantine, most countries are imposing, a lot of people will have to change their routine and start working from home. While introverts rejoice because of this new opportunity to work from home, many others are worried that they won’t be able to adjust to the new routine. Working from home is much easier when you have a comfortable and inspiring workspace just for you, and if you’d like to create your own, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a few tips to help you set up an inspiring writing workspace. 

Far from the madding crowd

As comfortable as we might be in crowds and as much as we love hanging out with people, one thing’s for sure – it’s distracting. And distractions are terrible for writers because they steal our attention and make us lose focus. It’s impossible to get any work done when you’re writing in your living room while the rest of your family is watching TV, someone is in the kitchen preparing a meal, and someone else wants to know if they can have snacks. The noise itself can drive anyone insane, and holding onto coherent thoughts and ideas for your work seems like mission impossible. This is why you should find yourself a nice and quiet place where you can focus on your writing, and take it from there. 

Pick a spot

With so many wonderful places to work from out of our reach for a while, it’s time to find the places of our own. Those who are fortunate enough to be living in big houses can easily adapt one of the guest bedrooms into their home office and work from there. Attics and basements are also good places to set up one’s workspace, but it might take some work to make it comfortable. If you’re not able to get a spare room for you, you can always pick a part of another room and transform it into your workstation instead. All you need is a comfy corner of your bedroom or living room where you can set up your computer, and you’ll be good to go. Alternatively, people who live in apartments can sometimes write from their balconies or even take their laptops on the roof of their building. 

Get yourself a desk

No matter how inviting it might be to work from your bed or from the couch, you shouldn’t do that. Associating your workplace with the place you rest is bad for your psyche, and you should definitely sit behind a desk while you work. So many successful writers of our time have spoken openly about their own rooms where they have a desk and a chair and where they go to write that it would be crazy to ignore it. When you sit behind a desk, your back is going to be in a good position, and you will not be in pain from hunching. Your desk should be big enough for you to keep your computer on it, but it should also hold your papers, your cup of coffee or tea, and all of your notebooks where you write your ideas. You don’t want to get up and look for something every five minutes – it’s terrible for your flow!

Mind the chair

Just as your desk should be big enough to hold all of the things you desperately need while writing (such as books and coffee), you are going to need a really good ergonomic chair to sit on. If you’re planning on spending more than an hour sitting on that chair behind your desk, make sure you get a really comfortable one. We don’t mean that you should work from a fluffy armchair but rather from an ergonomic chair that will offer good support for your back and arms. Writing while hunched is terrible for your neck, a good chair will ensure that you stay comfortable enough and not be distracted by the pain in your neck and back. 

Embrace the natural light

Natural light is incredibly important for your health and well-being. You should make sure you get plenty of natural light during the day because it will help “set” your internal clock. What is more, when you have a good view from your window, you will find it much easier to concentrate and be inspired. On the other hand, if the light is too bright or hits a bad angle and makes you squint at your screen too much, it might be a good idea to get flexible window awnings and install them on the windows of your office or next to your desk. This way, you will still get plenty of natural light in the room but you’ll also be able to look at your screen without squinting and protect your eyes. When you’re done writing, just let the light in and bask in the sun. 

The sound of inspiration

There are two kinds of people: those who like to listen to music while they’re working and those who need absolute silence to concentrate. If you want to do your work responsibly, you should know which group you belong in. Those who are in the latter group could try working in the evening and using earplugs to block out any distracting noise coming from the household or the street. Those who like listening to music, on the other hand, should definitely try to find something that inspires rather than distracts them. Nice instrumental music works best for most people; you can find great lists of soothing and inspirational music on Spotify and YouTube, or you could find an online radio. 

Make it smell divine

There’s no way you’ll be writing a masterpiece if you keep looking around trying to find the source of the terrible smell. Nice scents can be not only soothing, but also inspiring, and you should make sure your workspace smells good so you can focus on your writing better. First things first: clean and disinfect everything, so there aren’t any suspicious stains or spills anywhere. Next, place a vase with your favorite fresh flowers on the desk or keep a potted plant on your windowsill. Scented candles are also a good idea, and you can pick your favorite scent: pine, lavender, vanilla, cinnamon, or citrus. If candles aren’t your ‘thing’, you can always make your own air fresheners using dried flowers or essential oils.

Decorate the place

We can’t stress how important it is to feel good at the place you’re spending a lot of time in. If you find bare walls too depressing, decorate them with artwork, pictures, photos, and posters that make you feel good. A photo of that special someone, your family, or your best friends in a nice frame on your desk or the shelf will make you feel like you’re not working alone. Also, writing down your goals and sticking that paper somewhere, you can see it will give you motivation when you’re feeling down. If you’re working from the corner of your room, lovely curtains, nice bedsheets, and even a fluffy carpet under your feet will make you feel comfortable and safe so you can focus on your writing better.

Declutter like a pro

There is a trap most people fall into: they collect things. Collecting seems harmless until you look around one day and can’t find anything because you have too much of everything on your desk, on the shelves, on the floor, and in the drawer. To make it easier to function, you should periodically declutter your workspace and toss out everything you no longer need. Empty lighters, crumpled pieces of paper with unfinished sentences, post-its with reminders, and wrapping papers of your favorite candies have no place on your desk or in your room. At least once a week, take a bag and clear out the clutter, which will inevitably accumulate. Don’t feel sentimental – the clearer the space you work in is, the clearer your mind will be.

Tips for night owls

So far we have mostly been focusing on people who like to write during the day, but not all people do. If you prefer working during the night and would rather sleep through the morning, that’s great. All you have to do is adjust your workspace so that it fits your needs. Get a good lamp and place it on your desk or next to it (you can get two lamps and use both if you want). Because you will be using more electricity, make sure you get good LED lights because these are much gentler on the eyes. Also, get yourself a nice thermos and keep your coffee close – you don’t want to get drowsy while you’re inspired, do you?

Finding inspiration sounds much easier than it is in reality, and you shouldn’t take it lightly. The way your workspace is organized and set up plays a huge role in the way you will perceive your work, and you should take time to make sure it’s just right for you. When you have a chance to create an inspiring workspace, you will find that you’re not as distracted, and you will be happier with your work. 

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  • Susan Morris

    Thanks for tips. For me the candle made all of the difference :)