Essentials for a Writing Zone

MANDY EVE-BARNETT

We all have personal preferences when it comes to how our homes are decorated and our writing zones are no exception. We want our creative space to reflect our tastes and personalities, but also our writing style. Whether we are a plotter or a panster, there are essentials for every writer’s space.

Location
Where we site our writing desk will have an impact on our writing process and inspiration. Do you want a spectacular view, for daydreaming or inspiration or is that too distracting? Will you face a window or a wall?

Desk
Writing desks are normally longer than a normal computer desk. This is due to the ‘extras’ a writer requires to create. See below. The work surface is between 20 and 30 inches deep and at least 24 inches wide. For maximum flexibility a conventional writing desk height is around 27 to 29 inches, with an adjustable shelf for the keyboard.

Seating
What we sit on is very important as we are stationary for long periods of time. A firm, supportive and adjustable chair is vital to ensure we do not suffer back problems. Seat height should be adjustable from 16 to 20 inches. Hunched over a keyboard is not the best posture for our bodies. There is also the option to invest in a standing desk and alternate between the two. No matter which option you use remember to stretch, walk and move your body periodically.

Multiple screens
This option is obviously restricted to the amount of space you have available for your writing zone. With two screens you can open your manuscript in one and have research resources, editing documents, inspirational and story images, etc. readily available on the other. This allows you to work without constantly popping up a new screen to refer to.

Blue light and anti- glare blockers

Using a back lit device for long periods of time does have consequences. It affects eye health and sleep, so invest in filters or blockers. There are many options to choose from.

Task lighting

A desk lamp with daylight or cool light bulbs will help as long as it is positioned to illuminate rather than cause more glare or reflections on your workspace. An adjustable lamp will allow you to reposition the light source at different times of the day and at night.

Position the lamp so there is no reflect on the computer screen. The illumination should should not put shadows across your work area. For example, if you’re right-handed, the light source should be on the left side of your desk.

Noise cancelling devices

In a perfect world we have no interruptions or distracting noises, other than what we choose. Whether you are a silence is golden, or music is a requirement type, having the ability to shut out disrupting noise is not just a luxury, but a necessity for our concentration. With the ability to choose our audio input – ocean waves (a personal favorite), bird song, soft jazz or rock and roll – we can cocoon ourselves when writing. With noise canceling devices you have the choice of what noise is allowed.

Resources

There are a multitude of resources that we reference when creating, editing or revising. Style and writing manuals, reference books, thesaurus, dictionary, marketing books, and research notes to name a few. You may prefer online versions of these, just keep in mind a physical book will allow your eyes to rest, while you read away from a screen.

Planner

There are many ways to use a planner, you may want to track your word count, hours writing, events to attend, check lists, objectives and goals. You may want to keep daily, weekly or monthly planners, it is personal choice and subject to how much input and time you wish to use for them. It is not, however an essential for everyone.

Pin/cork board

There are many uses for a wall hung board. It can be a vision board full of images of characters, locations, scenes etc. for your current manuscript. It can also be where you have created a physical plot arc. Or it may be images, mementos, photographs that inspire you.

Notebook and favorite writing utensils

As writers we all have notebooks (usually a stack!) and favored writing implements. A good pen with a smooth flowing action is a joy to use and a beautiful notebook (whether used or not) are treasured belongings. Both items are constant companions – on the bedside table, in the car, in the purse – and contain notes on those bursts of inspiration we insert into our writing.

Storage

Not everything can be stored digitally so a storage solution is required. You may convert a closet, use shelving or utilize free-standing units. This can be used for physical books, marketing and promotional items, tax forms, expense receipt, business cards and binders etc.

Fuel

I’m talking about food and drink, which are vital to keep your body hydrated and fed. Maintaining your water intake and restricting too many salty or sweet snacks will allow you to concentrate better.

Optional Extras

  • Mug warmer
  • Candles/diffusers
  • Blanket and cushions
  • Shawl
  • Flowers and plants

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