59. Design Your Writing Space

Does it really make a difference where you are as you sit down to write your book?

You better believe it absolutely does.

In this episode, we dive into how you can create a space that supports and catalyze your writing—even when it feels like there’s no private space in your home.

A well-designed writing space will help you write faster, better, and more consistently and efficiently.

Take the elements I mention into account, and set yourself up for success with your book.

Mentioned in This Episode

30-Minute Timed Writing Session

Jump-Start: A free guide to help you jump-start your nonfiction book.

Episode Transcript

Hey there and welcome to Nothing but the Words. I’m your author coach, Candice L Davis.

I hope your week and your writing are going well.

I’ve been thinking a lot about space this week.

Even though I’ve made some changes to my home office during the pandemic, it still isn’t exactly what I want it to be.

But that hasn’t stopped me from writing—largely because I rarely use my office as my writing space.

That’s the place where I coach clients in person or via Zoom.

It’s the place where I do a lot of planning and short content creation.

But when I’m writing a book, I tend to choose a different space in my house.

I’ve found the right space can make writing flow so much more easily.

Don’t get me wrong though.

I’ve written while sitting in my car in a parking lot, in the stands at a basketball game, and in the parents’ lobby at the local dance school.

I’ve written on airplanes and in the passenger seat of a car as we sped along the freeway.

You can write anywhere you can take your laptop, pen and paper, or even your phone.

I’ve written in coffee shops, cafes, hotel lobbies, and as soon as the world opens up a bit more, I’m sure I’ll go back to writing anywhere and everywhere.

But if you want to develop a writing habit and finish your book, I suggest you claim a specific space for writing.

I know writers who write at the kitchen table, in the laundry room, in the garage, in a shed, and even in bed. 

Honestly, I occasionally write in bed on weekends, but only when I need to shake things up.

Having a dedicated writing space can help your brain recognize that when you’re in this space, you’re here to write. 

Even after only a few writing sessions in the same space you’ll start to get into the flow more easily, but only if that space is conducive to creativity.

So let’s look at four elements of your creative writing space.

#1. The first element of a creative and productive writing space is comfort.

As you can imagine, I write a lot. And last year, I wrote myself into a bout of carpal tunnel in both wrists. 

I was able to resolve it with some simple exercises and a change in my work set-up.

You obviously don’t want to get into that situation, and you can google the right laptop setup to avoid unnecessary strain on your hands, wrists, neck, and shoulders.

But even if you’re not at risk for carpal tunnel, physical discomfort can give you an excuse to stop writing and go do something else.

So set yourself up to write in a comfortable space.

For months, my husband sat in a desk chair that was partially broken. 

He’s, shall we say, frugal, and didn’t see a reason to replace it even though it tilted to one side unless he shifted his weight just right.

For his birthday, our daughters and I got him a new chair.

And I’m willing to bet his writing is more productive without that distraction.

Even if it’s not, I feel better, so it’s a win.

You don’t need a huge, decked out writing oasis as your dedicated writing space.

But you do need a space that’s comfortable enough that you’re not distracted by discomfort.

The one place I write in my office is a club chair that sort of embraces me when I sit in it.

Keep in mind that an important part of comfort is the ability to work uninterrupted.

Depending on how big, how small, or how crowded your house is, this can be the biggest challenge in creating a comfortable writing space.

When my kids were little, I taught them to respect the “do not disturb” sign on my door.

If you need to, work with your family and teach them to respect your writing time and space, even if it’s in what’s typically a communal area of the house.

Trust me. They can learn. There were times when I had to work at the dining room table, and we made it work.

#2. The second element of your creative writing space is sound.

Some authors prefer to write in complete silence.

Others prefer a level of ambient noise or music.

I like silence in the early morning hours before the sun comes up.

But during the day, I sometimes write while listening to videos online of café sounds, which include music and the ambient noise of a coffee shop.

Or I’ll write while listening to instrumental music.

I never think it’s a good idea to have lyrics playing while you write.

If you enjoy music at all, it’s too easy to get caught up in those words instead of your own.

I’ll listen to baroque classical music, new age music—whatever that means, it’s a channel offered as part of our cable service—or something in between.

If you go to candiceldavis.com/session, you’ll find a 30-minute timed writing session you can write along to, and you’ll hear some of the kind of music I put on when I’m writing.

#3. The third element of your creative writing space is inspiration.

Obviously, I have lots of books in my writing space. 

Sometimes, I’ll read a few pages of a book that inspires me before I start a writing session.

I also have books I’ve written and books written by my friends and clients in that space.

I have gifts given to me by my writing friends and clients as well.

Depending on what I’m writing, I might have a picture of my one perfect reader or a character in my book posted where I can see it while I’m writing.

Sometimes, I’ll design a fake book cover and put that on the wall.

Whatever inspires you to write and reminds you of your book goals can be a great addition to your writing space.

And it doesn’t have to be anything big.

My dear writing friend and client Dolley Carlson gave me an angel years ago. It’s probably four inches tall, but it inspires me to write when I see it.

#4. Element number four of your creative writing space is aroma.

You probably know where I’m going with this.

If you’re an incense person, go for it.

That’s not really my thing but I do like scented candles made from safe, natural ingredients.

I also love the smell of fresh flowers.

If you can keep whatever scent you choose unique to your writing space and your writing time, you’ll find it can become a trigger for your creative process.

I bought my husband a pipe tobacco-scented candle, and every time I smell it, my thoughts turn to writing.

So I guess I should buy one for myself, huh?

For you, it might be the smell of coffee or your favorite tea. 

But if you can uniquely associate it with your writing time, it’s more likely to become a trigger for your writing process.

#5. And that brings us to element number five of your writing space: taste.

Just like smell, taste can be powerfully evocative.

I used to drink coffee in the morning and tea while I wrote in the evenings. For years, that was a part of my writing space.

Don’t get crazy with this one though.

I have a friend who ate candy bars while she wrote her first book, and you can imagine what the results of that were.

I don’t like to eat while I work at all, so for me, this is almost always a beverage. 

It can be as simple as putting cucumber slices in your water when you write. You just want to have something special reserved for your writing time.

So to recap, the five elements of your creative writing space are comfort, sound, inspiration, smell, and taste. None of them require you to have a dedicated writing room.

You can pick a corner of your bedroom, one end of your dining room table, or whatever space you have available to you.

Make it your own even if you have to pack all your things in a pretty box at the end of each writing session.

Keep coming back to that space. Keep setting it up with the things that inspire you and help you shift your mind into writing mode.

Within a few weeks it will feel like you’ve always written there, and you’ll find more often than not the words will flow.

That’s it for this week’s episode, my friends.

If you’re ready to get started on your book, visit CandiceLDavis.com/jumpstart and grab my free guide to get started writing the book I know you have in you.

Thanks for listening to Nothing but the Words. I’m Your Author Coach Candice L Davis. And I’ll see you next time.

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