I like to think of my writing space the same way I do my altar space–you can make anything work with the right setup and a bit of creative thinking. My altar has been on my dresser, on top of a wardrobe, and at one point a tiny decorative box next to my bed, behind a couch, on a living room floor (ah, my first year on my own). My writing space is no different. Your writing space does need to have a few requirements, just like my altar does, but A Real Desk is not one of them.
This is going to sound a little weird to some of you, and to others it’s going to make perfect sense. You need to feel safe where you’re writing in that if you have a bad day, or you’re feeling anxious, or you simply dig into The Real Life Experience and start crying uncontrollably, you can do so without feeling awkward or out of place. Writing is digging, sometimes you’re pulling out some heavy emotional shit, and you can’t do without a safe environment.
You need to be able to work without noise. You do. Even if you think you don’t. Writing happens when you’re in control, and you don’t want someone watching TV in the next room to throw off your rhythm. For me, I need to be in control of the noise being made, but I need my own noise to make the world noise fuck off. This alternates from my 8tracks collections (link to my personal account) to ambient noise (link to slytherin house). You can also do this by simply putting in a pair of earplugs. If you’re going to be writing sans computer, I highly recommend the Relax Sounds app for ambient noise. For music on the go, 8tracks has wonderful playlists themed just for writers. You can save them all into collections for hours upon hours of mood music.
Your space needs to always be available to you. You don’t want to be working around a weird schedule and then get thrown off because Life Happened or your boss changed up your hours so now your coffee house or library or what have you is closed. You don’t want to be scheduling around your roommates for common space–trust me, you don’t. You want to be able to write whenever the mood strikes.
It goes without saying that you need to be comfortable while you write. This could mean investing in a nice pen or a good keyboard. I recommend something with a good grip like a SARASA or even a fountain pen (the lack of pressure needed to write helps my hands a lot) or the Logitech Wave keyboard for typing. You need to have good back support–you don’t want to hurt yourself for your art (its not cool kids its just bad for your health). You also need to be warm/cool, so if you’re planning to carve out the garage or a shed, be prepared to have a really safe heater and a really nice fan.
Where do I write: in my bedroom. I have two desks–neither of them are for writing. Neither of them are in my bedroom. I have my lovely glass Z-line desk for editing–its got a Serta office chair that keeps my bad back in line. I have an old wooden desk that I picked up at a Goodwill with lots of drawers and a nice lip around the top to keep things from rolling off–thats what where I do my engraving and other jewelry work, as well as clothes studding and patches.
My writing space? Its my bed. With one of those Sit Up pillows. My bed has all of the above. I have slippers and blankets to keep my warm, and cat cuddles for comfort. It’s always open to me, and I can work for hours here without disturbance. While I will do revision at the desk, simply because I like my keyboard settings for this specific task, I write most of the time on my Toshiba laptop, and so that is in essence my writing space.
If you’re feeling a little out of it stressed or lost for inspiration, you can always get out of the house. My personal favorites are my local library–there is nothing better for me than to walk into a library and be reminded that I too can get on these fucking shelves if I just keep working at it. You may even be able to find a copy of a great writing magazine to thumb through if you need a little pick me up. If the weather happens to be cooperating (I live in Massachusetts, so this is as rare as a white tiger) I will go outside and write on my deck or my yard or the local park. I don’t do coffeehouses–too many people for me. But if it works for you, fucking do it.
None of these places have a writing desk.
And thats the point. You don’t need a writing desk, or a battle shed (though damn, wouldn’t that be great). All you really need is peace and quiet, some place comfy, and the basic tools of the craft. Your physical writing space doesn’t need to be your bed. It can be a chair at home in a corner you like with a collapsible table you bring out when its Writing Time. It can be a seat at your kitchen table (if you live alone or with people who are quiet as mice). It can be anything, anywhere, that suits your needs.
If you like what you’ve read here, be sure to subscribe to our website here at Word Vagabond, and stay tuned for our next installment–all about carving out a digital writing space, completely organized and custom tailored for you.