Fortress of Solitude: The Writer’s Sanctuary

Creating a space in which to write is crucial for us all, but it looks different for everyone. Whether you enjoy a truly solitary space without distractions or flourish within the chaos of busy bodies around you, creating a space that will inspire and feed your creativity is the key here.

So, how do you go about that exactly?

  • Location

    • Type of Space – First, you will need to decide what type of space you are needing. Ask yourself,  “Where do I get the most writing accomplished?”. Are you at home in your kitchen with animals and family members in and out all the time? Do you get most of your work done in a cafe, with quiet sounds of distant chatter but no one to bother you directly?
    • Lighting –  I suggest a spot with a window for some natural light. However, if you are usually writing at night, as we often are, then a night lamp with good strong light is essential. Make sure that you have selected a bulb which emits a soft, warm light that is similar to the sun. Do not select fluorescent bulbs.
    • Orientation –  This sounds strange, I know. I’m not suggesting that if you select a space which is north-facing you will tempt the gods of creativity to shine their favor on you. (Ha Ha). What I mean by this is that the way the room faces will play a role in how warm it is in daylight hours and will determine if you get sunrise or sunset light.
    • Privacy – Are you a solitary writer? I you get your best work done in the late hours when everyone is asleep and leaves you alone, or when going to a coffee shop, putting in earbuds and ignoring everyone, then your space needs to be conducive to that. If you are a social writer, where you get a ton of work done while chatting intermittently with a friend, then having space to add a friend into your mix may be a good idea. Solitary writers tend to need a door and a separate room for their writing space while social writers are good to have space in the hub of the home.
  • Furniture

    • Desk/writing surface –  Are you a clutter bug or a minimalist? Some creatives work well in a sort of ordered chaos environment. Piles of paper, scattered notes, etc. If this is the case, ask yourself if you are truly thriving or if you find that you are needing just a bit more organization. A larger surface area may or may not work for you. Personally, I need more space to spread out. I have a water cup, coffee/tea, notebook and my laptop to contend with while writing. Make sure you take stock of what you typically have on-hand prior to selecting your writing surface.
    • Seating – Desk chairs are a personal preference item, so be sure that you have good writing posture, and have nice lumbar support for those marathon writing sessions. We don’t want any numb butts here. The other seating you may want to consider in your writing space is a comfy reading chair or even a sleeper sofa if you are using a guest room/office space.
    • Lighting – Desk lamps, standing lamps, overhead lighting…just make sure it is bright enough to work and read without straining your eyes.
  • Aesthetic 

    • Again, a personal preference. I tend to tweak my space based upon the project I’m working on. I use my writing space as another muse. Maps, character boards, story and chapter storyboards can be helpful when writing and these typically adorn my space. The music I play will also change based on the atmosphere I’m wanting to create, and this changes based upon where I am in the project as well. 

    • Decorative items may change based on the project so having storage for some of these items may be useful. If your space includes a large bookshelf, tucking away the ones you aren’t using as much and keeping the current items within your line-of-sight while writing can change the aesthetic and help to move your progress along.
    • Add plants! They clean the air and provide some much needed life to your space. If you don’t have a green thumb, try succulents as they need very little care.

A writing space is as personal as the writer’s own mind and should reflect not only you as a writer but also your work. Keeping a few of these things in mind, make the space your own and don’t be afraid to nix anything that isn’t working for you. Just because you love the look, doesn’t mean it is helping you create your best work.

“Keep your heart open, a suitcase packed, and wonder often for the world is wide and adventure awaits.” – Emylee

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