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Preparing your workspace. 
30th-Sep-2006 11:11 pm
In preparation for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I decided that the first thing to do was clear out my workspace.

According to The Freelance Writer's Handbook by Andrew Crofts, "To write successfully you need to be completely comfortable in whatever space you choose to set up in. It doesn't matter where it is, as long as you're happy to go there. It could be a broom cupboard under the stairs, as long as it brings you peace of mind, allowing you to forget the rest of the world exists for several hours at a time, like returning to the womb.".

I've read a lot of books on the subject of writing, and it seems one thing is abundantly clear with all of them: the need for a dedicated space in which to write. Moira Allen, in her article "First Things First: What You Need to Get Started" on http://www.writing-world.com, says:

"The very first thing you need to establish is a place to write. While some writers have launched their careers from a corner of the kitchen table, it helps immensely to have a space -- even a very small space -- that you can call your own. Most writers feel that this space also requires a door that can be closed against interruptions, distractions, and family members."

She goes on to list the basic requirements of a workspace:

  • A desktop (even if it's a table) for your computer

  • Good lighting for your computer and reading areas

  • A flat surface to spread out notes, books, and other materials

  • A place to file research notes, articles, correspondence, etc.

  • A place to store your writing supplies

  • A handy shelf for your most useful reference books

  • A chair that provides good back support

A good thing to remember is that, while you may have this dedicated writing space, it doesn't necessarily have to be the most organised space on the planet. Ultimately, if you can find whatever it is you're looking for without to much trouble and can understand the notes you may have scribbled down and are now about to include in your writing, then organisation is not your priority. This works out quite nicely for me. I'm certainly not the most organised person around, I prefer to think of my workspace as "organised chaos"! But de-cluttering my desk of all the magazines, old bills, receipts and programs from places I've visited over the last six months has definitely been a bonus. Not only can I now move my arms around without knocking a great pile of paperwork to the floor, but I feel emotionally de-cluttered and ready to start writing! Give it a try, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Next week: Making time to write.
1st-Oct-2006 01:49 pm (UTC)
Oooh NaNoWriMo. I had had such a great idea for a novel last year but never went through with it. This year it looks as though I'm going to be just as busy! I would love to do it sometime though...
19th-Oct-2006 02:21 pm (UTC)
just a word on those reference books, I have a couple of useful things I keep or want near my desk space:


Ryhme Dictionary - This is a dictionary that you can look up a word and it will give you a list of all the words that ryhme with it! Pretty nifty but I can't find one!!

Book of Qoutes - I have an oxford dictionary of qoutes, very good if you want to appear well read but it is sorted by person and not by content so good luck finding something that pretains to what you are writing about

Dream Journal - this is one to keep by your bed side so you can write dreams down as soon as you wake up. I happen to just have paper EVERYWHERE I go so I can jot down an idea the moment I get it...and I do mean EVERYWHERE!

Pictures - This is something Id love to play around with. I was thinking of getting a photo album (or a folder on my desktop for digital pics) This will allow you to literally visualize a setting. I haven't tried it yet, and it would require someone who takes photos of all the places they go, but it would be a helpful idea I think.

One more thing about desk space: location, location, location! You need to be in comfortable surroundings, I prefer being near a large window and to have an array of knic knacs all over the place! The abundance of interesting things helps me be inspired!
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