You know that writers write…but did you know your writing spaces matters significantly?
You’re a writer when you put your pen on your paper and create words that combine together to form a sentence. You’re a writer when you stroke the keyboard and type out an email. You’re a writer when you comment on a Facebook post.
The fact is, you’re a writer whenever and wherever you add anything in writing in a physical or virtual location—but especially if you’re writing a book.
But where should you write? What makes a great writing space? And how do you create one?
You’re going to learn about my favorite writing spaces and tools for where to write and creating a writing space.
Writing Spaces at Home
Creating a writing space at home is not difficult and can generally be done without spending a lot of money. I am lucky enough to have my own writing office, but even without that, you can still create a space that is just for you and your writing.
Here are a few tips to start building your writing space:
Clear off the corner of your table. (It might mean that you throw away the mountain of mail you’ve been meaning to open or you finally put your laundry away, but a corner of a table will do just fine for this).
Find a paper and pencil, pen and notepad, or a computer.
Put your tools in that space and you’ve built a writing space.
Tell your kids, your significant other, or your cat (although best of luck on training the feline) that this is your space and it is protected in a magical bubble where only you are allowed!
Now, you have a writing space – where you can do what writers do, write.
If you have a small budget (less than $100) to set up a writing space, you can scour buy, sell, trade groups for small writing desks. My husband found this gem of a writing desk for $75 on a local Facebook swap site.
I use it to journal during my morning routine (don’t forget to check out Chandler’s morning routine video) and outline things with good old-fashioned pen and paper.
Once my brain dumping to my journal is finished, I often transition to a more standardized office desk where I have my computer set up.
So if your budget is a little higher, between $300 – $500, you can buy an office desk from a used furniture store and get a nice desk, with delivery and set-up.
This helps you feel like you’re in more of a work mode and will be able to get things done
Perhaps you have a grand budget to use. You can go to a higher-end furniture store and buy a cherry or an oak desk for $1000-$2000. But, it is absolutely not necessary.
So, if you have have as little as $0 or as much as $2000+ dollars to spend, you can set up a writing space at home for you to meet your daily writing goals.
Where to Write Outside of Your Home
Really, anywhere? Sure, you can go anywhere to write. I have some places that I recommend and some places that I would stay away from, but you can write anywhere.
Most writers have a favorite coffee shop. I have three. I love writing at a chain coffee shop when I need a little more background noise. It helps me zone into my rough draft writing and I work well when I am surrounded by others, coffee in hand, and can dedicate my time to writing. There’s also an independent coffee shop that I enjoy going to.
During NaNoWriMo we had some of our write-ins there. I love that it was designed so that at any table there is a spot where we can plug in our devices and type away.
I find this particularly useful when I am needing some motivation from being around other creatives, as there’s also a wall of art that changes frequently.
Finally, I really like a pay-it-forward cafe that has a community table where I can go when I need to concentrate on editing. Sometimes the different niches help me out the most so that I can focus on doing what writers do – write!
Here are some ideas for writing spaces outside our home:
Your front or back porch
It will depend on what you’re writing though as to which works the best.
Anywhere that you can go with your notebook, computer, or your phone is a location that you can write.
So, there you have it! You can write anywhere that you can take a writing device.
These are my overall recommended writing spaces:
An area of your home, dedicated to writing
A local coffee shop
A shared office
A friend’s house
Anywhere that you can take a writing device
Which Online Writing Spaces to Use
On a notebook, a computer, a phone. Anywhere that you can record words and be a writer. Because that’s what a good writer does, you write.
Personally, I prefer to outline, mindmap, prewrite with a good old-fashioned pen and paper. But I know many writers who prefer to do their prewriting in a Google Doc, on Scrivener, Microsoft Office 365 or in a similar space online.
Be sure that no matter where you decide to write that you are free from distractions and that you write.
Once you have your prewriting done, then you can move into creating a first draft.
This is when I generally switch over from pencil and paper to an electronic format. I open up my Google Doc and I make an electronic version of my outline. This is important, because then I can quickly move from place to place in my document.
After I outline on my Google Doc, I move into writing out sentences. At this point, I don’t necessarily worry about whether or not I am writing cohesive sentences, I just get words on the paper, because I am doing what writers do—they write.
If you’re not a Google Docs person, there are other tools out there that you can use to capture your words electronically.
The most well-known is Microsoft Word.
This is great if you always have access to it, which is possible with Office 365, but for me, Google Docs works better.
Scrivener is another tool that you can use to capture all your ideas, outlines, and planning in one place. The best thing about this is that it’s web-based, so you access it anywhere that you have access to the internet. Most writers that use this tool absolutely love it—so let us know if you have it and you love it.
Finally, if you’re driving and have ideas come to you, you can capture them with a speech-to-text app and then transfer them to a word processing document later.
This is particularly useful, as I often have ideas come to me when I am traveling.
Do not let the excuse of “I don’t have a writing space” hold you back from writing, because with very few tools (most are free or minimal cost), you have a writing space or a location to write.
Writing Spaces Tips for Beginners
Setting up a writing space is not always easy, but you know you want to write and you need to have a space to do what writers do: write!
So here are some tips to help you.
#1 – Use your at-home writing space for writing
You wouldn’t take a bath in the kitchen sink, right?
Right! Don’t use your writing space for other activities – only use it for writing.
“But I only have one computer – where else do I go to get on Facebook, watch YouTube, or pay my bills?”
I am guessing that if you’re like my family, you have a mobile computer – a laptop, a surface, an iPAD, or something similar. For the purpose of writing at-home, make sure that the device goes to the designated spot you have set up for that.
Then move when you’re not writing.
When we move to specific places to accomplish a task, our brains engage in those tasks and we are able to focus on doing what writers do – write.
#2 – Block out noise with headphones
You will be distracted. If you’re writing at home and have children, your kids will distract you. If you’re writing at a coffee shop, there will be other customers (hey, you want coffee shops to have customers – that’s what keeps them in business and gives you a space to write).
Invest in some headphones. Our brains can process doing other things with music – or white background noise. Create some by tuning into your favorite playlist.
I personally find meditation music especially helpful for this.
#3 – Set a timer
Equip your writing space with a timer. I, personally, usually have enough self-discipline to use my phone as a timer, but I love my Google Home Mini for this too.
Simply say, “Hey Google – Set timer for 25 minutes.” Twenty-five minutes is my magic number to get a lot of words written in a relatively short amount of time.
#4 – Write in the same place, at the same time
Whether you write as a part of your morning writing routine, when you get home from work, or some other time of day, write in the same place at the same time.
That’s why it’s important for you to have some kind of writing space – even if it’s only the corner of the table.
#5 – Write when inspiration hits too
Keep a dedicated writing space, but don’t forget about diving into the spontaneity of writing also.
That’s why I keep my Google Doc app on my phone.
I can make brief notes and then splice them together into coherent sentences later.
Writing Space Tips from Famous Authors
The advice from almost any best-selling author is to always be ready to write – anywhere. You never know where inspiration will hit, so always have something to record your thoughts.
Brandi Parsons is a freelance writer, author, and educator. She published her first book in April of 2019, Kidnapped Asylum - inspired by the true story of African immigrants seeking political asylum in the United States. She strives to be the change in other people’s world. Currently Brandi is the president-elect of the PTA at her children’s school where she is also a paraeducator. She is the videographer and blogger for Adventures in Cooking with Tori, a book blogger, and is currently writing a blog series about a non-swimmer’s journey to a swimmer.