Writing Advice / Writing Inspiration

writing spaces

A lot of writers have a specific ‘space’ where they do all their writing, whether it’s their bedroom, a library or the hallway closet. I’m really fascinated by how particular we writers are, and how important these spaces are in getting our creativity going.

Here’s a link to some famous author sheds. Turns out a lot of writers used to have little huts filled with books and a comfy chair and everything adorable and perfect. I want one!

I have two spaces. My bed where most of my short stories and poems are hatched, and my desk where I am now. It’s got my thesauruses (yep, plural), dictionary, my beloved Strunk and White, a writing award I got in year 10 and even a pair of earplugs.

But why is it so important that we have these spaces? Why do we need these little nooks to tuck ourselves away and scribble? Stephen King said that we need to “write with the door closed”, to avoid any distractions and focus entirely on the writing.

Do you write with your door closed? I usually forget. It’s probably the reason I don’t get much done. Maybe I need a shed.

I’m curious about what kind of lengths writers (you guys) go to when trying to write. Do you surround yourself with reference books like I do, or do you keep it clean and just whip out pen and paper? Do you play music, or do you need silence?

When you think about it, so many of us are like divas and rockstars, the high maintenance creatives who need 53 red jellybeans and a white mink coat before they go on stage. Okay, maybe not the mink coat. But we definitely need our own space. And a bag or two of jellybeans wouldn’t go astray.


11 thoughts on “writing spaces

  1. I do the digital equivalent of shutting the door, and close my web browser unless I must open it to use the dictionary or something. I’m much less particular about my physical space. Sometimes I write at my desk, and sometimes I just sit on the couch, or work out on the deck if the weather is nice. If I feel like getting out of the house, I go to a coffee shop or the library. That being said, I still dream of having a beautiful home library/office.

    • Oh wow, you’re pretty lucky to be able to write anywhere. I like a dark room and quiet, personally. And I’m the same, always wanted a library. It’d be a dream come true!

  2. Thanks for the great link Kyra 🙂 I loved seeing those writing sheds. I wonder how many writers dream of having one? I have my desk in the spare room, very cluttered 😦
    I need a shed to write ‘The Great Australian Novel’ but I need the proceeds from the novel to be able to build the shed…think I’ll just keep making the best of my desk 🙂

  3. I do my blog posts and other non-fiction sitting at my desk in the basement under my apartment (it’s finished… not a dungeon. Though that might be cool). Fiction first drafts are done on a different laptop whilst sitting on my bed, then I transfer via flash drive and revise on the basement computer. Thanks, your question made me realize how neurotic I am.

    My fantasy is to have an apartment in a really old building in NY that is only used for writing and no one knows I’m there.

    • Haha, not neurotic at all! I think a lot of writers have particular ways to go about writing. Having two distinct areas for different kinds of work makes sense to me, because I’m the same. I like the idea of physical spaces putting our minds in certain spaces. I know when I sit down at my desk I’ll be doing more serious writing, but if I’m on my bed I can be more creative.

      I’ve always thought it would be cool to have a loft, just a whole other level to myself to work in :]

  4. Hi Kyra – I suppose my situation might be a little different. You see, I work from home in my office downstairs (we have a two story house). I’m a programmer and spend the day writing software. By night, I’m a wannabe writer, so the obvious place to write is in my office. So I guess you could call it my “hut”. It’s pretty comfortable. Behind me are all my books (mostly the books I collect, but also reference books for writing). Much of the time, I’ll write with my door open, but I do like closing it to minimize distractions. I also like to use my headphones and listen to “writing” music. As for using pen and paper, I remember that many years ago I wrote most of my first (unpublished) book this way. I thought it worked out well, though I didn’t really like having to type it all into the computer. I haven’t done that again. These days, I use Scrivener for all my writing.

    • I can imagine the typing up would be annoying, but I suppose it would force you to re-read and inevitably edit your work into a new draft.

      And I know of others who need music to write, but I just can’t do it! Even if it’s music without lyrics, it’s just too distracting, so I need quiet. Does the music ever influence your writing? Say, does the tone of voice come out differently depending on the song, or do you get ideas from lyrics or anything? I’m curious… Maybe, I need to make a blog post about “writing music” 😛

      • I absolutely can’t write to music with lyrics. I can work to it, but not write. Often, I write while listening to movie soundtracks. Other times, I like to listen to various types of ambient music, depending on my mood. As far as influencing my writing, I think it does tend to steer me creatively in certain directions, and it does seem to help me focus on my writing. But then again, there are times where I simply enjoy writing in silence.

        And yes, write a blog about writing music 🙂

  5. Pingback: writing and music | little rockets

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