Writing Spaces

Writing_the Life

Productive habits, caffeine, a teeny bit of talent and imagination, and lots and lots of discipline, these are a big part of what it takes to write. A good way to develop said habits is by creating and practicing some simple rituals around your writing. Things like setting aside a regular writing time, making a pot of tea (or coffee, or cocoa, or whatever), closing the office door, turning off the TV (very important, and not just for writing), lighting a candle, starting some dedicated writing music…you get the idea.

It might seem silly—at first—but having some simple habits works. They are a signal to that annoying, nagging part of your brain that it’s time to get to work (especially important with so many other distractions so nearby. Brain: “Go on, hop onto the internet for a minute, a minute won’t matter…” Believe me, it’s never a minute and it really does matter.) As soon as I start preparing to write, putting on the tea pot, turning on the music, starting the computer, I feel my brain switching into work mode. By having and then consistently using productive habits, I’ve set up signals that tell the troublesome nag that like it or not, we’re getting to work. So, like a sulking child, he plops on the couch and leaves me be.

One of the best things I’ve done habit-wise was to create a dedicated space to work in. I’m lucky enough to have a small (virtually microscopic) office of my own. It’s not even a room; it’s just the landing at the top of the steps in my house. But I claimed a corner of the landing, found a way to get a small desk and chair in there, and a-la peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I have an office. Don’t have a little corner of a landing, then your office might be the end of the kitchen table, a briefcase full of your tools and notes that when you open it you’re in your office, maybe it’s a lap desk you use in your favorite armchair. Aside from being a signal to your brain, being in your office can be a good signal to friends and family that you are at work and, even though it may look to them like you’re doing nothing, it’s in their best interest to leave you be for a few hours.


Actually I don’t have a single space, not really, not anymore. My girls have (despite my forbidding them to) grown up, moved out, and started their very own lives. Also, my house is old, and drafty, and not very well heated, so I have a small table set up on my porch right beside my wood stove. It’s warm, and cozy, and my wife is very respectful and lets me be while I’m writing. In the nice weather I can also sit outside on our deck, or out on the lawn in a recliner, and type away.

I’m also a fan of the local coffee shops (I’m lucky to have several in my area, some within bicycle range). I’m an early bird by nature (please don’t hate me for it). I generally rise around 4:30. I’ll sit at home and write for a couple of hours, and when I start to get a little antsy, I’ll ride (bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, or (please, no) the car) to the coffee shop and write there a bit just for the change. Also, I find the muted sounds of ambient conversations relaxing. Like it says in my profile, I’m weird.

So what are your productive writing habits? You may have some and not even realize they were there until you thought about them. Care to share? Then please drop a comment below, I’d love to hear, I might even want to steal one or two.

Tallyho, yo.

Jazz_Cover_Crash Down_Small

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