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  • Nina Lane

Create Your Space

There's one thing all authors and artists have in common -- we need a PLACE to create. And the wonderful part of that is that creative spaces are as different and unique as both the authors themselves and their books. How do authors' workspaces influence and inspire their creativity? Do they like to write in quiet corners or bustling coffee-houses? Do they like big, colorful spaces or dark basements? Some authors can write anywhere, while others need a specific place and routine.


Creating your writing area doesn't require a lot of money or even space. The point is to make it a place where you can be productive and happy. Based on what I've found from experts (and I am absolutely not one of them), here are a few things to consider about your existing space or the one you want to create:

Adjust Lighting to Your Writing


Natural light is an obvious mood booster, which in turn can increase both creativity and productivity, but not everyone (myself included) loves sunlight streaming through the window and glaring on the computer screen. One author adjusts her office lighting according to the scene she's working on. Night scenes or dark, emotional scenes call for dim lighting, but if she's working on a bright, happy scene, she throws open the curtains to let in the sun.


What's Your Distraction?


Obviously I adore my children more than anything, but I don't have photos of them in sight when I'm writing. I used to have framed pictures of them on my desk, but every time I'd get a glimpse of their little faces, my thoughts would veer...naturally...toward them. What were they doing at that exact moment? How was their day going? Did they like the lunch I'd packed? Needless to say, I had to rein in such musings and force my attention back to my story. Now, I keep all family photos on the wall behind or beside me, where I see them every time I walk into my office, but not when I'm writing.


Embrace the Mess (but only if you want to)


Do you prefer to keep your writing space messy? Then you're likely also super imaginative and spontaneous, according to a study that found disorganization is actually productive. "Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights," claim the authors of A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder. "Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.” Some very creative individuals have thrived in what appear to be rather messy environments.

On the other hand, the crazy success of "how to declutter" books and studies about the effects of mess on stress have inspired a lot of people to grab their trash cans and get rid of all those ancient notes and random bits of paper (not that I'm familiar with that at all).

Use Pinterest Sparingly


I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. I love the photos of gorgeous recipes and beautifully furnished homes...but they also leave me feeling more than a little inadequate. So when I decided to decorate my office, I didn't log onto the Pinterest site once. I didn't want to wish for an office or decor I couldn't have, and browsing for "ideas" only led to envy over the magazine-quality designs. By focusing my attention only on what I had to work with and what would make me happy and productive, I avoided the "grass is greener" syndrome.


For Your Consideration:


Here are a few things to think about regarding your workspace

  • If you use a vision or mood board, is it in the most optimal place?

  • What books and art do you want around you for inspiration?

  • How can your space best support your work and creativity?

  • Do you listen to music when you work? Is there a way to improve your set up?

  • Feeling stuck? Become a "nomad desker" and take you and your work out of your house entirely.

Or just take YOU out. There's always a hot cafe mocha waiting for you somewhere close by.