How To Create An Inspirational Workspace For Writing

    Where do you write?

    Do you know where you write can have an impact on how well and how often you write?

    Imagine writing in a space that’s clean, organized and clutter-free.  Everything has a place, and is easily accessible.  And everything that surrounds you reflects who you are and who you want to be.

    You flow through your workday with ease, supported by the knowledge that everything is in order.  Your mind is clear and your energy freed to be in the present moment.  You write, inspired by the beautiful surroundings you’ve created.

    Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

    Now think about where you currently write. If your workspace is less than inspiring, don’t fret! Just follow these twelve simple steps.

    1. De-clutter your workspace.

    De-cluttering is probably the most important thing you can do to create a more inspiring workspace, and increase your productivity.

    Clutter weighs on our minds, takes up space, decreases our motivation, and blocks new ideas and opportunities from coming into our lives. If the thought of de-cluttering feels overwhelming, start small.

    Get a timer, set it, and focus on de-cluttering just one drawer or one section of your desk, for just ten minutes each day. Once that area is complete, move on to the next.

    2. Remove or fix anything that’s broken.

    Things that are broken can frustrate us, get in our way, and make us feel bad. If something in your office is broken, ask yourself if you’re willing to get it fixed this week.

    If not, it’s probably not very important or useful, so it’s clutter. If not knowing how to dispose of something is holding you up, visit Earth 911 for tips on how to dispose of everything from electronics to paint!

    3. Change habits that create clutter.

    Stop clutter at its source. When you bring something into your workspace, decide right away what you’re going to do with it. Don’t just pile it on your desk and put off the decision for later!

    When deciding what’s clutter and what’s not, ask yourself three questions:

    • Is this useful?
    • Is this beautiful and/or inspirational?
    • Is this loved?

    If the answer to all three questions is ‘no’, it’s clutter.

    If your answer to any of the questions is ‘yes’, find a designated place to keep the article. The key is to make a choice, and then toss it, or find a place for it.

    Also, schedule weekly clutter maintenance. Once clutter clearing becomes a part of your routine, it will be less time-consuming and daunting.

    4. Anchor your purpose in your workspace.

    You’ll feel more motivated and have a more positive outlook if your purpose for writing is reflected in your surroundings.

    Create a mission statement, or have objects, quotes, and visuals that remind you of why you choose to write. For example, a picture of your kids or spouse reminding you that your writing helps support your family. Or an image of people your writing has helped or inspired.

    5. Place your furniture in the Command Position.

    In Feng Shui (the ancient Chinese art of placement), the Command Position, also known as the Power Position, describes the place in a room where a person feels the most protected and empowered.

    This is where you have a view of the door – without facing it directly – and ideally, a solid wall behind your back. It’s human nature to feel more comfortable when we can see who or what is approaching us.

    Placing your chair in the Command Position allows you to concentrate better, without being distracted by what’s happening behind you. In Feng Shui, this position also symbolizes being open to opportunity.

    6. Choose ergonomic furniture.

    Opt for an office chair that supports your back and encourages good posture. Also make sure your desk and keyboard are at comfortable heights, reducing physical stress and strain from working long hours.

    7. Replace fluorescent light bulbs with full-spectrum light bulbs.

    Full-spectrum bulbs emulate natural sunlight and create a more relaxing atmosphere than other types of lighting.

    If you can’t change overhead fluorescent bulbs in your workspace, consider turning them off, and using lamps and task lighting instead. Proper lighting reduces eyestrain.

    8. Open windows.

    Letting in sunlight and fresh air can lift your spirits and give your energy a boost.

    Did you know that a study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that pollution inside a home could be two to five times higher than outside the home, even in large, industrialized cities?

    Opening windows creates a way for unhealthy fumes (released from office equipment, cleaning products, carpets etc.) to exit, and fresh air to enter.

    9. Switch to all-natural cleaning products.

    Conventional cleaning products contain harsh chemicals including ammonia and phenol, which can irritate your skin and lungs, and cause headaches. These products are also one of the leading causes of indoor air pollution.

    So instead of cleaning your workspace, you’re actually polluting the air you breathe!

    To avoid exposing yourself to these hazardous pollutants, look for non-toxic, environmentally safe cleaning products.

    10. Reduce distractions.

    Often our workspaces, particularly if we work from home, are not dedicated offices. Many writers work in their kitchen, living room, bedroom, a guestroom shared with exercise equipment, and so on.

    No wonder we have a hard time focusing when we’re surrounded by numerous distractions like TV, gym equipment, a sink full of dirty dishes, or an empty bed inviting us for a nap!

    If possible, create a room or alcove dedicated to writing. If that’s not an option, position your chair to avoid looking at anything that could divert your attention from your task.

    11. Create a view.

    If you don’t have a good view from where you sit, create one with plants, artwork or photos. Select inspirational artwork that sparks your creativity, or peaceful imagery that helps you focus.

    Use your desk to hold uplifting pictures such as photos from your last vacation, or arrange appealing magazine clips on a corkboard.

    12. Bring nature indoors.

    Nature helps us relax and feel more centered. Consider adding plants, fresh flowers, or a fountain to beautify your workspace.

    A fountain has an added benefit: the soothing sound of water can serve as white noise, masking unwanted sounds such as traffic.

    You can choose to decorate with natural materials such as hemp, sisal or wood, or use visuals of nature to create a soothing environment.

    Implementing these simple tips will help you have a workspace that supports your health and well-being. Your writing will be inspired by the beautiful surroundings you’ve created.

    After all, as a writer you probably spend a lot of time at your desk, so why not create a space where you enjoy spending time?

    What would your inspirational workspace look or feel like? Leave a comment below!

    About the author

      Laura Carlin and Alison Forbes

      Sisters Laura and Alison are authors, speakers and bloggers. Visit the sisters at Inspired Everyday Living for simple steps to create a happier home and life, and get a copy of their free eBook "Ten Tips to Transform Your Home and Life Today."

    • Hou says:

      Professional office cleaners services in Edinburgh & Dunfermline

    • Lem says:

      I’m still studying and I live in a dormitory. But I am working as a freelance web content writer. I have three roommates, and they are equally rowdy. I have no choice but to write in our noisy room. I’ve gotten used to it. I just ignore them and play my favorite music.

    • I totally second the chair placement. There’s NOTHING worse than being in flow or deep concentration and having someone come up behind you. Ugh.

      Make sure your chair is comfortable and sit up straight. Bad posture is the writer’s bane, I think. 🙂

      • Alison says:

        If you like sitting in command position, try moving your bed to command position too. It can help you sleep better! And good point about the posture, which is especially important when you’re sitting for long periods of time. Thanks, Robyn.

    • liz mcgee says:

      Nice piece Laura and Alison. Lots of great tips but often just clearing my work space of the clutter, dusting and organizing gives me inspiration to start writing,

      It’s easy to feel uninspired to write but you can’t let those feelings take control. Sometimes you just have to make a strong effort.. But if making the effort is too much some days any one of your tips can certainly help.


    • Blanche Springer says:

      Excellent advice on de- cluttering. I have a comfortable work space ,but need to reduce distraction by switching off theTV.

    • Marcy McKay says:

      I LOVE my writing space (complete with twinkling lights above me), but a plant or two would be fantastic b/c my windows don’t open. Great tips, Laura & Alison. Thanks!

      • Alison says:

        Love the idea of twinkling lights!

    • Alicia says:

      Excellent tips! I could certainly declutter and create a view. Maybe one day when I actually have a home office….

    • Hi Alison and Laura,
      It’s great work. The tips
      outlined in this article are helpful and inticing. Authors have to set environments that can induce creative thinking. Cluttured writing places kill motivation. The desire is stifled by untidy surroundings, thereby…… evetually killing the whole intention to write.

      I have learnt a great deal.
      Good work!

    • I reorganised my writing space several months ago, and found it really helpful. I hadn’t heard of the Command Position at the time, but it was an important part of the makeover and has made a big difference.

      I’ve just one thing to add. If you’re starting a new enterprise (such as being a writer), then the act of rearranging the space is important in itself. It says “something new is happening here,” and will reinforce the new you, whoever that is.

      The important thing about this is that you can do this without spending any money at all: just tidying up, or turning things around to face another way, is a good start.

      • We couldn’t agree more, Alex! Rearranging your current workspace or creating a dedicated space to write sets a very clear intention.

        And there are lots of things you can do that don’t cost money, such as clutter clearing or cleaning. For more ideas we have an article about How to Give Your Space a Makeover Without Spending Money – http://bit.ly/1emXnfL

        Thanks for your comment, Alex!

    • Karen says:

      I live in a small space; I don’t want to take my living area with a traditional file drawer for the various types of paperwork–my main clutter, so I keep a series of those expandable folders–12-30 slots. These, in different colours slide into the bottom of my bookshelf. Skip chain stationary stores, the “dollar store” type places have items that serve the purpose. There’s another category you left out–it may not be “useful”, but it is “must keep”, certain paperwork, like financial or government statements, really pile up. Both institutions are fond of paper even when I have requested online notices. Clutter doesn’t bother me too much, but sitting for long periods does. The stand up idea is good, at least some of the time. But for days of much writing I’d have to sit down.

      • You describe a key problem with articles like this, Karen. Authors of such articles often presume that everyone lives in a nice, big, detached house in a quiet neighbourhood, complete with back yard, (double) garage and all the rooms and storage spaces they need (and all of them big enough), and that everyone has an income that allows them to buy expensive items (ergonomic furniture, FREX), spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on courses and hired help, and give away stuff that is still worth hundreds of dollars because they don’t need the money.

        Never mind that they often seem to believe that everyone in their audience lives in the US.

        Welcome to my world, where much of that advice is useless. No detached house, back yard, garage and all the rooms I want, but a 40 square meters studio apartment (gross surface, including entrance hallway and bathroom), just one room, neighbours left, right, above and below, located at the intersection of the entrance road to the neighbourhood and a four tracks of railroad (which happens to be the busiest stretch of railroad in the country—averaging one train every three minutes, passenger and cargo). No six-figure income but the Dutch equivalent of Welfare Benefits (approx. € 900 per month—too much to die, not enough to live). Can’t afford to just give ‘stuff’ away, need to sell it because I need the extra cash; extremely challeging in a country where everyone wants everything, except to pay for it. No room to move furniture around to create a distraction-free work space.

        I’m sure Laura and Alison are full of good intentions, but they should venture out of middle-class suburbia and into the world of people who can’t afford to lead the good life.

      • Hi Karen, you have a great point. We try to scan the paperwork that we must keep (which we consider useful – although it often doesn’t seem that way!). But sounds like you have a great system in place for any hardcopies you need. Thanks so much for your comment!

    • Great tips! The only one I don’t have in my writing space is the ergonomic chair. I have a stand up desk instead. I find it’s much better for my back and keeps me on my toes, quite literally, which is great for creative thinking.

      Have you ever tried one?

      • Alison says:

        I have a friend who also stands and says it’s great for her back, but I haven’t tried it yet. I can imagine it keeps you feeling energized! It’s a great idea – thanks so much for sharing!!

    • FrankH says:

      While seated in my work space, I could easily imagine Laura and Alison glancing around and looking over my shoulders, shaking their heads and muttering under their breath, “Tsk, tsk.”

      Thank you, ladies. Even though you entered my private space before I knew what was happening, you have nevertheless motivated me to make some much needed changes! Greatly appreciated!

      • Thanks for the great comment, Frank! I promise we never shake our heads, but now we’re curious about your space – keep us updated if you make changes!

    • Very intresting Article!

      I like the advice you give in this article!
      LadyLagoon-the Italian Chick/Aspi/Manager/Diary Writer/Storyteller/www.my-diary.org/read/d/809141

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