Does A Writer Need An Office?

What do you think, does a writer need an office to write?

You almost wrote something that would make J.K. Rowling cry.

But you got distracted and lost your train of thought. Drat.

Maybe you need your own office, free of distractions and interruptions? Would that make you more productive?

You know the writing you have inside you is dying to break free and pour onto the page. But how can you expect your muse to wait around while you keep leaving? A third cup of coffee in the kitchen, laundry to finish, and a mailbox to check. You’re getting distracted, and your writing is suffering.

Sure, you might feel good about all the money you’re saving by not renting an office. But if you’re not writing your best work, what good is ‘free’? You want to write ‘bestseller’ material – stuff that will inspire, inform and solve problems. Where is the best place for you to write?

Let’s stop wondering and get some answers once and for all.

What have the great writers done?

Stephen King balanced a child’s desk on his thighs between a washer and dryer in the basement of his trailer. On it was his wife Tabby’s portable typewriter on which he wrote. I didn’t even know that trailers had basements.

Pulitzer Prize winner John Cleever wrote near the furnace in the basement of an apartment building in New York City. He probably sat there, listening to water dripping and pipes banging overhead, and somehow still managed to write.

J.K. Rowling had the idea for Harry Potter on a train, and she wrote about him in cafés and in the one-room apartment she shared with her child.

Apparently, a club of great writers exists whose members started out with writing spots in damp basements and bedrooms. An office is clearly not essential to success.  Among these writers, a common theme emerged:

You must have a space to call your own.

Then there are writers who achieved success and recognized the importance of having their own formal space in which to create.

When novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, friend and future biographer of Charlotte Bronte, visited, “the room looked the perfection of warmth, snugness and comfort”, especially in contrast to the ‘bleak cold colors’ of the Yorkshire moors outside. This writer clearly needed to differentiate her writing space from her surroundings.

Roald Dahl wrote in a little shed— a private sanctuary where he could work without interruption. He went into the shed in the morning, kept the curtains closed, wrote until lunchtime, and did not let anybody in.

Margret Forster (award-winning British author) said, “The minute I walk into this room of my own, I swear I become a different person. The wife, the mother, the granny, the cook, the cleaner — all vanish. For two or three hours only the writer is left.”

And you have to do the work, the writing, even if all you have is a closet.

Traveling to coffee shops, writing at the kitchen table, and moving your laptop to the porch are wonderful breaks in the monotony, if needed.

But without your own definite space, how serious are you about writing? Or are you treating your writing like a pretend career?

One day, when you have some success, you can pull out your golden pen and claim a room with a view, an office/writer’s studio of your own, just like most great writers do.

Until then…

4 Tips for creating an environment conducive to writing

1. Be selfish 

Walk around the space you live in and claim any space that feels right to you, that calls to you, even if you have to move some furniture around. Trust your intuition. You may not have an entire room of your own, but you must work with what you have.

When you find the spot you want to call your own, run a stake through the ground and thump your chest like Tarzan. Place a desk or table there. Own your space. This is where you create.

2. Remove clutter from your space

Clean up. If you already have a space that works for you, take time to go through the stuff on your desk and in your workspace often. Papers and accumulated items create chaos and distraction from your dream, which is to write. A messy workspace may be a subconscious form of self sabotage.

3. Create a ritual at your workspace

Perhaps a candle you light when you sit down, or a perfume bottle you spray, or a song you play. It could be a peppermint tin on your desk and you have one before opening your laptop. (I just ate my 6th cinnamon mint — maybe skip the tin.)

4. Make your writing space about YOU

Hang a quote, a picture, or place a trinket —something essentially yours, that reminds you of your goal and motivates you to write. Preferably not pictures of other people, even if it’s your family.

So, does a writer need an office to write? 

What are you waiting for?

Are you off to read another blog post? Some more tips on writing? Check your bank balance again?

Don’t. Now’s the time to make the best of your space. Pick up a broom and start sweeping. Box up your junk and hang a writing calendar. Change the light bulb.

Don’t get caught up wondering about a right or wrong place to write, or whether to have an office or not. What is essential is that you have your own writing space and that you write.

Make each word count, and give every word you write the environment it deserves — the office of your dreams. Because word by word, you create your life.

Where do you write your best work? I look forward to knowing in the comments below.

RECENT POSTS

How to Build a Summer Writing Routine in 4 Simple Steps

When the weather turns warmer and the days get longer, many of us start to daydream about the possibility of making serious progress on our writing projects. Whether you have some time away from work or study, or simply make use of the extra daylight to extend your...

Is It Too Late to Start Writing?

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be a writer but haven’t made it happen yet.  There are so many reasons why you might not have made the leap from aspiring to write to actually starting to do it yet. Maybe you doubt whether you’re good enough. Maybe writing has...

Why Is Writing So Hard? (And What to Do About It)

Do you ever find yourself asking why is writing so hard? When people picture the working process of a writer, they often picture a carefree, fun, and creative situation.  Perhaps that's how you imagined being a writer would be. Often, our earliest experiences...

Rising Action in a Story (Or, Why Your WIP Might Suck)

Have you ever told somebody that you started a book but you just couldn't get into it? Have you ever picked up a book and struggled through the first page, the first chapter, even the first half, only to stop reading entirely? You may even have a bookshelf dedicated...

JOIN OVER 2 MILLION READERS

WANT YOUR NEXT BOOK TO BE A BESTSELLER?

Then you need KDP Rocket – the killer advantage of pro authors.

Related Posts

How to Build a Summer Writing Routine in 4 Simple Steps

How to Build a Summer Writing Routine in 4 Simple Steps

When the weather turns warmer and the days get longer, many of us start to daydream about the possibility of making serious progress on our writing projects. Whether you have some time away from work or study, or simply make use of the extra daylight to extend your...

About The Author

Esther Fink

Esther Litchfield-Fink is a writer and you can check out her newest blog at Your Life Untangled, a blog about claiming your best life ever. She also teaches  JourneyDanceTM classes.

Latest Posts

Is It Too Late to Start Writing?

Is It Too Late to Start Writing?

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be a writer but haven’t made it happen yet.  There are so many reasons why you might not have made the leap from aspiring to write to actually starting to do it yet. Maybe you doubt whether you’re good enough. Maybe writing has...

Why Is Writing So Hard? (And What to Do About It)

Why Is Writing So Hard? (And What to Do About It)

Do you ever find yourself asking why is writing so hard? When people picture the working process of a writer, they often picture a carefree, fun, and creative situation.  Perhaps that's how you imagined being a writer would be. Often, our earliest experiences...

What Is the Climax of a Story?

What Is the Climax of a Story?

Have you ever noticed that once you get about three-quarters into a book, you have to finish it?  That’s because you’ve likely run into the climax. And when the climax of a book is good, it becomes impossible to put down. Learning to write a compelling climax...

28 Figure Of Speech Examples

28 Figure Of Speech Examples

Storytelling is a different kind of writing. Often, voice trumps grammar. Of course, your writing needs to be easily understood by the reader, but it’s crucial that the voice of your writing is strong.  Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, both genres employ...

How to Get Ideas for Writing (15 Simple Tips)

How to Get Ideas for Writing (15 Simple Tips)

Do you want to learn how to find topics to write about? Do you ever sit down to write a blog post, article or chapter,  and nothing, but nothing appears in your mind? This is the dreaded writer's block. The good news is that if you use the following 15 tips, you...

>