So you’ve managed to carve out some precious writing time from your busy schedule? Fantastic. You’re now ready to tackle the next major hurdle: work space. The first logical question that presents itself is: Do I need a dedicated space for my writing? The short answer is simple.
YES. YOU DO.
There are two reasons why. The first flows from my earlier blog posts: You are busy. For that reason, you don’t have time to set up all your junk every time you get a free moment. If you have to pack up your notes, your laptop, your favorite mouse pad and so on, and then unpack it all and arrange it before you can get anything done, odds are you’ll never get to the good stuff. The goal is to reduce or eliminate all the wheel-spinning so you can focus on writing.
The second reason has more to do with head space than geography. We’ve all read studies that show students do better on tests if they sit in the same seat they learned in. Research has proved that the territorial instinct supersedes most others, even the urge to reproduce or eat. Many animals will literally wither away while defending their lair or nest. Heavy psychology aside, if you’re going to build an imaginary world of any complexity, you’ve got to be able to come back to the same physical place, your place, day after day. Doing so reduces distractions and makes it easier for you to return to that imaginary world and concentrate on what happens next.
If you don’t have the luxury of converting an extra bedroom, den or finished basement into an office with a door, all is not lost. But that doesn’t mean you can settle for balancing your work space on top of a filing cabinet. At a minimum, you’re going to need a desk sized surface. It can be a kitchen counter, but you’ve got to insist on at least four linear feet—six is better—that you claim as your own, that you can set up and keep set up, and that NO ONE ELSE MESSES WITH. If you are truly serious about having a writing life, then this is an absolute must.
Properly organizing your work space is essential. A quick Google search of how to do so only produced about—wow, twelve hundred hits. I read every single one, condensed all that knowledge for you, and it is my pleasure to present:
Leslie’s 5 Steps To A Power Desk:
I am a writer and teacher of writing. After a lifetime of attempting to squeeze writing into my busy life as wife, mother, Scout leader, teacher, and far too many additional hats to list here, I have achieved my dream of being published and becoming a 'real writer'. How did I find the time? In this blog I'll share some of my strategies for having it all--and still getting dinner on the table by six.