Photo by Brandt Kurowski (CC BY 2.0)

“Space is the stage on which we play out our lives.” ~ Tina Seelig, inGenius

How much thought do you give to your physical writing space?

While it is true that we sometimes need to write without excuses (see Jane Austen’s Writing Table), we also are wise to think about what specific aspects of our environment makes our writing both more productive and more enjoyable.

Tina Seelig, in her book inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity, reminds us, “Creative spaces lead to creative work”:

“Space is a key factor in each of our habitats, because it clearly communicates what you should and shouldn’t be doing. If you live and work in an environment that is stimulating, then your mind is open to fresh, new ideas. If, however, the environment is dull and confining, then your creativity is stifled.” (inGenius, p. 102)

Here are a few questions to help you to think about your writing space(s) and some photos for inspiration.

  • Do you prefer to be surrounded by technology when you write? Nature? Art? Pets?
  • Is everything you need for your writing (laptop, paper, notecards, pens, books) easy to see and retrieve?
  • Does a colorful and varied work environment inspire or distract you?
  • What kinds of background noises are conducive to your writing? Do you prefer quiet? Music? Human voices? Bird songs?
  • Do different writing tasks (drafting, plotting, revising, proofreading) respond better to different habitats?

While most of us don’t have the resources to create a perfect writing space, we can probably all make small changes that will pay off daily. Which of these habitats do you find most inviting? (See end of post for photo credits.)

A View of Nature
My writing desk with a view for today, by Cyril Vallée

Classic Author Style
Joseph Conrad's writing desk and typewriter, by Ben Sutherland

Surrounded by Books, Open to Visitors
Library and Writing Desk

Techno-Writer
Desk 2013, by Brandt Kurowski

Simplicity Without Distractions
Writing Desk

Colorfully Creative
Spiffy Shiny New Space

Photo Credits (in order of appearance): My writing desk with a view for today, by Cyril Vallée (CC BY-SA 2.0); Joseph Conrad’s writing desk and typewriter;, by Ben Sutherland (CC BY 2.0); Library and Writing Desk, by Bruce Tuten (CC BY 2.0); Desk 2013, by Brandt Kurowski (CC BY 2.0); Writing Desk, by Seamus Holman (CC BY-SA 2.0); Spiffy Shiny New Space, by Shan Jeniah Burton (CC BY 2.0)