Ask any writer where they’d most like to practice their craft and I’m sure you’ll hear a fascinating menagerie of locations and situations. From sun-soaked beaches to a gazebo in a thunderstorm, certainly the imagination of all writers occasionally turns to a daydream of where they would most want to practice their craft.
Unfortunately, I doubt very many of them would say a dining room table with bits of hardened kid’s cereal on the floor, or a desk groaning under the weight of papers that are just stressful enough that they can’t be thrown away, or an unmade bed because it’s the only unclaimed space in the house.
Still, even if we can’t always pick the place where we do our writing, we can reduce the mental noise our surroundings create to allow the soft voice of inspiration a chance to whisper in our ears. Here are some simple ideas to help you feel relaxed, upbeat, and motivated to write.
1. Tidy Up Your Space
Relax, I’m not expecting you to deep clean everything like you’re getting a home inspection. Just do something minor that helps you feel like your claiming dominion over your surrondings, rather than having them dominate you. Sweep the floor, stack your papers, make the bed… pick one minor thing you can do. Who knows? If you write often enough, you might start to see some more significant changes to your space.
2. Adjust the Brightness of Your Screen
Eye strain is a common problem for anyone who spends a lot of time working at a computer each day, and if you’re like me and you like to write late at night, your eyes are already feeling fatigued by the time you pull up that beloved document. Turning down the brightness level of your screen can reduce squinting and minor headaches. A lot of software these days will even allow you to set it to Dark or Night mode, which I find to be far more restful on my eyes.
3. Use an Air Freshener or Aromatic Candle
Our sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses when it comes to emotional memory. Try experimenting with a variety of scents to see what relaxes your mind while stimulating your imagination. If you choose to use an aromatic candle, try only using it when you’re about to write to add a little ritualistic element to each of your writing sessions.
4. Rearrange Your Space
If you write at a desk, consider switching the positions of things like your stapler, whiteout, and “World’s Greatest Writer” mug full of pencils. Making slight changes to your physical surroundings can help break feelings of monotony and stimulate the creative mind. Just be sure that you don’t get distracted from your writing by focusing on big, expensive changes to your décor.
5. Create Some Mood Lighting
I find that I often feel more relaxed and eager to write when the lights in the room are low. There’s something almost mystical about taking my mind to another world while the real world fades away into darkness around me. Try to find a light level that allows you to see clearly while temporarily masking possible distractions. Be sure to adjust the brightness of your computer screen accordingly to avoid aggravated eye strain.
6. Use Sound-Canceling Headphones
If you’re like me and you like to listen to music while you write, try using headphones that block outside noises as you work. Like lowering the lights, this can reduce possible distractions while refocusing your attention on your craft. Just be careful to select music that both relaxes and stimulates your mind without becoming a distraction.
7. Decorate with your Daydream
At the beginning of this article, I mentioned the kind of idyllic surroundings that writers are able to dream up for themselves. While these daydreams might not be fully possible, a little decoration can be a gentle reminder of those pleasant thoughts. From a bottle of sand collected on a treasured vacation to a painting of a snowy mountain, consider taking the time to bring a little bit of your daydream to life.
I hope that these ideas are helpful to all you writers out there. Leave a comment below to share what you do to keep your writing space an inspiration-safe zone.
A big shout-out to the wonderful members of my Writers Community:
Christine Herbert, Michele Cacano, Jessica Mormann, Naltath, and Jo Sal.
If you’d like to learn more about my Writers Community, check out the following link: