Imagine this scenario: you wake up (or get home from work) ready to get in that 1,000 words. You’ve got a great idea and don’t need any motivation. You sit down at your desk and move things around to make room to write. Then, poof, your idea is gone.
Your writing space might be too cluttered.
“But my messy space makes me creative,” you might be saying. And for some of you writers out there, the mess on your desks doesn’t bother you in the least. For people like me that clutter is a huge distraction.
In fact, when I began this post, there was a pile of things I needed to file. It bothered me so much I began this post four times. I had to get out of my writing flow, file the papers, and then come back to my writing.
See how distracting it can be? I managed to stay disciplined, filed the papers, and got back to my writing task.
Those clutter piles on your desk are a distraction even if you don’t want to admit it.
Here are a few fixes to increase your writing productivity.
Divide Your Workspace Into Zones
Create two zones in your office or workspace: computer zone and non-computer zone. Your computer zone is where you do your writing and spend time coming up with ideas for your next novel (or article or blog post or short story).
Your non-computer zone is where you unwind. Make this area your technology free area where you relax with a good book or look out the window and enjoy nature. It’s your place to disconnect and let your creative juices rejuvenate.
The Computer Zone
The computer zone should have three things:
- Your writing desk and chair
- A good lamp if the lighting in your area isn’t the best
- Your computer
My home has a limited amount of space so my “office” is in my living room. This area is my computer zone:
I took this picture back in November right after I completed my novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). But not much has changed since.
My space is sparse, but I need it that way. There a few books because looking at them inspires me. I know, boring. Add things to your area that inspire you, like your favorite flowers in a vase or photos. Whatever you need to feel alive in your space.
Keep your desk clutter free. Don’t let anyone set anything down on your desk. Make it clear to everyone that this is the one place in the house that must remain clutter free.
Oh and make that cup of coffee or tea and bring it with you when you sit down to write. You don’t want anything pulling you out of the zone once the words begin to flow.
The Non-Computer Zone
My non-computer zone is my couch behind my desk and my bookshelves. I have inspirational sayings about writing and reading and comfy throw pillows. I often relax on the couch with a good book after I’ve done my writing for the day.
Here is a part of my non-computer zone. My couch lays perpendicular to the shelves so I can stare at my books and photos of my family.
Make your non-computer zone as warm and welcoming as possible. Paint the walls in your favorite color. Studies show that blue and green are the best colors for offices and home spaces because they increase your productivity and are also soothing. If you’ve got white or beige walls, maybe it’s time to do a little sprucing up. My walls are called warm muffin and it makes me feel all fuzzy inside.
Add some inspiration to your non-computer zone. I love to look at books and visualize my own published books being among them. I also have inspirational quotes hanging in my living room. Writing is sometimes solitary and can often be discouraging, especially if you’re an emerging author like myself. Having things around to keep you focused on your goal is important.
It’s also okay if things in this area get a little messy. You can see my dog’s little chew bones on the floor. He often sits in the living room with me and chews on a bone while I write or read. Just don’t let things get too out of hand in your non-computer zone. You want to feel stress free in this area. Remember, it’s the place where you unwind. You can’t unwind if there’s crap everywhere.
It may take you a few hours or even a day to create these spaces for yourself, but if you want to be more productive it will be time well spent.
Do you have any ideas on how to be more productive? Share them with me in the comments below!