Thursday, April 04, 2013

Make Your Desk Environment Work

My D writer hack is for Desk Environment. If you're serious about writing, you're probably spending some reasonable amount of time writing each day. Given that, it's helpful to take the time to make your desk or other writing space work for you. 

Some things to think about:

  • Ergonomics. Yes, writing curled up on the couch with your cat and a cup of coffee feels nicely indulgent. But it can be hell on your back. One of the better investments I ever made was in a decent desk chair with a mesh back and adjustable everything, so that I could set it to exactly what I need to write. Since I freelance for extra money, write with hopes of publication, and 
  • Appearance. What's appealing to you? No two people like the same environment. Do you need sun? Color? A plant? Room for the cat? You'll spend time in your writing area (one hopes), so make it visually appealing.
  • Organization. Yech, I know. But my favorite definition of "organized" is that organization means that you know where everything is—even if its place is "In the middle of the giant stack on the left." Are you a super type-A  like me who needs a step file sorter and an inbox/outbox to feel like a pro? Or do you thrive on the chaos of balled-up papers from the last round of edits and a few leftover cups of coffee? Think about what you need and create it. 
  • Supplies/Reference. I do academic writing, freelance work, and fiction writing from my desk. So one thing I've done for myself is keep all the necessaries at hand—a shelf above my desk holds dictionaries, style guides, and notebooks for all my WIPs, and a full bookshelf within arms' reach has two shelves of books on my academic discipline, and a full shelf of writing books (as well as supplies and knicknacks and whatnot). Maybe all you need is the dictionary on your computer and room for a big mug of coffee. Or maybe you need a fifth of vodka for those times your characters are getting out of hand. Whatever it is you need, keep it close at hand.

One of the best things about having a good desk environment is that when a place is appealing to write, you'll write in the same place—and when you write in the same place, the mere act of sitting down there can literally fuel you to write. When I plunk down in my desk chair, I know I mean business...and that's a helpful mode to get myself into.

And lest you assume from this post that I must be a complete Type-A neatnik--a photo of my writing space in its usual "in use" state.

Some desk inspiration for you: Lifehacker's Featured Workspace Page. Or check out this post by Kendall at Blogging for YA about Judy Blume's envy-inducing writing space!

Do you have a favorite thing about your writing area?  Or is there one you lust after?

This month I'm participating in the A-Z blog challenge. My theme is "writer hacks," or 26 shortcuts you can take as a writer to get the most out of writing and the journey toward and through publication. Find out more about it at, and hop around to read the other cool blogs that are part of the challenge!


  1. I wish my office was well-organized, but since it is in my home and I do not usually have guests in here, it is comfortably 'messy'.

  2. Organization used to scare me. I was in the military, and everyone's idea of organization was everything neatly and precisely in its place. I was always messy. Years after I got out, someone said they envied how organized I was. I looked at my messy area. Organized me? So much of the equates neatness with organization, when a neat person in reality can be terribly disorganized and never be able to find anything.

    1. I couldn't agree more, Linda! I think organization has so much more to do with how well a space works for the people who use it than how much it appears like a home magazine.

  3. I have a standing desk for paperwork so that I don't spend as much time sitting at my Mac.

    1. Oooh, so totally jealous. I would love a standing desk.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...