So happy to have award winning author Bryan E. Robinson as a guest blogger this week. He’s here to help all of us improve our writing space and increase our creativity.
Thank you for visiting with us Bryan!
Bryan E. Robinson is a psychotherapist and the author of two novels and thirty-seven self-help and psychology books. His work has been translated into thirteen languages. His latest work, Daily Writing Resilience: 365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers launched January 8.
His mystery Limestone Gumption won multiple awards and his latest thriller, BLOODY BONES, was a finalist for Killer Nashville’s Claymore Award. Bryan is also known for his groundbreaking exploration on work addiction and work/life balance, including his bestselling book, Chained to the Desk.
Solve the Mystery to Personalizing Your Writing Space
After I wrote my first mystery, Limestone Gumption then penned my latest, Daily Writing Resiliance: 365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers, I developed an inventory to measure my personalized work area and realized it needed a touch up. I de-cluttered my desk and created noise buffers from my three barking Golden Doodles. The changes enabled me to write my second novel, BLOODY BONES, in a much shorter amount of time.
While safe environments are crucial for good quality writing, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each of us writers has to determine what type of surroundings work best then personalize a space that fosters our creative flow. Under deadlines a safe workstation can ease stress, help us stay calm, and improve creative output.
Some authors prefer a little “comfort clutter” and disorganization to offset a museum-like atmosphere. Others might be neat freaks and more at ease with organized, tidy, and streamlined areas.
Some writers need space that requires inspiration from natural surroundings. D. H. Lawrence said writing outside when the weather was nice made him feel “safe and remote.” On the flipside Dean Koontz said he knows he’s a potential slacker so he doesn’t tempt himself with beach views: “I have a sofa on which I never nap, big windows with an ocean view that I rarely see, because I keep the pleated shades down at all times while working.”
To avoid distractions, some novelists prefer to write outside the home. John Hart wrote his first books at the public library. Harlan Coben said, “My house has too many distractions. There’s the email. There’s checking my Amazon ranking. I know I’m the only author who’s ever done that, ever. There’s the fax. I like to go out and write.”
For those of us with home offices, appointing workstations with personalized items—such as scented candles, appealing paint colors, vacation memorabilia, photos of children and spouses, dogs and friends—can warm weary hearts and lift writing spirits. Regardless of what kind of writing space works for you, here’s the bottom line: Personalize you writing space so you have a safe environment or one away from home that attracts your five senses in a totally different way from the sensory experience you associate with daily pressures.
Okay, let’s solve the mystery. For starters, inventory your writing space. Notice if your surroundings contain the three S’s necessary for creative flow: Safe, Soothing, and Stress-free. Rate where the needle falls on a scale from 1 to 2 (Bad); 3 (Mediocre); 4 to 5 (Good) on the following criteria:
- Environmental conditions (noise, air pollutants, temperature)
- Organization (clutter, storage, tidiness)
- Physical room arrangement (placement of work tools, computer, furniture, views)
- Sensory Comfort (room color, music or nature sounds, scented candles)
- A touch of nature (plants, fish bowl, small waterfall)
- Lighting (natural sunlight versus artificial light, dim or well lit)
You can sum your 6 scores into an overall score: 6-12 (Red Light. Needs a major touch up); 13-19 (Yellow Light. Maybe some light touches); and 20-30 (Green Light. You’re in tip-top shape).
As I did, you, too, can devise a plan to raise your needle from a 1 or 2 on each condition to a 4 or 5, depending on the conditions that are Safe, Soothing, and Stress-free. For example, suppose natural settings fuel your creative flow, and you rate room arrangement a 2 because you have a sofa blocking a large window with a wooded view and a bird feeder.
Part of your plan might be to reposition the sofa so that the view brings more nature into your personal space and raises your needle to a 4.
I am convinced that there’s a link between good writing and a safe, soothing, stress-free writing environment. After taking the inventory, see if your workstation needs a touch up then give it one and watch your writing soar.
I know we’ll all rest easy once we get our environment just the way we like it!