Your Writing Environment


Welcome to the third post in my new series about preparing for, and surviving, NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Join me in November to attempt this valiant feat yet again- check in with the writing community on our Facebook page.

If you are going to undertake a concentrated effort to write 50,000 words in 30 days, you’ll want to have your writing environment established. I’m here to help you set it up.

What makes up this ‘environment’? Well, there are plenty of wonderful examples of famous dead writers’ workspaces , and the recent trend of posting about one’s own workspace. I love these latter ones, especially when the writer explains why the place works for them.

But there are also other elements, such as music (some like quiet, some loud, some none), positioning (toward a wall, a window), timing (early morning vs late at night)…endless possibilities for the finicky writers in all of us!

Clean, minimalist, soothing


It’s bare, giving you space to create.

It’s light-filled, making you feel buoyant and supported.

It uses a semi-comfortable chair, ensuring you are ergonomically comfortable but don’t fall asleep.

Who likes this one?

Cozy, Saturated, Comforting


This one likely has easy access to books, where they crowd you at each elbow.

This one has a super-comfy chair that makes the discomforts of the sitting position vanish as your imagination takes off (or your focus sharpens, as in this case with the writer’s edits ready to go).

This one comes complete with cat, safely off the writing surface–peaceful coexistence, unlocked!

Who likes this one?


Chatter, warm drink, calm in a storm


Here you have liveliness, which gives you energy.

Here you are an island of calm, a black hole of concentration in a sky of chattering constellations.

Here you are forced to work on what you came for and not get distracted…unless you give in to the wifi sirens!

Who prefers this one?

My Mash-up Style


home setup desk cozy

At different times, I use all of these writing environments, although it must be said the clutter-free, minimalist look gets the least play around here.

It’s part of my strategy, which can be summed up as “A change is as good as a rest.” I’ve talked about resetting the inner writer, and that is part of the same strategy. By facing one battle, getting the work done, and shifting course, it resets the attention span, creative juices, and sitting muscles.

I’ve got my wingback armchair, two cluttered bookcases, the desk, and an organizer cabinet in one corner.

I’ve got the pale-wood Ikea table in the kitchen nook (where I’m writing from now), which is easy to clear off.

And when I’ve been cooped up at home for too long, and not even lounging on the sofa will do the trick, I head to the Clearing Cafe, a modest (i.e. not caught up in its own hipster vibe) coffee shop with good (and healthy!) food available, a brisk 20-minute-walk from home.

So, back to you. Do your reactions to these environments give you a clue as to which works best for you? Will you try something new for NaNo? Let me know in the comments, or in our Facebook group!

Here are some more resources on how to set up a divinely inspiring writing environment:

I hope that helps you all on the practical side of your writing journey. I’d love to hear which environment appeals to readers, or what I’ve left out!


Images via Pinterest,, and New Scientist, as well as the author herself.

Why NaNoWriMo Works for Both Writers & Editors

Welcome to the second post in my new series about preparing for, and surviving, NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Join me in November to attempt this valiant feat yet again- check in with the writing community on our Facebook page.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love writing and those who love editing. Here is a fairy tale that may encourage some of you writers out there.

tale of two sisters horror movie

There once were two sisters. Johanna and Jamilla. Johanna loved to write. The blank page was her friend. Ideas flew into her head at the slightest provocation. She wrote everyday, but had a hard time refining these ideas into polished prose. Her sister Jamilla, on the other hand, loved to edit. She loved to mark up pages with her red pen. Once she heard a sentence, the ways to improve it immediately suggested themselves. She happily polished her work everyday, but had a hard time moving on to write something new because the blank page terrified her.

One day they talked about what they loved about writing, and editing, respectively:

“You can start anywhere, and end up anywhere!”

“You can try out as many words you like, until it sings!”

“I feel free as a bird, my pen the captain of a ship!”

“I feel like the smartest person in the room, able to bring out the truth beneath the text!”

“Hmm,” said Johanna. “Editing sounds nice.”

“Huh,” said Jamilla. “The way you put it, writing sounds nice, too.”

And from that day forward, they took turns reminding each other the good things about writing, and editing, respectively, whenever one or the other got frustrated.

“Remember, your pen is Admiral Lord Nelson at Trafalgar!”

“And remember, you’re the smartest person in all of Florin and Guilder!”

And the two sisters lived productively, and successfully, ever after.


Image via MikeMcStay