Writing can feel like capturing lightning in a bottle. Whether you’re constructing a fiction masterpiece or putting together a definitive non-fiction treatise on a little-known subject, it can sometimes feel like inspiration is eluding you, and when this happens, it can be immensely frustrating. If you’re working from home – as many of us still are, even as parts of the world return to something approaching normality – then there are things you can do to create an atmosphere for great writing. Here’s how you can create the perfect atmosphere for writing at home.
Block out distractions
The first and most important thing you must do when you’re writing from home is to eliminate all distractions to as much of an extent as possible. If you’re working from a home office, consider installing soundproofing materials, as this will isolate you from external noise and enable you to concentrate better. It might feel a little callous, but it’s a good idea to tell family members or housemates to steer clear of your office while you’re writing, because even if they mean well, they can contribute to distracting noise and stop you from focusing on your work.
Don’t neglect the rest of your house
Writers need breaks too, and that’s why the rest of your house needs to be as tidy, presentable, and comfortable as possible. One room that always gets neglected in this sense is the kitchen, so why not consider installing a custom kitchen? This could help you get motivated to craft your own nourishing meals and feed your creativity that way, and it could even double as a writing space! Remember to tidy up and clear out junk on a regular basis, because although “tidy house, tidy mind” is a somewhat cliched adage, it’s a cliche for a reason.
Put up inspirational artwork
Looking at thought-provoking artwork can be a great way to trigger inspiration. If you’re a fiction writer, looking at one of your favourite pieces could show you a new angle on characters you’re writing or give you a direction in which to take your next story. Non-fiction writers might be inspired to write about certain situations or people by looking at art, too. Even if you don’t take direct inspiration, the mere act of looking at art is intrinsically satisfying. For that reason, make sure you’re surrounded by great art when you’re writing.
Read others’ work
The quote “talent borrows, genius steals” has often been attributed to Oscar Wilde, although we may never know who actually said it. That doesn’t diminish the truth of the quote, though, and one of the best ways to get inspired as a writer and create a great atmosphere is simply to read the work of others. Cracking open your favourite book and enjoying a particular turn of phrase can help you to craft your own, and even if it turns out suspiciously similar to your source of inspiration, that’s merely your influences having an effect on you.
Listen to instrumental music
Studies have shown that listening to music with lyrics can be distracting while writing. The brain is attempting to focus on multiple sets of words at once, and that often causes confusion, thus resulting in lower-quality writing. However, instrumental music can be an excellent way to create a writing-friendly atmosphere. It doesn’t have to be classical music; jazz, electronic music, or even instrumental guitar music can all be complexly-woven and intricate enough to get you thinking, but not sufficiently loud or provocative as to command all of your attention.
Get the lighting right
Harsh, glaring light can be a serious mood-killer when it comes to writing, but there’s something equally frustrating about attempting to type (or pen, if you’re old-school) your thoughts when there’s insufficient light by which to see. Make sure the lighting in your writing environment is good, and try to control it as much as you can. Dimmer switches are a great idea for a writing office; that way, you’ll always be able to dictate exactly how much light is in the room at any given time. You should also make sure you have access to an abundance of natural light.
Keep your writing space tidy
Just as it’s important to keep your house tidy, so your writing space should be as spotless and pristine as you can get it. Not everyone is One Piece writer Eiichiro Oda, whose desk is famously as chaotic and cluttered as the manga itself can get (although it’s no less brilliant for it). An uncluttered environment focuses the brain and helps you to stay on task, so when you’re feeling frustrated and uninspired, try having a clear-out of your office space. You’d be amazed at how quickly this will begin to make you feel better about your work.
Make sure you’re comfortable
Since you’re going to be spending protracted periods of time at your desk writing, you need to make sure you’re comfortable. While comfort is chiefly a concern for your physical health, it can also help you to establish an atmosphere for your writing; if you’re comfortable and feel at ease, then you can allow your mind to drift in ways it simply couldn’t if you needed to constantly shift position or tend to aches and pains. Get yourself a high-quality chair in which to sit when you write, and don’t skimp on a great desk either.