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Writing Atmosphere Matters: What Works for You?

by Amy O'Quinn


Is there such thing as the perfect writing atmosphere?


Think about it.


Some writers love to work in coffee shops, while others can’t work away from their own desks. Some must have quiet, while others have learned to create smack dab in the middle of happy chaos. Of course, seasons of life also affect how and where writers work. But one thing holds true. Most of us have certain preferences concerning our working atmosphere and routines—little things that can make a big difference in productivity.


For me, this means:


• Ear plugs in, a Pandora station on I like listening to Chris Botti, Yo-Yo Ma, and other instrumental music, especially classical stations. Singing distracts me, but I work well with music in the background. Some writers keep specific playlists ready to set a particular mood to match the type of content they’re writing.


• Diffuser with essential oils The choice of oil depends on stress levels or how I’m feeling. I keep a diffuser and my favorite essential oils on my desk.


• Good lighting and a comfortable chair In addition to natural or overhead lighting, I use a lamp on my desk, as it creates a soft, homey atmosphere. Moreover, for years, I used whatever chair I could drag to my desk. However, since I invested in a comfortable adjustable rolling desk chair, I have less backaches and tiredness of the legs. I waited a long time for this chair, but it has made a huge difference!


• Temperature control Even with the AC going, I often like to have a fan blowing on me as I work. It may be the extra added white noise, but it does help. In the winter, I like to keep a small heater under my desk to ward off chilly feet! There is nothing worse than being too hot or too cold when trying to write.


• Coffee and water I am a self-proclaimed coffee addict, but I try to counteract some of the caffeine by drinking lots of water. I keep a big glass of H2O on my desk at all times. It also gives my hands and mouth something to do (instead of snacking) when I am stuck trying to figure out just what I want to say! There are also a few extra writing essentials I like to keep handy as I work.


Colored pens I’m a very visual person, so color is important to me. I make a lot of notes, and I love the Staedtler brand pens!


• White board and bulletin board I keep track of my writing assignments where I can see them. Again, the whole visual thing!


• Lap desk for working in other locations


Sometimes when I need a change of scenery, I grab my kidney-shaped wooden lap desk and head to another room or even outside. I love the sturdy surface and bands that hold my materials in place.


Right now, my writing space is in the middle of our home, and it is a pass-through to other parts of the house. Sometimes it seems like Grand Central Station, but I know this is a season. I’ve learned to work with all kinds of interruptions—thus the ear buds! I work with what I have to create an atmosphere where I can be productive. Not always easy, but doable.


Think about your current work space. What kind of atmosphere do you wish to have? With just a few tweaks and lots of vision, you may be able to transform what you have into something even better. A good writing atmosphere matters!



*Article originally appeared on The Work Writer's Club website HERE.




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