How to Set Up Your Writing Workspace

deskThis is a guest post by John Brooks, a writer at Office Kitten where he reviews office furniture, business equipment and stationery online.If you are interested in writing a guest post for Freelance Copywriter’s Blog then please get in touch with your ideas/outlines.

Writing is a job like any other. You have to set up the right work environment in order to start, build, and finish your writing task.

Could a welder weld in an office cubicle? Could an accountant add up a column of figures on the pitching deck of a fishing boat in the middle of an ocean storm? Could a commercial fisherman cast a net in a city street, and expect any fish? Of course not!

A professional copywriter or business writer has to set up the proper work environment for the task of writing. Here’s some tips on what to think about:

1. Pick a Writing Work Area

Pick somewhere where you will be both comfortable and efficient for hours at a time. The place should allow you to concentrate only on your writing, and not get involved in some non-related task. Physically separate your writing life from your family life, and from all other aspects of your life, and you’ll be able to accomplish much more than you realise.

2. Minimise All Distractions

Keep distractions out of your work area. Do not have a television nearby. Keep other people out, which also means you should not pick a work space through which people are continually moving. Have a clear uncluttered space in front of you in which you will do your writing. Limit the number of distracting objects within your line of sight.

3. Set Up the Right Lighting

Your work space should have enough light, whether from external windows or from electric lights, to prevent eyestrain. One good test is to see if you can read the smallest print in a magazine’s table of contents while seated in your work space. If not, you need to add some more lighting. In addition to being functional, good lighting will also improve your mood.

4. Make Your Desk and Chair Ergonomic

Your chair should be adjustable, with a high back and wheels. Both your spine and your weight should feel fully supported by your chair – you do not want to feel as if you’re about to topple over when seated. On your desk, your computer screen should be a bit less than three feet away from your eyes, and slightly below your line of vision – but not so low that you have to dip your head down to read the screen. Organise your desk accessories and your phone according to whether you’re left-handed or right-handed.

5. Organise Your Cabling

This point may seem minor, but, once you organise and label the innumerable cables and wires under your work area (and away from your legs), you’ll appreciate the effort when the time comes to unplug one thing and plug in another. What could turn into a major all-day task then turns in something you can do in a matter of seconds. And an ample supply of time is the best resource a professional writer can have.

6. Optimise the Ambient Sound

Some people think that insulating oneself from all sound is an absolute requirement for creativity. However, a lack of sound can be just as distracting as a jackhammer. Keep some soothing music, or nature sounds, playing while you work – avoid popular music or songs that you’ll sing along with. Some classical music, perhaps Brahms or Chopin, is always a good choice.

7. Organise Your Papers

Even in an endeavour as creative as writing, there’s paper. Keep your working papers organised with folders, your label maker, and colour-coded tabs. Rather than having piles of paper on your desk, invest in a hanging file that you can install on the wall. If there’s not enough storage space there, get a small file cabinet and place it close to your desk so that you can wheel over in your chair, and easily pull out what you want.

8. Keep Your Resources Handy

Keep those books you’re using for research nearby, but not scattered all over your desk – a small open plastic cube is perfect for storing books. Use your wall space as a resource – some writers use a whiteboard or a large piece of paper tacked to the wall to keep track of the larger context in which they’re doing their current task.

9. Check Your Internet Access

Internet access is a must nowadays – make sure you can get to the Internet with your computer from your work space, whether your access is by cable or is wireless.

10. Take a Break

Stop, get up out of your chair, and stretch every so often. Get up and take a short walk, even it’s only across the room to get a cup of coffee from the coffeepot. Take a long look at the view outside the window, or glance at this month’s calendar page of a beautiful landscape. Then settle back into your chair, and get back to work.

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