Like most people, I do a ton of my work at my desk. It’s cluttered, bills are stacked high, crumpled Post-It notes are scattered about, and more pens than I care to count are littered across its surface. There’s also currently homework and various craft projects taking up space. It’s embarrassing.
A quick clean up makes everything feel better and much more productive. Here’s my routine to get down to business.
1. Remove Garbage
Sounds easy, I know, but you’d be surprised how much junk just collects on my desk for no reason. I’m also a snacker and the amount of wrappers or plates that I hoard is silly. Get all of this off of your desk, put plates and cups in the sink, and look at all the space that’s been revealed!
2. Do You Need It?
What’s left on your desk or in your space? Do you need it to write or can it be put in a box or drawer to be dealt with later? Don’t get sidetracked reading old letters or fussing over bills right now! Today is about writing and that can wait. If you don’t need it to write, stack it neatly, put it in a drawer or even another room.
3. Inspire Yourself
I keep a cork board and white board near my desk. I also keep a stash of thumbtacks and tape near by. Lists, pictures, art I’ve purchased: all of it gets tacked up somewhere on the walls near my desk. I love being surrounded by other artists and authors I admire. Put up themed pictures for that novel you’re writing or nothing but inspirational quotes to stare at when the words get stuck.
4. Don’t Get Trapped!
By this, I mean don’t get trapped in a cycle of cleaning and sorting and the next thing you know it’s been 5 hours and you haven’t written a word! Don’t plan for perfection unless you honestly truly need that in order to write. Your space doesn’t need to be “Martha Stewart clean” as my mom calls it. Your space is still you, full of life and inspiration and personality. Let it have some clutter, give it room to get messy again.
5. Go Out
Some days the desk just feels like entrapment and I don’t want to look at it, let alone make room for my computer and sit there. These are the days that I just pack a bag and get the hell out of my house. I’m lucky enough to live in a town that has coffee shops open until midnight and access to university libraries that are open 24/7 during the academic school year. I’m a night writer and take advantage of this as much as I can. No distractions, no worries about getting dishes down instead of writing. Just you and the words.
Ultimately, how your writing space looks is up to you. I prefer a slightly cluttered place with room for notepads, too many pens, and my laptop. I switch between typing and scribbling on paper when needing to brainstorm so this works best for me.
What works for you? Are you a neat freak or do you prefer to work in chaos?