Creating an Effective Writing Environment

Whether you’re writing for the Made in Millersville Journal, a class, or pleasure, the importance of creating a healthy writing environment cannot be overstated. It is easy to begin writing wherever you may be in the world, but some areas are more effective than others. If you’re like me and have a hard time getting out and writing anywhere but your nice comfortable bed, I hope these tips will encourage you to create your personalized writing sanctuary. When you write from your bed or do any work for that matter, your brain inherently associates that environment with sleep. Your bed should be another type of sanctuary for sleep and relaxation only. It is suggested you should create a habitual workspace so when you sit down to work, your brain’s gears lock into work mode. Past successes and having completed many previous tasks in that space also improves confidence and lets you know that you will accomplish what you set out to do. Most writing is done online through Microsoft word, or google docs. I use google docs more than the average human. But 21st-century writers should not forgo the tools that got us here. Having notepads or journals are useful for jotting down fleeting ideas. The physical act of writing reinforces memory more effectively than typing. This also keeps your writing page from becoming muddled with marginal notes. As for the environment around you, many writers suggest decorating your space with things that inspire you creatively. Keep things close by that remind you why you decided to pursue your writing project in the first place. Even the required essays for classes need creativity. Decor like pieces of art, quotes, or calendars and reminders help your space remain work-oriented but not depressing. Although your workspace should be consistent, don’t be afraid to change up your aesthetic! Your writing space should reflect your personality. Some of us like to write in complete solitude, while others opt for a city Starbucks. Try to utilize what feels comfortable, but if you’re like Batman, don’t be afraid to invite some other bodies around to bounce ideas off of. Your writing space should reflect your personality along with what you’re writing. If you’re writing business memos, then it might be best to stay at work. If you’re working on a novel, going to Barnes & Noble may help you switch gears. As for other external influences, many writers prefer to have music playing. Some enjoy motion picture soundtracks and others like smooth jazz. I personally enjoy having white noise like the soothing sounds of the rainforest to keep my mind from wandering. I find if my mind wanders to a bird chirping, that is better than wondering who led the MLB in batting average during the 1987 season while I’m writing an essay about bias in the media. Don’t neglect comfort when writing. Keep your space from becoming too cold and tightening up your fingers. Brain food also keeps your mental energy high. Try keeping some healthy snacks nearby, supplemented by healthy drinks like plenty of water or tea. Sometimes bathroom breaks are needed and welcomed. Working at home lets you control more environmental factors than elsewhere. But be careful you don’t fall into other home habits while getting into writing mode. Try not to have too many home devices around. Give disconnecting your usual slew of tech friends for a bit. Distractions and attempts to multitask while writing will only make you frustrated in the end. Right now during the COVID-19 pandemic, we realize you have to shelter in place and don’t have as many environmental options as usual. But these factors can all be implemented into your home to keep work (or fun for many) and relaxation separate. It is easy to fall into the same patterns day in and day out when they all blend together. Try to spice up your workspace, and it just might spice up your mood.