No matter if you have a studio apartment or multiple roomies, if the kids’ toys have taken over the living room, or your micro-house barely has a corner to call your own, a writing nook is an essential must have for anyone who wants to take their writing seriously. You can hammer out your screenplay at Starbucks, but a writing nook lets your subconscious know that you have set aside space specifically for your craft. It is something you will make time and space for. Woof, that sounds serious, but really, give yourself space, even if you don’t think you have any. A corner of your room, a nook in your studio apartment, a small corner for writing.
When I decided to make the jump to full-time freelance, I was doing the whole writing on my laptop in my pajamas in bed. Which is fine, but I wasn’t totally productive. I mean, I was in PJ’s and in bed, the nap was strong with this one. When I said, OK, I need a space to take this seriously. I bought a $10.00 chair and $20.00 desk at Goodwill and set up my “office”.
Nook Sweet Nook – My own space!
It’s a cheap rolling chair and desk with scratches and a poor paint job, but it serves its purpose. Now when I sit at my desk in my “office” I know I’m there to work. I leave when I’m “clocking out”.
Here are some tips to pimp out your writing nook on the cheap and keep it true to your personal flair:
1. You Need the Basics
Presumably, you have a laptop, that probably goes without saying. What surface are you putting that laptop on? Your local thrift store will probably have some essentials like a desk and a chair for your writing nook. It might not be glamorous or flashy but it’s something. A desk, some pens, a few writing pads, those are the must haves in my mind. I also got a calendar and whiteboard to keep my main projects in bold color as a constant reminder of those big deadlines and word counts.
2. Little Touches
What’s your style? Do you wish you could be in a bungalow by the beach, well maybe a mason jar with some sand and shells could tide you over until your ship comes in? Are you more cabin chic? Hobby Lobby might be your best friend. My own personal style is a hodgepodge mess. Currently, I’ve got Superman and Jane Austen cut outs, a Dr. Who poster, and my first quilting project. All little things to keep me on my game when my attention veers from my computer. I also have reminders, tips, and major clients tacked up around.
3. Keep Your Writing Books Close
I have a collection of books specifically dedicated to freelance and writing and I keep them by my desk at all times. A baby book of names for my fiction writing (I’m terrible with coming up with names), Stephen King’s On Writing, Freelance Writing books by the pros, and the holy of all holy writing books, Elements of Style. If you don’t have Elements of Style – Get it.
4. Don’t clutter
Papers, post it notes with article topic ideas, those old nick knacks you’ve had since Middle School, pens and batteries, highlighters and colored pencils, plastic page tabs, old coffee cups, planners, notebooks. Keeping your writing space tidy might be more of a challenge. Put notes and topic ideas in a notebook, get containers to corral your writing instruments. A small drawer organizer works wonders, (if you have a desk drawer.) Try and keep your space organized and efficient.
5. Where to buy
When it’s time to bulk up on supplies, or you want to jazz up your space, where do you buy? Well, I am a big lover of Hobby Lobby, check for back to school sales for the essentials like notebooks and pens. Amazon is my go to for writing guides and how-to books.
6. Pinterest For Escapism
I don’t know about you, but the idea of writing in a beach bungalow sounds like perfection. Or a rainy morning writing session in a lakeside cabin. Well, I have neither a lakeside cabin or a beach bungalow, but I do have Pinterest. And when I need a little pick me up, I’ll head over to Pinterest for dreamy writing nooks that put mine to shame, or maybe grab some inspiration for how to jazz any room up. Check back here for specific tutorials for achieving a style fit for home and garden.
7. Keep Something On Hand To Distract You
Speaking of distractions, having something tangible on hand might be the difference between a productive writing session and a total flop. Say the writer’s block is hitting hard, or you just got one more rejected pitch. You could hang your head and refuse to go on, or you could take a break and color for a few minutes, giving your brain some distraction and recoup time. I have a coloring book with me at all times. Or I crochet, read a fun book, or flip through a magazine.
These are just a few tips to make a space your own. The most important thing is having a space! That’s step one. Adding a few personal touches will make it even more nurturing. And committing to spending the majority of your writing time there will help instill healthy writing habits. At least they did for me. Of course, if you write like a fiend in your PJ’s in bed, then do what works for you. And be sure to keep coming back for more tips, tricks and random bits to help you create your freelance lifestyle.