Writing Spaces, Part 1: Five Elements of a Writer’s Room

Having a dedicated writing space is essential to one’s writing practice. Writing space can take many forms, from a seat on the SeaBus in transit to an entire studio outfitted for your writing needs.

For most of us, writing takes place in the home.

Earlier this year, I converted a guest room into a writing office.
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Here are five things I prioritized in my writing space:

  1. Natural light: Natural light is the first thing I considered when choosing a room. Natural light can alleviate eye strain and especially helps with productivity. So even if your office is on the SeaBus, snag a window seat! My large, south-facing window lets in ample natural light, even late into the day—perfect, since my optimal writing time often verges on evening.
  2. A view: A view can get you out of your own head, and if your view is something that inspires you, all the better! I am personally inspired by the natural world. Luckily for me, my window peers over a lush, bushy backyard. Opening the window (views include more than just what you see!) on a good day allows for the wash of a light breeze and the buzz of neighbours. On an even better day, I can see raindrops splatter in puddles, feel trees lash about in a strong wind, and hear the drumming of rain on the roof.IMG_1871
  3. A large desk: A large desk will always complement your work. Having ample room allows you to organize any reference materials or reviewed documents within easy reach. My desk is definitely big enough: a large wooden slab from Ikea. You can tell from the surface that it’s been well-loved, but X-Acto knife scratches and paint splashes just add to the flavour of inspiration.
  4. Comfy seating: An ergonomic chair is best for work that requires sitting for long periods of time, but I use an exercise ball. You can definitely feel it in the shoulders when you’ve been writing on one of these for a while! I enjoy it for the dynamism and energy it provides. Plus, the give of the ball means I never get a sore butt from sitting for hours on end.
  5. IMG_1873Inspirational knick-knacks: while I personally think it’s best to keep surfaces tidy to limit brain distractions, a few inspiring artefacts go a long way. For my room, I went the comfort route. I furbished all the surfaces with soft stuffies. The giraffe is a close likeness to a character from a picture book I’m working on. The little bear is there for moral support. I keep a candle on the night table by my desk and light it when working to fight away that gloomy writer’s block.

What do you think, did I prioritize the right things in my room? What did I leave out? Let me know what your writer’s room contains.

A writer’s room is a three-dimensional conduit for a writer’s practice. But anyone who calls themselves a writer knows writing requires more than physical space. Stay tuned for Part 2 to explore the spaces of writing that transcend physical necessities.

Written by Emily E.A. Stringer

Photos by Emily E.A. Stringer

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