Friday, June 8, 2012

Creating a writing nook

The essential rules of writing nooks are comfort and peace of mind aka, as many or as few interruptions as you like. Some people need to be alone to write while others need background noise such as the sounds of someone clanging about in the kitchen of the sound of a radio or television. The exact positioning of your nook within your home (even this varies as some like to write on trains or in hotel rooms) is wherever you feel most comfortable and able to think.

It could be nestled on a couch in a main room

In a den

In a hidden room

Or in a room with a view

All are good options as all are comfortable.

But from there on in all nooks tend to be quite similar. 

A desk or table is required, even if you work on a laptop, as usually there are books to reference, notes to make, mouses needing surfaces, space for laptops to be stored and printers too, along with printing supplies. The best are wide and fairly free of clutter so that you can spread out your work when needed and not end up working at the dining table or on the floor. The reason why the dining room table is an issue is that every evening you'll have to pack up your work, if the table is in use. If not then taking it over isn't a problem.

Next is a comfortable seat. Now the choice really does vary a lot here. Some people love couches, others wooden chairs, some prefer rocking chairs while others like rounding chairs (that's swivel chairs to you but rounding chairs to me and my family as they go round). Then there are stools, ergonomic chairs, bean bags, the front step and even lounge chairs. There are even extra special chairs that combine the best bits of many.
Leather desk chairs that rock back and swivel.

Wooden chair that swivels and has a cushion.

Anything goes but if the favourite seating area isn't near a table or desk then it won't be part of your main writing nest. It'll be a secondary writing spot for those who prefer pen and paper or laptops.

The next thing that is required is decent lighting. The room should have good lighting but make sure there is a reading light nearby as some reading of printed work will be required even if you work on a computer most of the time. And don't opt for those piffling little reading lamps designed not to wake up the person sleeping next to you. Go all out and pick the spotlight. Don't worry that the switch requires you to get up to turn the light on and off as you need to get up and move around anyway to keep fit and healthy and to stop your spine from crumbling to dust.

The issue of noise or no noise is a very personal one but no matter who you are, when writing it is good to be able to have the options of noise and silence there and controllable. Have a radio set up or a television close by, even if you're in a room where background noise randomly occurs through foot traffic and daily life. This way noise and silence are always there when you need it. If you're worried about the distraction of television then position it behind you or to the side so that it isn't the centre of your attention. Also, if you have it on and find yourself being sucked into watching rather than writing but still need the noise and show for inspiration then here's a tip for you: only watch shows you either know or will be able to easily predict the outcome of.

If the weather varies quite a bit wherever you live then make sure you have blankets, mittens, a heater, a fan and some ice blocks available. Don't overdo the ice blocks or you'll get pudgy for not running them off every day (that's the simple way of looking at weight but it does apply for those not moving about frequently. For fun you can even knit your own blanket to complete your nook. Just knit squares like the below and sew them together. Suffice it to say that writing with cold fingers is almost as hard as playing the piano with cold fingers and believe me, that's really hard.

With regards to keeping other people's works close by or not, the vote on this varies. But for me, unless it is for research or comfort I don't even touch a book while writing or editing. Talk about distractions... At least I can type while partially watching or listening to something but not so with books. If there's a book on hand I'll drop everything. So if you're as easily tempted as me then avoid selecting a book to read at all. If you need books though, then in your nook you can include a bookshelf, with some room set aside for reference material.

As for the food supply. It does you good to get up and wander through the house to find or make food. Don't have a supply sitting there next to you as you'll absently eat it even though you aren't hungry at all, purely out of the abstract need to shift about when you're thinking. It's like chewing gum once you're past the minty breath stage or like smoking once past the craving stage (the tactile needs - oh, I don't smoke as there's asthma in the family and I don't want to die from not being able to breathe.). If you really do need nibble food then plain popcorn, some nuts and seeds or the like should work. Stay clear of the chips and power bars aka health bars and such things. If more energy is spent chewing the food than it actually provides then you're probably set for nibble food.

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