Whether you are pursuing writing as a hobby, or are spending more time writing from home, you need a space where you can hear your innermost thoughts and help your imagination come to life. We previously gave some tips on how to enhance your creative writing if you want to be the next George R. R. Martin or J.D. Salinger. Having a space conducive to improving your writing prowess could be the key to unlocking your full potential. And where better to seek inspiration than from some of your favorite authors? Having a home office may be all the rage right now, but these legends were ahead of their time in creating a private space to write and think.
Although you may have traded in a typewriter or scribbling in longhand for a desktop monitor or a laptop, you will still need to find good a space that is optimized for writing. HP’s tips on home office setups emphasize that they should be private, convenient, and comfortable. It should not cost too much to achieve this, and after all, you can DIY your way to your ideal writing hub. Fashion all the tools you will possibly need, from your printer to your high-speed Wi-Fi router (best to have easy access so you also have the option to turn this off as well) around a stable desk and an ergonomic chair, and you can start from there. At the end of the day, think of a writing hub as A Room of One’s Own.
You can thank Virginia Woolf for that memorable line – and perhaps your space can help you come up with one of your own lines, too.
Speaking of A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf made sure that she had just that for her own writing. Upon purchasing Monk’s House in East Sussex, the modernist writer converted a shed outdoors into her own private ‘writing lodge.’ Using an old wooden tool-shed underneath a loft, the cozy space had large windows and an impressive view. Although she was apparently always distracted by her husband, by neighbors, by sounds echoing in from the community, or by the dog trampling over her manuscripts, she wrote the pages of some of her famous novels Between the Acts and Mrs. Dalloway here, as well as a number of other short-form pieces in between. On ‘How to Create Space for Building a Shed’ we actually suggested some tips for customizing this space. Install some shelves or hanging racks on the roof to organize your books and other materials. This will maximize the space, give you easy access to reference books, and hopefully keep the pets away from your own manuscripts.
Ever the trendsetter, Ernest Hemingway was known to write while standing up. You don’t necessarily have to get up at dawn the way he did, but you can definitely get on board with his ideal writing position. Hemingway may have been onto something, as standing desks are now widely used to help fix posture, relieve pain, and boost productivity. Don’t panic if you cannot go out and buy one right now, as The Spruce Crafts suggests a number of do-it-yourself tips for creating your own standing desk at home. If you have some spare wooden panels lying around, you can mount these onto your walls for a sprawling standing desk that skirts around the perimeter of the room. As an alternative, you can even use this material to build a mini standing desk that you can simply place on top of another table for added height.
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau took self-isolation to the next level when he lived in the woods by Walden Pond. He built his own cabin where he lived for two years, two months, and two days. His work Walden; or, Life in the Woods reflected on the simplicity of living amidst nature. You may not be able to move to a cabin in the woods to write right now, but you can recreate this illusion by bringing in natural elements indoors. A Texas A&M study illustrated how plants may improve your creativity. Aside from cleansing the air of toxins, acting as natural humidifiers, and mitigating stress, plants may help in improving mood and eliciting feelings of positivity and thus, productivity. There are several options for you to choose from – from snake plants to spider plants; philodendrons to air plants. You don’t even need a green thumb as these are all low-maintenance. Indoor landscaping is also a lot simpler, and you can use these to bring in a little life to your writing hub. When you need a breather, you can tend to your plants.
The Brontë Sisters
Sisters Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë were prolific writers who created some of the most beloved novels that are today part of the literary canon, from Wuthering Heights to Jane Eyre. Their home in Haworth Parsonage has since been converted into a museum, but still retains some of its original elements and pieces of furniture where the sisters would write and discuss their work. The multi-hyphenate drawing room-dining room-parlor was where the magic would happen and was not only extremely tidy but also quite striking. To contrast the dreary outdoor landscape, the room was warm and comforting with its crimson décor and an iconic portrait of Charlotte displayed over the fireplace. You can take the cue from this space by adding in accessories to evoke this same atmosphere. Accessorize with cozy throw pillows, personal trinkets, art that inspires you, and perhaps even consider putting up wallpaper for a vintage feel.
These are all, of course, modern takes on these literary legends’ private writing spaces. You’re now lucky to have high-speed Internet and gadgets for your research and writing. Aside from gleaning insight from these writers’ works and writing rooms, another piece of advice remains timeless – the need to take a break once in a while. You don’t have to be cooped up in your writing hub all day and night. Go for a walk, make some coffee, read your favorite book, and come back refreshed and renewed. As Ernest Hemingway once advised, “Always stop while you are doing good and don’t worry about it until you start to write the next day.”