All writing areas should have the essentials; a coffee cup or water glass, tissues, pens and paper, a computer, a waste paper basket, a dictionary, a thesaurus and any minor essentials like a lip balm which can help minimize excuses to take a “5-minute break”.

The savvy writer can also decorate according to the genre they write in.

How to Create the Ideal Environment for Writing

Biography Writers

Biography writers will need both practical decorations and also some inspirational memorabilia. For example:

  • Photographs, posters or postcard paintings of the subject of the biography
  • The same of related settings or time periods
  • Items which relate to the subject e.g. a globe for Christopher Columbus or a baseball for Babe Ruth
  • Other biographies on the subject
  • Reference guides to the times, cultures or places in which the subject lived/ lives
  • Newspaper and magazine articles

Autobiography Writers

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Autobiography writers will need some more personal items such as:

  • Boxes and albums of family photos
  • Contact numbers of relatives for those off the cuff questions
  • A notebook for writing down dates and times
  • Diaries or journals
  • Autobiography software
  • Birth, marriage, and death certificates
  • Diploma and degree certificates
  • Newspaper clippings (birth announcements, etc)
  • School photos
  • A cork board, push pins and cards to write thoughts and memories on
  • Collectables from the life being written about; figurines, badges, tickets from events attended, etc

Memoir Writers

Memoirs often evoke the specific emotions of a specific time in the individual’s life. A memoir writer’s desk would benefit from all of the decorations of the autobiographer’s desk plus a few extras:

  • Photographs of that specific time in your or your subject’s life
  • Items from that time such as a wedding bouquet, a childhood toy, etc
  • Colors, pictures, and items which evoke the emotions most prevalent in the memoir
  • Music from that time. Writing about the 70’s? Have a spot of ABBA playing in the background
  • Perfumes or scents to evoke memories
  • Books and movies that bring back memories of that time
  • Tissues. Lots of tissues!

For Those Who Do Not Have a Writing Area

For the poor writers who, through poverty or family clutter, have no special writing room or corner all is not lost. Here are a few ways to have a virtual writing space:

  • Have a bag – anything from a plastic bag to a suitcase – to keep your “writing desk” in
  • Have an electronic “writing desk”. On your computer desktop have links to all of your inspiration music, scan in your family photos to view as a slide show, use journaling/ autobiography software
  • Give yourself a 10 minute time out every couple of hours to browse the internet for inspiration (but stick to the 10-minute time limit and only browse relevant sites)
  • Set up quick links to research websites

Limit Distractions

All writers have their Achilles Heel. That little distraction that for some will inspire, for others will bring an entire writing schedule to a halt. So when setting up a writing area be aware of what the writer’s Achilles Heel is. If it is the internet turn off the connection. If it is music, don’t listen to it.

So be inspired, be productive and good luck.