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How to Create a Productive Writing Environment

The mere action of writing words on a blank document does not make us productive. Productivity as writers comes from creating material that concisely conveys our message to our target audience, earning from our writing, and being able to finish our writing commitments in the time expected.

No writer can be productive all the time – forever. There are lulls and even periods of total writer’s block. The trick is to lay the foundation for productivity, even in times when we find ourselves stalling a little.

The points below will show you just how to create a productive writing environment which will help immensely in times of need.

A stimulating writing environment

You’ll find that you’re more productive if your working area is surrounded by things you like, enjoy or find relaxing. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have an office. Wherever you write, your working area or station should be separate from the rest of your life – even if it’s behind a screen in a corner of your dining room.

  • Hang pictures you find relaxing or inspiring on the wall in front of you.
  • If you have a window with a view, make sure you can see it from your chair so that you can take breaks and look out to nature regularly throughout your working day.
  • If scents inspire you, have scented candles burning nearby.
  • Collect your favourite inspiring or relaxing music on an album and keep them specifically for playing while you’re writing.
  • Even herbal teas or the occasional wine can inspire you.

Get rid of clutter for a productive writing environment

If you work in a cluttered environment your brain will also feel cluttered and stagnated. Your desk doesn’t have to be spotless, but it needs to have some free space to give you the impression of thoughtfulness.

Your brain can’t function properly when it’s distracted. It’s the same reason you forget where you’ve left your keys if you were distracted when you put them down.

It’s the very reason you become forgetful in periods of stress. Your brain needs to be clear to leave space to be inspired. A clear desk and work station is a ripe environment for inspiration.

If you can, you should also try to de-clutter your computer desktop. I’ve recently stored a lot of material remotely and on memory sticks, which meant I could remove files and folders  from my desktop altogether.

Have proper tools

Every worker needs tools to do his/her job. If your carpenter turned up to fix your shelf without a screwdriver and a hammer, you’d think he was a conman. Writers are no different. We need our tools. If you can’t get steady internet connection from your home, work from a café or library.

Nothing will sap your confidence  and productivity quicker than frustration. If you can’t connect to do your research, you can’t complete your work.

  • Collect a library of books you need for your work. Even though e-books are all the rage now, they can’t beat the satisfaction you feel from forming your own library collection.
  • You should also have a few memory sticks for backing up your work, even if you have an i-Cloud back-up system in place.
  • Have a comfy chair. If you can’t sit comfortably you could end up with repetitive strain injury. I’ve hurt my leg from sitting uncomfortably at my desk before.

Get rid of distractions for a productive writing environment

We said above, you should surround your work station with things that relax and inspire you. Distractions work in the opposite way. If you’re working in a room in which you store your exercise bike (for example) you’ll be constantly reminded that you should be taking some exercise rather than sitting down writing. If the TV is on in the room or your computer constantly beeps whenever you receive a new email, you won’t get into the proper work zone inside your head.

  • Turn off all gaming and email beeps.
  • Keep the TV off if you’re working near to one.
  • Make sure your chair doesn’t creak, and that you’re sitting comfortably. There’s nothing worse than a constant back pain while you try to meet your writing deadline. Discomfort or pain will kill your inspiration.

Don’t work yourself dry

I’ve done this time and time again. I work way too late into the night. I work too long at week-ends etc. This is counter-productive to say the least.

Work when you’re most productive. If you’re a morning person you may find that getting up early in the morning to work will reap more benefits for you. If you’re a night-owl on the other hand, working later when everyone else has gone to bed may be better for you.

Don’t squeeze yourself dry. If you sit in front of the computer for too long, your productivity levels will plummet. Consequently, your brain and body and will subconsciously become programmed to do nothing as soon as you sit down and turn on the computer. Each time you pick up the computer, you’ll be faced with the same thing – unproductiveness.

Prevent this from happening in the first place and pace yourself. Have a time table (link shows you multiple benefits of having a writing timetable) and work only during your productive hours. Less is more in this case. Working five hours a day may be better for you than working ten if you’re not getting anything done, and you’re falling deeper and deeper into a rut.

Take a day off. It’s hard for freelance writers to pace themselves because they don’t have working hours. They work from home so the temptation to work all the time is quite strong. In the same way that you have to be disciplined to work, you also have to be disciplined to stop working.

Over to you:

Do you have writing routines: things you do before you start writing to get yourself in the right frame of mind? What sort of systems do you have in place to make sure you create a productive writing environment for yourself? Please share them in the comment section below and tell us how this system works for you.

Anne Lyken-Garner is a published author. She’s also a freelance writer and resident editor of YPP. Anne specialises in helping people – writers included – build confidence in their abilities. Her inspirational memoir, Sunday’s Child is now out.

24 Comments on "How to Create a Productive Writing Environment"

  1. Mr.X says:

    Great post Annie. I always found that taking a 10 minute break after 30 every 30 minutes brings out the most in me. I’ve also noticed I type faster after when am back on the seat.

    • Anne Lyken-Garner says:

      I’m not surprised, Mr. X. I think just the act of taking some fresh air to open out the chest, standing up and walking about can do great wonders for your concentration.

    • shafeeq says:

      hi mr.x
      my forumala is (10*2)*5
      write 10 minute
      2 minute for dreaming or for brain washing
      and repeat it for 5 times…
      how is it?
      try it….

  2. Khaja moin says:

    Well, very helpful article, I was more concentrating on the way you wrote the article. Now I want to improve my level of writing. Hope these tips can be helpful for me to go around with what am thinking to do.

    ~@Khajamoin1

  3. Anne Lyken-Garner says:

    HI Khaja, we’ve got some writing tips on this page. I’m sure they’ll help: http://www.youngprepro.com/writing-tips/

  4. dan says:

    cool post.

    I love this

    Thanks… I’ll keep these tips to work

  5. I think these all things are in your hands and when you will take regular breaks from your work then you can see how productivity is going up which will prove good for you and your work.

    • Anne Lyken-Garner says:

      As you said, Sam. Yes, these conditions are all things you can control. This is great, because it means that anyone can put them into practice – and straight away too.

      Glad you could stop by.

  6. Sanju says:

    hey..very impressive article..this will really help improving my writing standard..according to me, devoting some time on what to write and designing a proper structure really helps..

  7. Very well said, Anne! I notice a huge difference in my productivity as a writer when I take the time to optimize my work environment (opening the curtains, cleaning off my desk and shutting down distracting computer programs) compared to when I just wing it.

    One thing that was critical for me was buying a new chair. When I first made the transition to full-time freelance writer, I was still working out of my cheap, old college task chair – and by the end of the day, I could feel it! Knowing that I’d wind up hurting at the end of the day made it so much harder to sit down and be productive. It wasn’t necessarily fun to drop several hundred dollars on a new office chair, but it’s been one of the best decisions I ever made!

    • Anne Lyken-Garner says:

      Fantastic! We sometimes don’t want to spend money on our blogging business because we think of it as an out-lay. If we start to think of it as an investment in our work and business, we’ll see things clearer.

      Your chair was an investment in yourself, thus an investment in your business’ productivity. If you were renting a shop, you’d have to spend a lot more than it cost to buy a chair.

      Thanks so much for adding to the discussion.

  8. Liz McGee says:

    This is a significant post because these are the things that keep you on track.

    I’ve written blog posts that overall took me maybe an hour to complete, but with distractions, discomforts, and all the other ‘stuff’ that can put you off track, the post took me several hours. All because my environment kept me from staying focused and just getting it done in one consecutive hour.

    How many of you out there have the same problem?

    Liz

    • Anne Lyken-Garner says:

      I know, Liz. I used to be the same situation. I’ve really stream lined my work in recent months and have put a lot of effort (using all the points in the article) into getting rid of distractions.

      I must say that I work fewer hours, fewer days, and am more productive than I’ve ever been.

  9. Paul Profitt says:

    Hi Anne, I am more of an Affiliate Marketer who does blogging rather than a pure content writer like yourself. So I tend to write whenever I think that I have something worth while to write about. And more often than not I usually have music playing while I am writing

    • Anne Lyken-Garner says:

      Hi Paul. Maybe music is your inspiration. I always have my headphones plugged in when I’m writing or editing. Music for me (the type I listen to) isn’t a distraction. However, it can be for some people.

      We just have to work out what’s best for us.

  10. Maricel says:

    Even in the middle of a writing task, sometimes, I feel the urge to check my mails or take a peak into the status of online friends and such. Getting rid of distractions can take more willpower than starting a blog post. And I find that turning the Internet off (provided I’ve done all the research I need) helps me stay on course and beat deadlines.

    • Anne Lyken-Garner says:

      Great idea, Maricel. Oni once wrote a post saying that for writing, he has a separate computer which can’t be logged into the internet.

      I think this is ideal for people who find it hard to withstand the temptation. I’m mostly good with that sort of thing. I have a timetable, which I mainly stick to.

  11. Sonia says:

    Hi Onibalus,

    This is a very profound post with valuable information. This post certainly provides the road map to productive writing.

  12. So i will share with you my ultimate technique to get the best out of your ideas.

    it’s within us but we don’t control it it’s our subconscious mind

    I do auto-suggestion while hypnotizing myself for an hour and do brainstorming, i also think while sleeping ( lucid dreaming ) you can’t imagine the quality of ideas you get when you let your inner mind do the job

    my first comment , want it to be special !

    • Anne Lyken-Garner says:

      I’ve heard of this, Yassin. However, I can’t say I’ve tried it myself. I do try to relax and think though the day before I start working, but I haven’t managed to self-hypnotize.

      I’m sorry I’m limited to what I can say here, because I’m not familiar with the system.

      Whatever works for you is the best way to go about it.

  13. Anderson says:

    I find whenever I bring in an objective person to help clean out a closet, I am able to see the clutter that has formed and can easily give away items that are no longer necessary.

  14. Phil M says:

    Nice post! i find that i can write most productively when i have peace and quiet to just be able to sit down and write. However i do like to have pictures around my room to inspire me.

  15. Rahul says:

    Nice article. It can be really helpful at times when we are not able to write and are full of ideas. Some of these reasons restricts our writings. I personally feel that every writer can apply all his innovations to writings at a particular time. I prefer to work late night when it is quiet.

Onibalusi

Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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