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How Should a Creative Writer's Workplace Be?

I wrote my first two published novels, Carrie and ’Salem’s Lot, in the laundry room of a doublewide trailer, pounding away on my wife’s portable Olivetti typewriter and balancing a child’s desk on my thighs.

Stephen King, On Writing

When you have fully grown to a writer, an ordinary room may not be enough for you to write well. Here are some guidelines on choosing the right room and building it up into a great workplace. Don’t you see, it’s an art to build your ordinary room to a tasteful writer’s workplace.

If you visit my writing room, you will know how terrible it is. My home is almost always noisy right outside my room. If I close the door, the room will get hot within minutes; the temperature will go above 45 degrees centigrade (113 degree Fahrenheit). There is only a fan and no air conditioner. So, I will have to open either the door or the window in order to get some fresh air; otherwise, the room will be oppressive and I will be sweating. Also, if I open the door, the noise from outside will distract me greatly. So, my writing room is the worst hell a writer can ever be.

When you choose the room to write, it is always best to choose the one upstairs. Since, we don’t have an upper floor, I get to manage with this small sultry room. Oops!

Your Room Should Be Quiet

Your room should be absolutely quiet. It should be away from all distractions of the outside world, for you to successfully build your own world. Also, make sure you are not disturbed during your working hours. You may even need to change your routine slightly in order to stay away from distractions. Early morning writing is the best for health and the craft. It is the time when our brain gets to concentrate the best. So, you should start your writing at around 4 am.
If I'm not at my desk by 4:00 A.M., I feel like I'm missing my most productive hours.

Dan Brown, best selling author

The Temperature

What is the temperature of the room? Is it high or low? You should maintain the most optimal temperature in your room. It should match well with your comfort level. Some people like to sit in slight warmth, while others prefer chill. Whatever it is, adjust your AC level to get the best temperature.

Placement of Furniture

Your writing chair, table, computer/type writer, and other items should be placed at the right spots. It is advisable that you not face any open window, since the view can distract you. A thinking writer may need to walk around in the room in order to build ideas. So, it is apt to place the furniture in such a way that you get enough space for that. Every item in the room should be neatly stacked in order.

Things to Avoid

There are a number of things you may well avoid in your writing room. Also, this depends on people. People like John Cheever, who wrote near a furnace, can adjust in any atmosphere. In your case, I advise you get rid of the TV, telephone, the bed, wall portraits, entertainment items, your dresses, shoes, etc. Avoid all unnecessary items. Have only your books, PC, etc., on your writing room.

The Wall Color

Room’s wall color should be warm and non-distracting. Avoid garish/loud wall colors, wallpapers, and portraits. Light plain shades are the best option.

The Lighting

Room’s lighting should be well adapted for your writing habits. A perfectly well lit room is the best. If possible, have lights on all four sides. Also, the placement of the PC should be such that no glare is produced with the lighting.

Writing Materials

Align all your required materials for writing—paper racks, printer, pens, pencils, reference material, other stationery items, etc., on the right side, well within your reach.

Access to Research Items

You should have ready access to all resources needed for your writing research upfront. If you have a PC with the internet access, nothing can be better. You can use the TV access through the PC if you need some break from your writing chore.


It is indeed an art to design your writing room to the best of your tastes. And when it is done, not only you will go 200 percent more productive, you will attract others to doing their rooms up the same artistic way. Give it some part of your style.

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008


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