How to Rearrange Your Writing Space for Maximum Productivity

Distraction-free, comfortable writing spaces are essential.


Want to be more productive so you can write as much as possible in less time? Your writing environment is more important than you might think. Here are a few ways you can rearrange your writing space to ensure optimal productivity in the weeks, months and even years to come.

Position your desk so it faces a door

I’ve always been skeptical of whether or not things like feng shui, which suggests the best possible arrangement of objects in your surroundings. When I ‘flipped’ my desk around after buying a new computer this summer, I didn’t turn it to face my bedroom/office door on purpose. I just didn’t want to face away from the windows anymore, and staring at the wall was getting old. Even though I still can’t see the door from where I’m sitting (thanks, 27-inch monitor), I’m being completely honest when I say my environment has felt different ever since – in a good way.

I’m not a Chinese philosophy expert, so I don’t know much about why this might work. But it can’t hurt. I like to think it’s because, facing the door, you’re not only literally and figuratively open to people who might enter your space, but you’re more willing to accept new ideas that come your way. Abstract, but whatever gets you through the day.

Clear your desk

Though I like to claim I’m organized, I usually end up with way too much clutter on my desk. Right now there’s a cup holding all my pens, a CrashCourse mug housing my 1000 containers of lip balm, my planner, sticky notes, a hair clip, my Blue Yeti, two empty coffee mugs that actually had coffee in them at some point and, of course, my computer monitor, keyboard and mouse. THAT’S TOO MUCH STUFF.

When you’re writing, all you need is whatever piece of technology you use to write. I’m getting better at clearing my desk, or at least pushing the distracting objects behind my monitor, while I’m writing. I usually keep my sticky notes and a pen nearby in case I need to jot down an idea that has nothing to do with what I’m currently working on. Oh, most importantly … that phone? You know the one. Shove it in a drawer. I still check it every 10 minutes, completely breaking my concentration every time. Stop that.

Get a comfortable chair

Think this has nothing to do with writing? It sure does. I’m currently stuck with the most uncomfortable sitting situation you could imagine. My chair is broken, so it’s constantly sinking down when it’s supposed to lock into place when I adjust the height. I haven’t bought a new cushion for it in at least six years. I’m in this chair a lot. And I’ve stopped complaining about my back and shoulders since it’s my fault I have yet to invest in something that’s not permanently going to damage my spine.

You need to be comfortable when you write. Writing is supposed to take you away from the present and transport you to somewhere else. That can’t happen if you’re constantly having to adjust your sitting position. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive desk chair on the market, but you’re going to get a lot more done writing-wise if you have a comfortable place to do it.

What does your writing space look like? Messy or clean, I’d love to see how you’ve arranged your work station. :) Tweet me a pic @MegDowell. I’ll post one too!

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

2 thoughts on “How to Rearrange Your Writing Space for Maximum Productivity

  1. I agree with you. Having too much stuff is just like a dozen little reminders to “clean me up” or “put me away” or “you still need to do this”. All of it gets very distracting when trying to write.

    I like to move around with my laptop. Sometimes I’ll sit on the couch with my notes, sometimes on the floor, other times I’ll go outside and sit on the grass. The different spaces helps my body not get so used to one spot that it hurts my back. And I like to think it helps the creative juices flow as well: new things to look at, new smells, different body position, etc…

    Have you tried moving at all?

    1. I used to, when I still had a laptop. I’ve actually found that I focus better when I have a dedicated writing space – when it’s time to write, I’m there and my mindset is where it needs to be. I’ll move somewhere else with my iPad if I’m really feeling stuck. I needed a new computer this summer and had to decide between a laptop and desktop, because I work on my computer pretty much 24/7 it just made sense to invest in a desktop that can serve all the functions I need. Investing in a new chair ASAP though. :P

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