How to Create Your Own Personal ‘Writing Bubble’

This space is yours. Use it wisely.

What comes to mind when someone asks your go-to writing spot? How about your ideal writing environment? Do you thrive beneath the flow of conversation, or alone in a noiseless room? Do you have a designated table? Perhaps a favorite room?

I’m lucky enough to have an office with a door that I can close in the evenings and on Saturdays. It’s a lot easier to separate work from play when there’s a physical threshold to step over. But even then, I need my phone on silent and flipped facedown. I either need complete silence or a podcast, depending on the type of writing I’m doing. I need my cat to be fed and a mug of coffee next to me. Maybe a snack.

This is my bubble. Only writing can happen here. I don’t text or read, I (usually) don’t check Facebook. Whether there’s quiet or background noise, once I’m in that zone, there’s no coming out of it until I’ve completed my designated task (usually writing).

Maybe for you it’s a specific location. Or with a specific laptop or writing utensil. Maybe your writing bubble can only be summoned on Sunday afternoons when you’re ready to tackle the week ahead and the only thing left to do is tell stories to yourself.

It doesn’t matter who is or isn’t with you, whether or not you have to wear noise-canceling headphones, what you have to be wearing (e.g., fuzzy slippers). What matters most is that you not only create a specific compartment in your life designated specifically for writing, but that you use it regularly. Keep it literally or figuratively organized (even if your definition of “organized” is a mess). Wear down the furniture. Leave empty coffee cups or candy wrappers around not to make it look used, but as proof that it’s actively yours.

Some writers feel most at home in coffee shops. Some, on bedroom floors. But it’s not the space itself that makes them a writer — it’s what they do when they’re in it.

Do what you must to make your space usable, not just comfortable. Make sure that when you enter your bubble, you’re prepared to work. And follow through with what you have planned, whether you’re outlining or emailing, writing or revising. Always be doing something, no matter how big or small, in the place meant for these things to be done.

And don’t be afraid to expose your bubble to subtle or drastic changes every now and then. Sometimes, a break in your routine — a new table, a different room — can also break you out of a seemingly endless cycle of non-productivity.

Regardless of any advice I can give, your own personal writing bubble is yours to do with what you please. It’s up to you to build and rearrange it in any way that promotes creativity, structure, and productivity for you. It’s no one else’s space to claim. Here, it’s only you, and your words, and the thoughts and ideas that come before them.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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14 thoughts on “How to Create Your Own Personal ‘Writing Bubble’

  1. I think I can make any place my bubble. I’ve written in the middle of my shop floor with shop music playing and people walking around.

    But if I could have it my way? It’ll be an empty house, warm room, coffee next to me, a blank screen and a playlist of music or YouTube pages setup to have different styles of music. If I’m attempting to write something epic, I use bass heavy funk beats to get me moving so that my writing can be as epic as I feel when listening to that music.

    When I want something I write to be atmospheric or thought provoking, I’ll use classical music or Enya to calm me, but still have that particular music be upbeat enough with a fast enough tempo, so that my typing speed continues to keep up with my thoughts.

    Overall. I try and force myself to write in every situation I possibly can. One, it keeps me writing and thinking along the lines of, not knowing when inspiration might strike, especially after a particular experience. Two, it forces me to adapt to as many situations as possible and still be able to go into uber focus mode, because lets face it, nothing ever goes according to plan does it?


    Also, I absolutely love how reading your articles kick starts my mind and suddenly I’m doing a blog post as a comment to the post that you posted. (Yeah, I had to re-read that a few times just to make sure I got it right.)

  2. Reblogged this on newauthoronline and commented:
    Much of my writing takes place in my spare room, which I dignify with the name of study. I have also written in my mum’s garden, in Liverpool and in my lunch hour while in the office. My favourite “bubble” is my study, in my home in Upper Norwood, high up on a hill.

  3. Interesting point about using a specific laptop for writing. Lately I have been using my iPad (with the keyboard) for writing. This is mostly because I bought Scivener for iPad a while back and am too cheap to purchase the laptop version. I am finding it easier to focus on writing on my iPad because it’s more of a hassle to swap between apps than it is on my laptop. Your article makes me think I might do well to designate my iPad as my writing machine. Thanks for sharing!

    1. That’s a great idea! I’m looking forward to investing in a writing-only device this summer. I’ve never tried Scrivener, I just use Google Docs. Curious: what do you like about it? It seems very expensive for what it is. I’m just not sure it’s worth it.

      1. I mostly like it for the organizational aspects. Instead of having each poem or short story as a different document I can have them as separate sections of the same document where they are easy to move around and play with the order if I’m trying to put together a collection.

  4. If you write at a desk you like even if the room isn’t although I do where you write is largely irrelevant. Sometimes even the desk itself can be your sanctuary even if the room isn’t.

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