7 Steps to a More Productive Writing Space

This was my writing space. A complete mess of crazy. No specific color scheme. My office supplies were from high school and college—most of which worked as well as that fax machine in Office Space. And the printer? Do you know what life was like with a dinosaur printer? It was kind of like seeing an ex-boyfriend: it always had the possibility of making you want to punch a puppy.

So I set out on a mission: make my writing space more productive. I wanted a clean space with just the essentials. I wanted to stay under budget ($150) and get snazzy. I wanted a space where I felt motivated to write.

I created a more productive writing space, and I'm going to show you how to do the same thing.

Step 1: Get rid of items that have nothing to do with writing. I had nail files, screwdrivers, coupons, medicine, and a toy lizard on my desk. Clean everything out so you can start anew.

“Keep everything NOT writing related out of the space. No nail file, no checkbook to balance, no knick-knacks to play with, or Facebook to play on. Make focus possible.” — Alexis Lockhart, www.texashartconsulting.com

Step 2: Make a list of new office supplies that suit your personality. I am a minimalist (believe it or not) and wanted clean colors and simple design. I am in love with Poppin office supplies, but be prepared: they can break your budget. But they’re so cute! Who needs snow-white pens and a teal stapler? You do!

Here’s my shopping list:

·         Pen holder

·         Paper/file organizer

·         New pens

·         New highlighters

·         Scissors

·         Stapler

·         Shelving

·         Post-its

·         Printer

·         Gold paperclips

·         New thumbtacks (white)

Step 3: Keep in mind these three words before heading to the store:

·         Essentials. I didn’t need a tape dispenser, even though a hot pink one would be just divine, darling.

·         Convenience. I wanted everything writing related to be within reach. No more hunting for stylebooks and such.

·         Bright. Look, if you want a dreary writing space, fine. But it was time for some color in this writer’s space.

“You absolutely need a clean, organized space, with all of your supplies, books, and notebooks within easy reach. I’m a copywriter, and if I have to spend time looking for something that’s lost on my desk, it can eat up valuable writing time! You have to have a system that works for you, even if most of your organizational tools are digital.” — Kimberlee Ferrell

Step 4: Head to your store(s) of choice. I was surprised to find that Hobby Lobby—the store of dreams—did not have anything for my project. I bought all of my office supplies at Staples (their color choices are exceptional) and purchased all of my white crates (aka Pinteresting shelving) at Kirkland’s. As I walked around Staples, I grabbed what I wanted, even if it were duplicate items, and compared them at the end. The pink scissors won. They always win.

Step 5: Begin the transformation. Add all of your shiny new stuff and build your new writing space. The crates made everything perfect for me. It was so much better than stacking books everywhere.

Step 6: Repurpose. I kept my bulletin board/marker board and printed out a color copy of The Curiouser Crusade’s Quest Tracker. Remember: writing space = writing goals. My goal is to write a minimum of 547 words a day, and this countdown helps me accomplish that.

Step 7: Try it out. The first thing I did was test my new printer. Do you know what it did? It worked. Not only did it work, but it’s also wireless so I pushed a button and boom! Instant gratification.

“One thing that’s really helped me to finish my manuscript is that I got a dry erase board so that I can keep track of my goal, how many words left, how many days left, daily goal, etc. I’ve found it extremely important to keep track of everything—it helps me stay on target, and I just finished my target with five days to spare, so I think it’s working pretty well.” — Dana Pitchford

Now it’s your turn! Tweet us a picture using the hashtag #mywritingspace. 

Shayla Raquel Bio Photo.jpg

An expert editor, seasoned writer, and author-centric marketer, Shayla Raquel works one-on-one with authors and business owners every day. A lifelong lover of books, she has edited over 300 books and has launched several Amazon bestsellers for her clients. Her award-winning blog teaches new and established authors how to write, publish, and market their books. She is the author of the Pre-Publishing Checklist, The Rotting (in Shivers in the Night), and her novel-in-progress, The Suicide Tree. She lives in Oklahoma with her two dogs, Chanel and Wednesday.