Out of everything I have done to try and improve myself as a writer over the years, there is one thing in particular that I did which helped me take my writing and myself as a writer to the next level.
What is that one thing?
I created a good writing environment.
That’s right. I found a place that I could go to every day and write without any distractions.
Before that, I used to try and write anywhere. Mostly I wrote at home, late at night when everyone else was in bed sleeping. That worked for me for a while, but it got to the point where I could hardly concentrate at such a late hour. My mind and body was tired and I didn’t have the energy or focus to sit there and write for the hour or two it would take me to finish something.
Most writers do their writing at home. The problem with that is that most writers also have families and an infinite number of distractions to contend with. This can seriously slow down your progress.
To progress at the fastest pace as a writer, you need to do two things:
- Write everyday.
- Write in the same distraction free zone every day.
Do those two things and I can pretty much guarantee that your writing skills will come on quicker than a priests hard-on in a room full of alter boys.
How could it not?
For one thing, you’d be writing every day. This in itself will make a massive difference to your progress, turning you into someone who is professional and dedicated.
For another thing, you’d be writing every day in the same space. Very quickly you would grow used to that space, to the point where every time you stepped into it, you would automatically fall into a writing state of mind. You’d know exactly why you were there and so would your subconscious.
That alone makes it worth going to the trouble of finding a permanent writing space.
Treat Writing Like A Job
I’ve written before about how I made myself more professional when it came to being a writer. Part of that was learning to treat writing like a job and not something I did only when I was inspired or got time to do it.
I learned to make time for writing, and so should you, preferably the same time every day. The writing brain loves routine. It thrives on it. You’d be doing yourself a massive favor if you wrote every day at the same time and in the same space.
Part of treating writing like a job is creating a professional writing space. In my experience, the best way to do that is to take your writing outside of your home and look for somewhere else to write.
This is what I did. I own a small martial arts gym and I go there every day to write. It’s just me and an old laptop that barely still works. That’s all I need. I don’t have an internet or phone connection so I can write all day without any distractions. The gym itself mainly operates in the evening, so I rarely get disturbed through out the day.
I can safely say that going to that place every day to write has transformed me as a writer. Not only can I work undisturbed and free from annoying distractions, I can get a massive amount of work done because of that.
Before, when I worked from home, I was lucky getting out a thousand words a day. Usually those thousand words were broken up by having to contend with other people being around, phone calls and taking breaks to go on Facebook or check my emails for the umpteenth time.
In the space I write in now, I can regularly write a minimum of 3-5000 words a day, sometimes more if I’m really in the flow.
For blogging, I’ll write an article first, then I’ll edit the post I wrote the day before. That night at home, I’ll publish the edited post to my blog, which I don’t need much focus or energy for.
If I’m writing fiction, I’ll spend anywhere up to eight hours a day just writing, especially on a first draft. There is no way I could do that writing from home. No way at all, not with a wife and three kids running around.
If you want to put your writing productivity through the roof, find a writing space that is away from your home and where you can’t be easily reached.
Even with something like a shed at the bottom of your garden, it would still be easy for people to disturb you, coming in to see “how the writing is going”.
Of course I realize that not everyone can find or even afford something like an office space to write in. I’m very lucky that I have my gym to use. If I didn’t have the gym though, I’d definitely do my best to find other accommodation somewhere, even if that meant paying for it. I couldn’t go back to working from home, not with so many distractions.
If you happen to think renting an office to write in is taking things too far then you probably aren’t thinking like a professional yet. If you can write undisturbed from home, all well and good, but I think most writers would benefit enormously from having a completely separate writing space somewhere else.
Only you can make that decision. Only you will know if an outside space is something that will be good for you. Take my word for it though, it would be.
What if an outside office is beyond your reach at present? What if you are still stuck at home trying to write and contend with family and other distractions?
Well, if you are a self-publisher, you should be making money from your work. At some point in the future when you start to bring in enough, it would definitely be worth thinking about investing some of your earnings into renting a small writing space somewhere.
Failing that, the best you can do is to find a space at home and make it your own. A spare room would be ideal. Convert the room into whatever kind of space pleases you and put a lock on the door. Lock it as soon as you go inside to write.
Try not to pile too much stuff in there either. The more minimalist the better since you will have less to distract you from the task at hand.
What if you don’t have a whole room to use? Then you are going to find things more difficult, especially if you have other people hanging around all day and night. People, despite their best intentions, will always still find a way to disturb you.
In that case, you have to try and make the best of a bad situation. Find the quietest place in the house to write, although if your home is anything like mine, such a place doesn’t exist. Try anyway. Crawl into the broom cupboard if you have too, or your loft.
Although you’ll most likely be wasting your breath, ask the people you share a house with to give you some space for a while so you can write undisturbed. This may or may not work, depending on how understanding those people are. You can only ask.
Also try to choose a writing time when there is less activity in the house. Late at night is usually the best time, or very early in the morning before the others get up. It’s up to you. If you want to write bad enough, you’ll make the situation work.
In the end, if you want to be a more professional writer, aim to find a professional space in which to work in. As soon as you can afford it, look into renting space somewhere.
I guarantee it will be one of the best decisions you ever make as a writer.
What about you? Where do you write? Let us know in the comments below.