How to Make an Ideal Workspace in Any Space

Writingspace You might daydream about the perfect home office, spacious and furnished with a beautiful desk and comfortable chair. Oh, and don’t forget the necessary bookshelves lining the walls.

Unfortunately for most of us that isn’t the reality. Many writers spend the first several years of their career working in such awful places as the couch or even the kitchen table. Freelance writing or a significant raise from your day job might earn you a separate office, but you’ll probably have to wait a while before you can make that leap.

If you’re only writing novels and not making too much money from your day job, odds are it will be several years before you can afford more than a tiny office.

Still, you can have an ideal workspace in any space. It may not be what you imagined when you first started thinking about becoming a writer, but it can be a positive writing space anyway.

So how do you transform your corner of a room into a great writing workspace?

Let’s get started:

1. Buy a set of plastic drawers. You can get sets of these in pretty much any size–including tiny ones for beads if you like to make jewelry. For a writing space you’ll want 2-3 drawers that are big enough to hold your binders, notebooks and laptop. The top surface area can hold your drink, pens and other office supplies. If you’re working on the kitchen table, you can probably find a set that will fit underneath the table.

2. Get an organization system for your papers. Most of your work may be digital or in one of several project notebooks/binders, but every writer has a few loose papers. Saved articles, old copies of short stories printed for editing, tax forms–you get the picture. Organize them. Put them in colour coded folders to clearly mark different categories. If you make it hard to find things, you’ll make it difficult to keep your workspace clean.

3. Have a separate space for inactive projects. Binders and papers related to projects I’ve finished or have decided to take a significant break from are kept on a bookshelf. I can get to them if I need them, but they aren’t in my immediate line of sight. They also aren’t making it difficult to get to projects I am working on right now.

4. Keep only the most important things on hand. Clutter is particularly annoying in a small workspace. Good pens, notes for the projects you’re currently working on and your computer should be easily accessible when you get to your writing space. It might also be a good idea to rest your planner on your keyboard open to the day’s activities so you stay on track. Everything else can be kept in drawers or someplace else so your space doesn’t feel cluttered.

5. Decorate. Can you paint the walls or find interesting art to put up? Find a few small objects that inspire you? I picked up a skull made out of amethyst a few weeks ago and leave it on the nightstand I’ve taken to using as a desk. This week I’ll be going to get my first house plant, because I want to bring nature into my life in a deeper way. Decorate your workspace in a way that makes you happy and inspires you to keep writing.

Small doesn’t mean bad. A great writer can work anywhere–many have written books on trains or, if you go back far enough, horse drawn carriages. Still, creating an ideal workspace can have a huge impact on your creativity. When you’re working in a small space, pay attention to every detail–the small things are far more noticeable when you only have one corner of a room.

What makes an ideal writing space for you?

2 thoughts on “How to Make an Ideal Workspace in Any Space

  • This was food for thought! I’ve used a closet as an office. Once I did it with part of a large living room. Since then, my dining room has been the office. Eating can be done anywhere. I’m still debating on a hallway setup for additional office space. Corner desks are huge motivators.

    • dlgunn

      My boyfriend actually had his desk in the closet in our old room, but he doesn’t work there. I just got myself a beautiful new desk which is in one corner of our bedroom. Luckily our room’s pretty big, so there’s plenty of space for it.

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