A Space of One's Own
This post is Day 10 of the 28 Day Blogging Breakthrough Challenge. You can chat about the challenge on social media using the hashtag #BloggingBreakthrough. Click here to view all of the challenge prompts. I'd also like to welcome my friend Josh, who has written today's post. I got to know Josh during our Masters course and he's now a journalist.
Finding a space in which to work that makes you comfortable and free is an essential part of developing your voice.
How often has someone told you not to work in bed? That you should create an area in which you can be strict with yourself and focus, probably at a desk or kitchen table.
The people telling you to work that way will only have had your best interests at heart. They will have been teachers, tutors, parents, whoever and they’re correct - but only to a degree.
What's essential to being able to write, is having a space that is entirely your own, somewhere you can disappear into your own thoughts, theories and ideas.
And if you’re in your pyjamas under the covers, who cares?
In A Room Of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf wrote: “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
While Woolf used the rest of her famous essay to put forward some of the trailblazing feminist theories that shape our thinking today, the practicalities of the situation remain the same as they were in 1929. It is essential for a writer to have personal space in which to write.
So while it might not be ideal to write from your bed, and you should try to ensure that you have the correct orthopaedic support, if your room is the only place that you have to write privately, then you should write there.
Whether you live with your parents, with friends or housemates, distractions are everywhere. Coffees being made, dinner being prepared, discussions about the day at work, university or school, all waiting to suck your attention away.
Writers need to be able to lock into a thought process and get thoughts onto paper as soon as possible, without being distracted by the delicious smells of a Sunday roast.
Even libraries, with their numerous signs telling you to be quiet are rife with distractions, people stressing about deadlines, new books you’ve never seen before, a cute librarian – these are all things that can keep a writer with an empty document in front of them.
Writers, bloggers, poets, authors all need a space in which they can lock the door and not surface until the day’s aims are achieved.
There are other benefits as well, no matter what kind of writer you are, or what subject you may be writing on, having the power to change your surroundings at will is essential.
How many films have you seen where a group of policemen or private detectives have a family tree of criminal targets posted to a pin board? Hundreds.
Keeping notes and reminders about ideas help to ensure that you remain on target in addition to items of inspiration, such as books, posters or photographs.
While motivational posters look universally ridiculous, having items and images that spark memories or motivations in your mind while you write can be perfect for helping you to get your thoughts onto paper.
A lot of writers work in a very clean environment, with nothing but a keyboard between them and their finished product. Others are very messy, getting their thoughts down in any way possible before committing to a final piece.
Having the power to keep surroundings neat and tidy, or the ability to make a mess is beneficial to any burgeoning writer.
While it’s impossible to speak for every writer on the planet, and some of you might find it easy to work surrounded by a group of friends or in a park on a sunny day, the only way to develop a regular system of writing is through the repetition of process.
Having the same desk, the same computer and the same surroundings make it easier to keep yourself lasered in on the job at hand and often, the only way to guarantee that is to have some control over the circumstances.
For those of us with a more nervous disposition, discussing your ideas in front of a class can be daunting, and the idea of your colleagues seeing your notes is mortifying.
While everyone has to give a presentation at one point or another, not everyone has to broadcast their thought process among their peers. If each of my colleagues knew every idea I played around with, I’d be a laughing stock.
So while, working in an extremely comfortable bed might not seem like the kind of environment that is most conducive to creating your best work, at least it is your own space and you have ultimate control over it.
On a personal note, while at university and living with other people, I always found writing in bed to be the easiest way to start an essay and get all of my thoughts into a document . Then to finish something I’d always use a desk to allow me get into the nitty gritty of referencing.
I'm possibly the world’s most easily distracted individual. I've never been able to write in public places, but if I have the control over the music that’s playing or where I keep all of my notes without parents, roommates or friends moving them, then I can write for hours without a break.
Now that I live on my own, I can write wherever I want, in bed, in the bath or on the stairs, but all the benefits of being able to control the space around me mean that I'm consistently in the same frame of mind.
At work, where I write all day, I have one of the messiest desks in the office, but with it being my desk, I know exactly where everything is and those pesky daily deadlines are always reached without fail.
So, for me, cultivating a space in which to write without being distracted, where you have the power to change what surrounds you and to vocalise some of your most stupid ideas and not get shot down is a great starting point to developing your own voice.
- Read back through this blog post and make notes as you go. What takeaways are there that you can use to create your own blogging space?
- Think about the different places in your house - where would be the best place for you to set up your space? Write a list of pros and cons if it helps.
- Get over on Pinterest and create a board for inspiration. Try and find a common theme - what accessories do you want? Is there a type of chair or desk that stands out to you?
- Draw out a plan and write a list of what you need. When I redecorated my bedroom, I used this method and it worked wonders.
- All that's left to do is create!
Remember to take some pictures as you go along and tweet me with your progress using the hashtag#BloggingBreakthrough. And if you’ve got any questions or you’re struggling with anything, feel free to get in touch!
TO GETTING A BREAKTHROUGH WITH YOUR BLOG
Find Josh here:
Do you have a space at home purely for blog work? If not, how are you planning to create one?