Okay, so this might totally seem like a lame thing to some folks reading this post. What’s the big deal about a writing space for NaNoWriMo 2021?
Having participated in NaNoWriMo for eleven years and winning all but the first, I think it’s safe to say I do know at least a bit of what I’m talking about. I’m also a novelist year-round and have drafted an additional ten to twelve novels since I was eighteen (That’s twenty-one years and counting at this point. When did I get this old?), bringing my total experience of writing, editing, revisions, and preparing for publication (and self-publishing in some cases) to a total of about 30 novels.
And every year I’ve found the most success has been with having a completely separate, dedicated writing space.
All right. I hear you. But what if you live in a studio, don’t have an office, or can’t go to a coffee shop because of, you know, the plague continuing to rage?
Here are some things I’ve done to create that writing space for myself even in the midst of: being married and sharing a studio apartment with another NaNo-er, having no office, and having no place to “go to” for writing (read: poor as dirt so couldn’t afford a coffee even when the shops were safe!) and working from home full-time.
Okay, so this might seem silly or even stupid, but it works. Last year, I faced my window during working hours and literally just turned my desk around and looked at the Christmas tree during NaNoWriTing hours. It gave me a pretty background when I looked up and was a different view than what I stared at all day during work.
Wherever you eat, be it at a table, on the bed, on the couch, or wherever it might be, you can turn this space into your writing space. I mean, let’s face it. Most of us don’t have a lot of free time to eat anyway (not that I’m saying we shouldn’t slow down and take a break!), so turning that eating space into a dedicated noveling space for a month probably works for most of us as a temporary alternative.
Another key is making sure your chair, bed, beanbag, pillow pile, or whatever you’re using as your seat to write is comfortable. For hours on end. Again, I’m not advocating you don’t rise up and move around – that’s another post – while you write, but I do know that when you get lost in the words and worlds you’re creating, your butt gets neglected and sitting without much movement happens.
If you have the capability, keep your writing space just a little bit cooler than you typically like. Not so cold that your hands freeze, but cooler than you’re really comfortable without a light sweater or jacket. The reason? This helps the brain stay a little more alert and less sleepy. It’s also slightly better for metabolism, which is a bonus during those hours sitting quietly burning only 41 to 61 calories per half hour typing away.
I love scented candles, tea warmers, pretty pictures, and all those atmospheric things all the time, but I especially need them while I’m putting pen to page for a month-long marathon of writing. I tend to find the cheapest scented candles I can – since I go through so many in the month! – some beautifully flavored tea for some additional lovely scented atmosphere, cat-safe aromatherapy oils, pretty images (or the Christmas tree!), and other small things that help boost the atmosphere around my dedicated writing space for the month.
Getting ready for NaNoWriMo 2021? Don’t miss our previous post on the value of writer’s groups. You’ll find another two coming in October, as well as daily posts each day of November. Tune in for some encouragement, motivation, writing tips, and more.