By Ida Rosenthal
Feeling stuck with your paper? Sometimes your environment might be preventing you from being productive and tackling that assignment. Everyone has different preferences about what kind of workspace is best for them, but no worries, there’s more than one way to set the mood for writing. Here are some hints for making your writing space work for you:
1. Find a space. Whether it’s your desk, the library, or the local Starbucks, pick a spot that’s relatively secluded and cozy. You might be sitting in this spot for several hours, so make sure the lighting, temperature, and comfort of your chair is going to be suitable for awhile.
2. Turn down the music (or not). It’s a common myth that writers can only focus in absolute silence. This isn’t true at all! While some people work well on the silent floor of the library, many others excel when they’re listening to white noise like background music or soft chitchat nearby. The trick is to be honest with yourself. It’s more fun to listen to music, but if you start singing along instead of writing, it’s time to change course.
3. Dress for the occasion. Alright, sitting down to write a paper might not feel like a formal event, but wearing the appropriate clothing will put you in a better mood to write. For example, if you think your paper is rambling or incoherent, wearing pajamas as you write will only further enhance that feeling of sluggishness. What you wear will help you establish your mindset for the rest of the writing session.
4. Put away your phone. Smartphones are great for giving us information right now, but unfortunately, that can be very distracting. Consider using the “Do Not Disturb” feature on iPhones, or if you have another type of phone, just put it to the side. Try to check your phone no more than once every 30 minutes. You’ll discover that avoiding texts, updates, and emails can save a lot of time in the long-run.
5. Realize that it’s impossible to have the “perfect” mood. Don’t look for excuses. Look for opportunities and realize that sometimes things will be a little askew. The lighting will be slightly off, the temperature too warm, the person next to you is talking a little too loudly on their phone, etc. Decide whether these distractions are dealbreakers or whether you can manage. No matter what happens, you have the control to make your writing environment work for you.
Any other suggestions for setting the mood? What helps you get “in the zone” to write?