Gail’s Advice for Creating a Writing Room

Gail Lee Martin's writing area (doubled as Dad's card playing spot)

Gail Lee Martin’s writing area (doubled as Dad’s card playing spot)

When you write, you need a place for your computer, your research materials and lots of files. Here are ways to get the space needed for productive writing.

FIND SPACE: We turned a bedroom in our house into my writing room by getting rid of the guest bed. Now we lack space for guests to sleep, but that’s an infrequent inconvenience. An air mattress on the floor takes care of visitors. The computer is used every day, so using the space for that makes more sense.
Look around to see what space in your home is not being used very much. I know someone who turned their dining room into a writing room. They always ate in the breakfast room anyway. If you can’t manage a whole room, look for a corner or even a closet. A room is best.

GET A DESK: You can make one from two-drawer filing cabinets with a counter top resting on top of them. Get a decent secretarial chair or office chair with wheels on it. You’ll be spending a lot of time there.

KEEP BOOKS AND PAPERS TO HELP WITH YOUR WRITING: My writing room is filled with books for researching all kind of articles that I plan on writing; for our family history memoirs and extensive files of everything our family is interested in. I have added notebooks where I am saving written material by others in our family. My Mother’s stories she wrote in the early twenties, our daughter, Shannon’s “Martin News”; my sister, Carol’s “Living on the Bay” her monthly newsletter from Seadrift, Texas and our daughter, Cindy’s “Birdwoman programs” that need a special shelf.

Cabinet door made by Gail's son, Owen Martin.

Cabinet door made by Gail’s son, Owen Martin.

ADD SHELVING: We added bookshelves all around in my writing room. The shelves are one-of-a-kind, made by our son, Owen. He is a cabinet-maker and the ends of these book shelves are made from narrow strips of scrap cherry, birch, walnut, pine and poplar wood pieced together. They make my writing room as unique as my writing style.

ADD FILES: Besides file drawers with the desk area, you’ll be glad to have a four-drawer file. Try to get a good solid one. The really cheap ones have shorter drawers and get warped out of shape when you really load them up with files.

Me and my file cabinet
STOCK IN SUPPLIES: You’ll need the usual office supplies like paper, pens, paper clips, etc.

SHOW OFF YOUR AWARDS: Leave some wall space to feature your writing awards. Maybe frame a copy of your first payment for something you wrote or a special acceptance letter or a picture of your favorite author.

Comments from eHow readers:
kylemeko on 2/23/2010 – I like this article I will put it to good use. 🙂
Dorothy Sander on 4/17/2009 – Every time I create a writing room for myself, one of my sons moves back home! It’s a never-ending frustration. A writer needs to create a writing room and I’m going to try again!
Susanh on 2/4/2009 – Our office is my writing space and it has all the items you mentioned. Thank you for confirmation that it’s in good shape!
miasavc on 1/17/2009 – Having a space to work with all the resources you need inspires creativity. I have my little home office too & it has everything I need. Thanks for sharing this valuable & inspiring article!
Virginia Allain on 1/12/2009 – I need to reorganize my writing room space. It’s not very efficient at the moment.

(article by Gail Martin, first published online at eHow)

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