We're officially in the throes of NaNoWriMo, and if you're not participating (that 50,000-word goal can be scary), you probably know someone who is. As daunting as it might seem, reaching the word count goal is possible if you know how to create a truly amazing NaNoWriMo writing environment. So, whether it's for yourself or a friend, knowing how to set up a peaceful, inspirational writing environment can be super helpful, especially this time of the year.
Concentration and inspiration are probably the two biggest things a writer struggles with, but making a few quick adjustments to your writing environment can provide a quick fix for these issues. Depending on what kind of writer you are, you might need an environment that relaxes you and forces you to focus on the task at hand (which we all need from time to time). If you're already focused but just need a little bit of inspiration to get your fingers typing or your pen moving, you might want a more energetic environment that gets those creative juices flowing. Either way, you can totally win this.
Everyone has their own preferences when comes to setting up a comfortable space for themselves to think and be creative. So, check out these tips on how to set up your NaNoWriMo space, and keep writing!
1. Find the Right Seat
Where you position yourself when you write is probably the biggest factor when it comes to setting up a space you'll be comfortable writing in for long periods of time. Writing in bed or where you sleep is never a good idea, since the mind makes connections between spaces and what we do in them — you don't want to confuse sleeping and writing (you'll never reach the word count that way). So, whether it's at your desk, at the kitchen table, in your favorite beanbag chair, or on the living room couch, make sure the spot you choose is one you'll be able to concentrate in, and keep consistent with where you write.
Seriously, decluttering your workspace can open up a whole new world of peace and relaxation. The spaces we surround ourselves in have a huge effect on our moods, which is why it's important to create a flow about your space that opens your mind, rather than making it feel scrambled. A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind. So, throw those extra papers and that random collection of plastic water bottles off of your desk, and keep only the essentials nearby.
3. Have the Essentials Nearby
Speaking of the essentials, having everything you need nearby will keep you from having to get up and grab a charger or a pen every 15 minutes — which could totally throw off your writing flow. Keeping laptop chargers, phone chargers, headphones, a bottle of water, snacks, pens, paper, reference books, and anything else you need within arm's reach is a huge time saver that will make your writing nest feel more complete.
4. Get Yourself a Candle
If you've never tried aromatherapy, now might be the time to give it a shot. Smells have been associated with different moods, making this a great way to control your emotions during the writing process. For stress relief, try lighting candles while you write with scents like lavendar, orange, lemon, vanilla, or honeysuckle. If you're looking for more of an energy boost to keep your mind in check, try scents like peppermint, pine, and clove.
5. Set Up a Playlist
Music can set an ambience and atmosphere for nearly any situation. Whether you're writing your first romance novel or your nineteenth fanfiction, there is a playlist out there for you. Find one on Spotify, put together your own, or just turn on the radio to your favorite station. If music isn't your thing, turn on some nature sounds, or open a window to listen to the sounds of the street below. No matter what, the sounds you listen to while you write will put your mind in a place it wasn't before, allowing you to step closer into the written world you're creating.
6. Consider the View
Whether this means positioning yourself in front of your favorite window, heading to a café, or setting up pictures of your favorite moments with friends and family around your workspace, the view you have while writing is important in more ways than one. What you see can get your mind traveling in a million different direction, sparking old memories and new ideas. It can also put you in a different mood, or make you see your writing in a new perspective.
7. Make Yourself Comfortable
This is an all encompassing category to remind you that every detail is important for the writing process. When it comes to NaNoWriMo, it's usually more about getting the words on the page and saving all the little details and edits for later. But, environmental details — like room temperature, air flow, and the clothes you're wearing — can all affect how and when you meet that word count. So, even if you're worried about word count and plot and characters, remember that your needs have to come first to get you to where you want to be on the page.
Now that you know everything you need to about keeping yourself focused and inspired in your own writing environment, get in there and write. You've got this!