Set up Your Surroundings

Set up Your Surroundings

A Lesson by Inkjinx

Sometimes it's making sure that you're in the right place that gets you set for writing. I'm not talking Feng Shui, but mentality. I'm sure you catch my drift.


Every writer is different, and that's something that you have to keep in mind. Some things work for other people, whereas other things may not. For example:

I write best in the evening when my room is a little cooler. I typically need something to snack on and a drink at hand, and it's easier if I'm completely alone. If I'm talking to someone on IM, I can get distracted beyond what words can describe--but we're all writers here. I'm sure you can imagine it. It helps if I have my monster hat and reading glasses(that I don't even need) with me, and it's a nice touch to have one of my cats around. My writing will, however, suck if I don't have Amy, my rubber duck, with me.

I'm sure you can pick up little bits of how to help yourself along with just that. Let me break it down for you, though. There are a few different components there.

1. Location

Some people have desk tops, like me, and don't have the ability to change their location. Still, there are various ways that you can change your writing room to make it writer friendly. Most people have to clear their desk. A cluttered desk usually means a cluttered mind, and it's tougher to write that way. If you clear things off, though, most people will feel refreshed and able to write with a more relaxed mind.

It might mean rearranging the furniture, even. Maybe your bed needs to be out of sight instead of right next to you, but maybe you have to be sitting on your bed. I've heard of people even cluttering their bed so that they can make sleep and relaxation unappealing, because it would mean removing everything on top of it.

Other people might be able to move a laptop, though, and carry it wherever they want. I like taking a pad of paper and a pen to go to the park sometimes. Sitting on a bench, on the bridge, in a tree, or on the swings will sometimes really inspire me. It's good to have a nice fresh breath of air to keep you relaxed while you write furiously about something less than relaxing.

2. Temperature

Whether you think about it or not, temperature control could really be throwing off your writing. Most of the time guys need it cooler and girls will like it warmer. It's alright to go against the grain, though--I do. If you have it too warm, though, you might start falling asleep. Too hot will make you antsy and unable to think well. If it's too cool, you might get distracted, and being frozen won't let you think well.

3. Time of Day

It's always when I have nothing better to do that I can write best. That means I can't have pressing obligations, people that want to talk to me, or homework to do. That usually leaves me with late at night(unless my night owl friends are online).

Some people might like to wake up a couple of hours early to get some writing done then. I've heard about someone who wakes up at six in the morning on weekends so that people and things aren't competing for their attention. Sounds like a plan!

4. Edibles

I like to have something to munch on, and a drink to sip at while I write. It's usually motivating to write a couple of paragraphs, then take a bite of something tasty. Other people might not have things around, lest they spend their entire time eating.
Warning, though; this could create bad eating habits. Use this at your own risk.

5. Muse

Every writer needs a muse, in my opinion. Call it what you will--a totem, a mascot, an avatar, an icon, a stuffed buddy... everyone needs one. In a writing group I had, everyone brought theirs, and we had everything! Someone had a special pencil, another was a lego dinosaur... there was even a stuffed Kthulu!

I like my dear Amy, though, my rubber duck. We've gone through so much together, and I'll keep her to the day that I die. Or, if my hands get chopped off, I'd like to have Amy buried with them. That will be the point that I can't write anymore.
Keep your muse close and don't ever let them go.


1. Try out some of the different ways to change your writing environment to see how things work for you.
2. Find out your writing environment and comment on the lesson with them.
3. Find yourself a writing muse. Post that as well.

I'd love to hear back from you about what you think about the lesson. May words flow freely from your fingertips, and happy writing!


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Posted 2 Years Ago

I have been wanting to write most of my life. I have written poetry for years. I want to do more with my writing and I have found out that I do write best at night. Willing to write at anytime day or night. I have been writing in my journal usually at night.. Sometimes I will write when I get my my muse by looking at magazines or things that I see in my head.

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Posted 2 Years Ago

I have been wanting to write for several years. But I was either lazy or procrastinate, hence it was not done. I want to thank you for this. I did not start writing yet but I intend to within the week. I know I can do this. I will keep you informed...

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Posted 3 Years Ago

Since I have a laptop and a bad habbit of sitting with my legs up either on the chair and on the desk, I usually end up on the floor. I like to sometimes sit on my desk. Anywhere that gets me closer and more in touch with the computer I suppose.
My muse I guess is a postcard I picked up from the Onstage Drama Performace (a collection of all the highest scoring HSC Drama performances)
It is a headshot of a man in a white tee with a white background. He is staring directly at the person look ing at him and beside him is the caption "Sometimes you need to push" this helps me because my biggest problem is motivation and confidence.

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Posted 4 Years Ago

I do my best writing when I'm home. Anywhere in the house is the best location (as long as there's not a book or the television near.) I cannot write when I have a tempting book near me, all I'll do is read it, then when it's done, I want to do a story based off that book. Same goes with television; all I wanna do when I'm done watching it is write crime stories. I watch a lot of Law and Order (CI) and Rizzoli and Isles. (BEST SHOW EVER!) Now more on my environment, when I'm in my room, I have to be able to sit comfortably, (goes for any place in the house) because when I start writing, it's usually when I've injured myself. (Like recently (since April) I have a torn ACL and I can't do anything right when I'm on my feet! And the last two times I've hurt myself, it's because of that torn ACL, my knee goes out on me in a way that's supposed to be impossible. So if I'm not comfortable, I can't write.) I also have to have music playing. It doesn't matter what kind of music it is as long as it's purely Rock n' Roll. None of the pop and rap crap. (I'm an rnr baby!)

My muse ... I have to have paper, pen/pencil, and my laptop near me at all times! Also, I have to print off everything I've typed because if I write it out, then type it, I make small changes and I have to have that with me at all times. (Especially when I don't have the laptop nearby.) I also have to be able to talk to friends, they're my greatest inspiration that keeps me writing. Without their words guiding me, I couldn't write, not well anyway.

As for time of day when I write, I find all times of day a great time to write. But I love staying up all night writing/typing what I've hand written through out the day. And also best to write is when something amazing comes to mind. (And usually if I don't do something with it, I'll forget it and it will completely screw me over.)

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Posted 4 Years Ago

I figured that my Muse is water. That's right, a cup/bottle/glass of water. That also seems to be my munching. I take sips of water every now and then while I am writing. I don't think I have a specific time when I write, I just start typing in MS Word whenever a couple of lines start coming together in my mind.

This article really helped. Thanks!

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Posted 4 Years Ago

i usually write late at night on my laptop
at any clear space. i always have music in the background and am under a blanket so i'm comfortable because if i go to sleep i have to move around. i need it to be cooler and i don't really have a muse totem unless music counts

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Posted 4 Years Ago

I do my best writing early in the morning; sitting on the couch, my feet up on the footstool, I balance the laptop on my legs. I'm still in my pajamas, the cat and dog lay beside me. I have a glass of caffeine-free diet cola on the trunk, within arms reach. When I write, I don't even think about eating - wish that were always the case. A muse...maybe it's my warm and fluffy robe.

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Posted 5 Years Ago

Not sure about a muse totem but the strangest thing for me is coming up with stuff while my mind is idle. Like when I am in the shower or driving. I start to think about the story and when I am home I try to remember what I came up with and write it down.

As for while I am writing, the number one thing that works best for me is Music. Music without words if possible.

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Posted 5 Years Ago

"Most of the time guys need it cooler and girls will like it warmer." - Where did THAT come from?

I used to be unable to write without coffee. Not for the caffeine, but because my novel's protagonist had a psycological addiction to coffee specifically, and I used that to get into his mindset.

My twin always likes music while he's writing, and it helps if his cat is sitting in the chair next to his desk.

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Posted 6 Years Ago

This is true for me too.
Though I don't have a muse at hand, or anything that makes me write. I have a laptop though, Im constantly interrupted by my fiance or my daughter- and lately I have been feeling hot, stuffy and irritable. (been grumpy all week apparently- I hadn't noticed). I will definately try out the homework though- maybe it'll help...

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Added on February 1, 2010
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Gosh, I haven't updated this in forever. It's nice to change the "About Me" section now and then, don't you agree? I'm fifteen, now a sophomore, and I'm a writer. A published writer, at that! If ev..