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Five Tips for Tricking Out Your Writing Space

Hacks for Hacks (sense of humor required) [1]Your workday is over, the kids are asleep, and your spouse is passive-aggressively checking Facebook while you talk about how your book’s coming along. It’s time to head to your happy place, your home office, where you go to build, conquer, and lose yourself in your own little world of writing. But what’s this? Your little nook makes Harry Potter’s room under the stairs look like the Waldorf Astoria.

If you’re courting the muse, don’t invite her into a dump. These gadgets and gizmos will enhance your productivity, spark your inspiration, and transform your workspace from shack to sexy (be sure to say “sexy” in a Sean Connery voice to make it alliteration).

Have a Vision

[pullquote]Get a really loud keyboard so everyone can hear how hard you’re working.[/pullquote]

For a workspace befitting a serious writer, you’ll need at least three computer monitors to update Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, your blog, and check your email while working on your masterpiece (bonus: all those screens will obstruct real-world distractions like wall calendars, windows, and photos of loved ones).

Think on Your Feet

Get yourself a standing desk [2]. Isaac Asimov wrote on a standing desk, probably. A standing desk has all sorts of health benefits–you’ll burn more calories, and you’ll have more energy working while standing rather than sitting. Plus a handsome devil like yourself cuts an impressive figure while standing at attention instead of slouching in a chair with your shoulders hunched up to your ears. Pair your desk with a treadmill [3] to maximize your health benefits. Writing your novel will seem like a lovely hike through the woods, except that instead of lush trees and birdsongs, you have two hours of being exactly three feet from a slab of drywall.

Don’t Just Type. You need to TYPE!!!

Get a really loud keyboard so everyone can hear how hard you’re working. Consumer Reports found that Lenovo keyboards scored the highest in clackiness. I got one, and find that a good writing session will leave my ears ringing and the neighbors yelling at me to knock off that racket. It’s like being in a rock band!

[pullquote]The time you spend optimizing your office counts as writing time.[/pullquote]

Think Outside the Box

And by box, I mean the traditional notions of what your office can be. And by that I mean ask yourself if you really have enough space to create. Remind your children that, in pioneer days, Ma and Pa made all eleven kids sleep in the same Conestoga wagon. So putting three kids in the same bedroom so you can knock out a wall to expand your home office isn’t much of a hardship, really.

A Brilliant Deduction

You can get a tax deduction for your home office expenses, so long as they don’t exceed your income. Since a smart cookie like you is obviously on your way to literary stardom, go ahead and start spending your advance in advance. But don’t forget that the bloodless bean counters at the IRS read books, too. When filling out your return, drop a few hints that this is your WRITING SPACE where you are composing your LITERARY MASTERPIECE! Maybe enclose a few sample pages to pique their interest, or at least to convince them that your deduction for a $700 Aeron chair is legit. They know you’re a writer and they’ve asked to hear from you; they’ve basically signed up for your mailing list! This is what Seth Godin means by Permission Marketing.

The time you spend optimizing your office counts as writing time. Remember: this stuff is an investment, and not just in your creativity. Bram Stoker’s writing desk is estimated to be worth $80,000 [4]. Are you going to let your fans squander their life savings on your chewed-up Bic pen and some Post-it Notes? My definition of success is when, a hundred years from now, a collector will take out a second mortgage to buy Bill Ferris’ deskside white-noise generator. So grab your least-maxed-out credit card and plan on making daily trips to Staples, which also counts as writing time.

About Bill Ferris [5]

After college, Bill Ferris [6] (he/him) left Nebraska for Florida to become a rich and famous rock star. Failing that, he picked up the pen to become a rich and famous novelist. He now lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and looks forward to a life of poverty and ridicule.