I’m moving and it is chaos.
I’m currently split between two apartments, and neither my previous workspace nor my future one is in anything that could be considered useable by any human. I didn’t realize how frustrating this was until I looked at how much I was procrastinating. Then my partner started to feel it too. We talked about the space, how both of us felt like we didn’t have our space any more, like we hadn’t gotten unwound and out of our own heads in days.
And then I added caffeine.
Fun Fact #1: A tall Starbucks Green Tea Frappucino has roughly 2 cups of coffee’s worth of caffeine.
Fun Fact #2: I don’t drink coffee from anything larger than an eyedropper because of my anxiety.
The combination of these two things brought slamming in to the present an inkling that I have had for a long time: I need a space to work. I can make it work not having one, but when I am my most productive and at my happiest, is when I have a place to work. That place can be the smallest of table tops, it just needs to be mine. It needs to be a place where I have license to hang my cork boards with my favorite quotes, put on headphones with my current soundtrack, and make something. My desk is my happy space, my safe haven, my “this is where you work and create things” place. I need MY space.
It’s great that I know that, but that’s not always going to be the case. I’m not always going to have my safe place, and I know that I want to travel a lot in the future which means I need to learn how to make my safe space me. So after quelling the moving and caffeine induced anxiety, eating some food and drinking some water, I started looking at the components to that space and I came up with 3 major ones:
- Tunnel Vision
- Ability to close the door
Tunnel Vision is so often used as a bad word, but its kind of how I feel when I’m “the zone” for writing, like my brain is telling me a story and my fingers are transcribing it. I’m not focused on really anything other than the story, and I’m focused down to that. My environment needs to give me the ability to do that. This is different for everyone, but frankly my ability to tunnel vision is affected by how open I feel for lack of a better term. I need to be in a place where I feel comfortable zoning out of my immediate reality for a while. This has been some of my favorite coffee shops, where I could find a comfy corner and snuggle in for the duration of my inspiration, or its been my personal workspace at home.
Ability to Close the Door definitely feeds in to the ability to tunnel vision. Stephen King talks about this literally, and I won’t lie, being able to close a physical door helps me immensely. I also think about this as more metaphorical. How can I close the door between myself and others while I work? Is it finding that corner? Is it getting a conference room to myself at a library and literally closing a door? Both of these have been answers in the past and sometimes number three becomes my method of doing so when I have to work in public.
Music. Music has become increasingly a part of my process. I know a lot of writers who have whole soundtracks for their novels. I’m not quite on their level yet, but I definitely have begun creating mood radio stations for my longer works (My current novel is responsible for the Dorothy/Pretty Reckless/Flyleaf radio station that is usually in my headphones). Being able to put on headphones and give myself another sensory input helps put me in the zone. If I’m having trouble with a section of writing or dialogue, I’ll pause it but other than that I keep my music going most of the time that I’m working.
These are the personal guidelines that I’ve found for myself, and they are obviously very very individual. Here’s hoping I can use these over the next few days to actually create while in the middle of — if you looked at either apartment would appear to be — a massive indoors hurricane that is currently ripping through my home very slowly.