This article originally appeared on the Get Paid to Write website.
What’s Your Perfect Writing Environment?
by Dan Smith
When I started writing on a freelance basis, I was doing so on an evening while I still lived at home with my parents and worked in a full time salaried role.
Being a typical family, it was very rarely quiet throughout the house and so I carried out almost all of my work on a laptop while sat on my bed.
I’d have no TV on, no music on and I’d try and ignore every other possible distraction, such as my mobile phone or websites like YouTube and Facebook.
While I now live with my fiancé in our own house and have done for over three years, up until recently I still found that I would follow the same working habits – get in from work, get changed and then sit on the bed with my laptop and work.
I think the reason behind this may have been the comfort aspect as well as a conducive to work one – not so much in the physical comfort sense (although working while sat on a bed is no doubt comfortable), but the psychological sense.
And for the most part, I’ve believed that this working environment – quiet, out of the way and distraction free – has been the one that has worked best for me.
Since I’ve cut down on the salaried work and have been able to spend more time at home, however, I’ve been able to try different ways of working and realised that my previous way actually may not have been the most effective.
For example, I’ve found that working in an environment that isn’t one where you would traditionally relax does generally help me from being distracted by things I would otherwise do in those environments.
A prime example is working from the lounge. If I’m on my laptop while sitting on the sofa, I’m usually either playing games or checking YouTube. Therefore, when I’m working from the lounge, psychologically my mind’s confused why I’m doing work and not having fun and this appears to constantly be at the front of my mind.
Should I work from the dining room, however, I can effectively treat it as an office. I can spread out over the dining room table and because I don’t usually do anything but eat in that room, I find it a lot easier to get into that working frame of mind – and stick to it.
I’ve also discovered that some distractions are good, as by answering my mobile phone every now and again, I find that I keep the calls short and dive straight back into work.
Previously, when I essentially forbid myself from going on the phone while working, I was always clock watching, as when I took a break, I could go on my phone, but then I’d always spend longer on it than I probably should have done.
We all have our own working environments and after several years of freelance writing, I’m still trying to find which works best for me.
Over these last few weeks, though, it’s made me wonder whether or not there is just the one perfect writing environment or whether change is something that we need to embrace to continue to be effective freelance writers producing high quality work.