By Anna Parsons
One of the great things about writing is that you can do it on your own time and from almost anywhere. This gives authors the freedom to work from home or while traveling and to fit writing into a busy schedule. But sometimes this freedom has its drawbacks. Without a clear schedule or deadlines, staying focused and making progress can be a challenge. Bills, laundry, kids, and Netflix can be constant distractions if you work from home, making it difficult to accomplish anything. One solution is to find a dedicated workspace.
A simple option is to create a workspace within your home. While some may write well from bed in their pajamas, this doesn’t work for everyone. Try separating where you work from where you relax and go to a desk, table, or porch. Some studies show that ambient noise can help increase productivity, so set the mood with apps like Coffitivity, Thunderspace, or Ambiance. You can also limit distractions on your computer with site-blocking software like LeechBlock, FocusMe, Freedom, or Anti-Social.
If being productive at home is a constant battle, moving locations can help you escape your distractions. Here are some suggestions for where to go.
- Coffee Shop: A classic go-to for workers with good reason, coffee shops provide calm environments with tables, chairs, and usually Wi-Fi. Best of all, caffeine and food to keep you going are only steps away.
- Hotel Lobby or Mall Food Court: These may not be the most conventional places, but they often have internet and plenty of room to work. You may be expected to buy a meal or a drink from the hotel bar, but these can be a great alternative to a coffee shop.
- Library: Public libraries are free for locals and offer quiet seating areas. Where better to write than surrounded by books?
- Park or Botanical Garden: Outdoor spaces may not have internet, but unplugging could help to remove distractions. Parks and gardens can be great places to enjoy nature and focus on your work.
- Museum: Museums often have internet and beautiful cafes. Plus, being surrounded by great works may help inspire you to create your own.
- Coworking Space: If writing is your full-time job, then why not go to an office? Companies like WeWork, Breather, and Impact Hub provide office spaces you can rent, with options varying from a few hours of access to long-term desk rentals. While these can be pricey, it may be worth it to work in a professional environment and meet people with similar careers.
- Someone Else’s Home: Going to a friend’s home can help remove you from your routine and let you focus on your work. Or better yet, try house- or pet-sitting and make some extra money at the same time.
- Gym: Some gyms offer study spaces or have quiet seating areas, so why not make the most of your membership and write here? Taking a break to exercise may also help you to push through writer’s block.
Whether it’s the Starbucks down the street or a hidden reading nook, pick a spot and make it yours. You may be amazed how much you accomplish in a few hours away from the usual distractions.
Anna is an intern with Holloway Literary.