A writer’s home office

I firmly believe that a writer should have a special and private place to write. And in fact I’ve written about that subject many times – quoting Virginia Woolf and her adage that a writer have “a room of one’s  own.” See my previous post on this subject posted on February 4, 2018 here: A room of my own – revisited, which is heavy on the personal touches as described below.

A Room of One’s Own: The Value of a Writer’s Home Office


Writing is possibly the most flexible of professions. One only needs to tap into their creativity, and, of course, break out their writing toolkit — which in this day and age mostly consists of a computer. You can be anywhere in the world tapping away on your keyboard in the early hours of the morning.

But if you’re serious about turning writing into a viable career, discipline is a must. What can really help is having a space specifically for exploring your wildest ideas or, as Virginia Woolf calls it, a room of one’s own. It’s one that can allow you to think and write without interruption.

Elements of a Good Writing Setup

One writer’s setup can be very different from another’s. Ideally, though, they would contain these essential qualities and tools:

• A quiet space

According to bestselling author Stephen King, a crucial component of a conducive writing space is a door. He says to close the door both literally and figuratively. Not only is it a gateway to your private writing time, but this also blocks out the world outside — allowing you to focus on your craft. A designated writing space tells you when to switch on and off from writing. It encourages discipline, as successful writers don’t just rely on sparks of creativity. As you enter that space, it should signal to your brain that it’s time to get to work.

• Ergonomic furniture

Comfort is another key element of a writing setup, as you might be spending several hours bound to a desk. To improve the ergonomics of your home office, invest in a chair and a desk that fits your body size and shape. The chair should be adjustable with a seat pan that covers your hips and thighs. It should also provide adequate lumbar support.

A good rule of thumb for proper desk height is that your shoulders aren’t hunched over and your wrists don’t bend up or down. Desks that are too high can be modified with a keyboard tray that can be pulled out from under. On the other hand, desks that are too low can be elevated with a keyboard stand.

• Hardware and software

Unlike other types of modern professionals, writers don’t actually need state-of-the-art equipment. But you do need a computer, preferably a laptop that can be taken anywhere. Thankfully, there is a wide range of portable and lightweight laptops from brands like Apple, Microsoft, Lenovo, and HP that you can choose from, which are ideal for writing for long hours. Entry-level computers are more than enough to sustain your needs as a writer and the limited features can also help minimize distractions. You also need an external drive to store all your drafts in, and other accessories like a mouse or noise-cancelling headphones.

As for software, you need a powerful word processor that can handle a hefty document. Microsoft Word is a classic, but many writers now prefer using Google Docs for an online alternative. Storing your drafts in the cloud adds more security in case your computer breaks down or your hard drive gets wiped.

• Adequate lighting

Writers have their own preference when it comes to lighting. However, your writing room should have access to natural light through a window. You should also have the option to switch it off for days when outside is more of a distraction than inspiring. While some prefer bright lights, dim lighting has been found to boost creativity in some people, so having adjustable lighting can be quite useful.


• Personal touch

Writers are not robots who can churn out paragraph after paragraph on command. Though discipline is essential, inspiration is undeniably just as important. To personalize your writing space, don’t hesitate to add a few personal touches here and there. Display photographs of your muse, for example, a copy of your favorite novel, or have a plant next to you. At the end of the day, your writing space should aim to inspire your ability to tell unique stories, not stunt it.

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