Whether you’re a student or a full-time freelance writer, there are definitely a couple of essentials that you cannot dismiss from your home office. If you’re anything like me, writing has become your safe haven away from the madness of reality.
We need our spaces to be clean and organized. A noisy and disorganized place would throw you off your train of thought a lot faster than you’d expect.
Organize your stationery in your home office space
All writers would probably agree that their space is wreaked regularly by stationery havoc at our home office space.
Computer wires, Pens, papers, sticky notes, and quirky collectibles take up our working space and it often puts us off from writing entirely. Yes, this is procrastination and bad for our mental health. We just need clear space and stop lying to ourselves.
Ikea, Muji, and Cotton On/Typo might be our saviors. If you’re living in Asia like me, you might be familiar with Daiso Japan, The Green Party, or Miniso. These lifestyle and furniture stores are the first aid officers in our stationery disasters.
Investing in storage boxes, shelving units and clear containers honestly make your navigation through adulthood so much easier. Remember not to buy more than what’s necessary; It’s good to organize and separate your stationery before getting organizers.
Don’t take yourself so seriously: You could also get sticky labels or stickers to decorate your organizers. Feel free to give these labels the wackiest names, as long as it gets the job done!
Divert your energy and effort to new projects instead of dwelling on old projects
Track and field 3-time Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee once said,
“look ahead and prepare, don’t look back and regret.”
Focusing solely on your successful past projects makes us failed to prepare for the uncertain future freelance writing business.
It does not necessarily mean you should perform a Marie-Kondo on all your past projects from your home office space.
It’s good to keep the learning points from those that worked and even the ones that weren’t as successful. There are two easy ways of separating your old projects (drafts, mind-maps, and ideation plans) from your current ones.
- If you’re a bit of a technology noob, separating these projects using different colored binder clips, drawers or folders really helps. For me, I like to separate the completed projects by writing their titles on memo notes which I pin at my desk. Similarly, I use different colors to do the same for on-going projects.
- If you’re into the digital lifestyle, separating old and new projects using clearly titled folders really helps. You could also organize your planning by using the Stickies function on your MacBook – There are so many colors to choose from. You can even alter the font to fit your preference.
Alternatively, you could check out this really cute multi-wall organizer from Cotton On or a whiteboard as your vision boards.
Essentially, learning from past projects and radiating better ideas and energy into pre-existing projects is a concept which all writers need to grasp.
Invest in a table-top pantry
Remember when to-do lists and wellness charts were a thing?
Filling those up on a daily basis may be counterproductive as we may not always commit to them. Instead, we neglect ourselves physically by forgetting to have proper meals or having frequent writing disruptions walking to the dining room due to a hungry stomach.
A table-top pantry is a worthy investment if you’re a hungry writer regularly going to your kitchen table for inspiration.
When I came across Lazada's Water Dispenser Fountain for tabletops, I knew it was definitely worth saving up for. You could also invest in a storage container for dry foods such as nuts, snacking chocolate, cookies, Cheetos, or dried fruits. While the plot thickens, you don’t have to worry about running back and forth between writing and the kitchen.
These snacks should not replace your healthy dose of fruits and vegetables. Setting a timer for when you write can be really helpful in reminding you to eat proper meals.
Pack a “Story Chasing” bag
This is a reporter tip that full-time writers could adopt for an unexpected big story. Sometimes the best, career-launching story happens at the most ungodly hours. Having an emergency bag for these big events is really helpful in getting you ready.
Get adhesive hooks for your knapsacks and/or tote bags. Hanging your “Story Chasing” bag in your home office also subconsciously reminds you to scan the room before heading off on your literary expedition. Nerves or excitement can sometimes get the better of you before you’re ready to chase your story.
In this bag, you should have:
Small Notebook and writing materials
Camera (or you could use your phone)
Although it may look as if you’re running away from home, having your essentials with you is extremely crucial in giving you peace of mind before you go get your big story.
Journals for fiction vs Journals for non-fiction
Keeping a journal for your daily life (like a diary) and having a separate one for fiction writing can be confusing and surprisingly frustrating at times.
But it actually helps us to take note of our various junctures in life and allow us to draw boundaries between our personal life and work life. While the philosophies we make in life may bleed and find themselves in our literary work, not everything in life needs to be shown in our stories.
How to prevent confusing these journals:
- Bring your fiction journal wherever you go but leave your personal one at home. You never know when inspiration may strike. At the end of the day, write down as many interesting events from your day in your personal journal. These can be saved for ideas or article prompts in the future.
For writers, our home offices are often a culmination of old and new writing tools and other useless novelties. Some writers prefer going old-school and may have chunky, though elegant typewriters for their writing. Others prefer clacking away on their MacBooks or IPads. There are also writers who like a mix of both. It all depends on your preferences and comfort.