Every November, writers around the world put their pens to paper (or fingers to laptop keys) and participate in National Novel Writing Month, where writers aim to write a 50,000 word novel over the month of November. If you’re participating and have been writing since November 1st, you’re probably starting to feel the exhaustion and pressure of how much work NaNoWriMo really is, and if you’ve decided to jump in late, you’re probably strung out with stress. But part of that might not be related to your word count – it might be your writing spot.
Seasoned NaNoWriMo writers know that having a good writing space is key to your success (and mental health) during November. We asked some well-versed NaNoWriMo participants for suggestions on what they need for a positive writing space. Here are their tips and our favorite items for your NaNoWriMo writing nook:
Before You Write…
A seasoned NaNoWriMo writer knows that distractions – even mundane ones that you’d usually dread – become powerfully promiscuous in November. Even household chores start to look tantalizing when you have writer’s block. “I get the house as clean as I can before November so I don’t procrastinate by cleaning,” says veteran NaNoWriMo writer Mika. While it may be too late to clean before you start, de-cluttering and cleaning throughout November is a daily necessity before you sit down to write. Once everything is clean, you’ll have no reason to stop writing once you’ve started.
Now that you’ve cleaned from floor to ceiling and de-cluttered your home, you can focus on putting together your perfect writing space.
Posture is Precious
Jennifer, one of Seattle’s Municipal Liaisons for NaNoWriMo 2017, keeps it simple: “[You need an] ergonomic mouse, keyboard and chair.” You may have heard of writer’s neck, and it’s no joke: writers are more likely to have severe back pain, especially if they’re working a full-time job that also involves sitting for most of the day.
A quality ergonomic chair like this one is made for constant usage, so you’ll be comfortable writing in it long after November ends.
Not sure you want to invest in a fully ergonomic desk set? Elizabeth, who’s participated in NaNoWriMo for over 10 years, knows there’s a simplified version: “[Just] make sure your chair and keyboard are ergonomically appropriate.” A desk like IKEA’s Skarsta, which has adjustable height, is perfect for writers who may be taller or shorter than average. Bonus: you can adjust it to standing height, too – goodbye, blood clots!
It’s Lit (Now Keep it That Way)
Whether you’re writing by hand or clicking away on your keyboard, staring at something for too long can become painful. “Protect your eyes!” Jennifer warns.
If you’re using your laptop, downloading an app like f.lux that filters out blue light is a good start. But good lighting is about more than just your laptop: your writing space should be bright enough to light your work, but not so bright that it hurts your eyes. An overarching lamp like this one illuminates your entire writing space instead of simply spotlighting your desk.
But it’s not just about the amount of lighting, explains Seattle-area participant Brittany. “The quality of the light is important. I love Christmas lights or candles or a salt lamp for ambiance. Fluorescent lighting kills things in a totally weird way.”
While you can find traditional Christmas-colored lights are your local Target or Big Lots, you can find tons of high-quality, stylish lights that will look snazzy year-round at IKEA. These Ramsta purple crystal lights add just the right amount of ambiance.
The Sound of Silence
While having a beautiful and comfortable space is important, it’s all but useless if you can’t concentrate. If you live with your family, significant other, or roommates, or you just live on a busy street, you know how powerful (and annoying) distracting noises can be.
Elizabeth says that while good speakers aren’t a necessity, they are a good bonus. Speakers that fit right into your bookshelf like these are perfect for fitting into your writing space.
Sounds bars may be more expensive, but they typically take up less space and provide better sound, like this top-rated speaker from Sonos.
If you prefer to write in silence, it might be worth investing in soundproofing panels. One over the window and another blocking the door could be enough to make your home as quiet as a library. Lowe’s offers a variety of soundproofing solutions, including these portable panels so you can move your writing space at will.
Comfort for All
November is always stuck in that awful in-between temperature where you’re not sure if you should turn on the heat or just suck it up and be a little chilly. If you’re opting to stick it out, you’ll want to make sure your writing space is long enough to stay productive – sweatshirts are good, but fuzzy blankets are better. This cozy electric blanket will keep you warm through each scene and chapter you write.
But don’t forget that you may not be alone in your writing space! NaNoWriMo regular Stacia Leigh has one go-to for hers: “A dog bed nearby, so everyone’s cozy.” Your dog will be as comfy as you are in a bed like this – and they’ll be close enough to give emotional support kisses if you hit writer’s block.
More of a cat person? Use IKEA’s new pet collection to turn one of your bookshelves into a comfy home for your feline by putting one of their new cat cubes into one of your shelves.
If your pet is on the smaller side, try this pet-sized couch that is the perfect shape to slide in right next to your desk. Bonus: it folds out just like a pull-out couch in case your pet gets lazy and decides to take a nap!
Ready to get your space in shape for your 50,000 word workout? Dolly can help you bring home your new desk, soundproofing panels, or your IKEA haul.
Miranda is the Marketing Coordinator at Dolly. When she’s not writing about Dolly’s amazing customers, she loves going on hikes with her dog.