Organizing your writing space so that it is clean and efficient doesn’t have to occur at the beginning of the new year – it can happen anytime. I place it here just because a new year generally represents a fresh start, whether it be determining your goals, keeping resolutions, or getting organized. For me, managing the different aspects of writing – research, potential topics, story ideas, etc. is key for me. I still print out paper copies of much of what I need from the Internet. Yes, I know that younger generations are nearly completely digital and paperless. Being older, it’s often easier to read from a paper copy vs. reading a computer screen, particularly when engaging in in-depth research for a project or book.

The problem, of course, is that so much paper turns my writing desk into a black hole into which papers disappear, never to be seen again. Before taming that paper or digital beast, you need to consider comfort and health.

If you’re like me, you spend an inordinate amount of time at the computer writing, revising, responding to e-mails, etc. Besides writing, one of my volunteer projects is researching vendors to track women and minority owned businesses. I can slip down a rabbit hole when writing, but I also do it when I become engrossed in research.

  • Working prolonged periods on the computer requires a comfortable desk. The desk needs to be the right height, so your hands rest comfortably on the keyboard. Lots of people like to use computer wrist rests as well, and those are available at office supply stores.
  • Even more crucial is a chair that is ergonomic in design and provides excellent lumbar support to your lower back. For years I used a standard office chair, and often I had to quit working because my shoulders and back hurt so badly. I opted for a chair I had used at the Wilder Foundation. All employees have Haworth chairs from the Zody line. These are high-performance task chairs with asymmetrical lumbar adjustments and user-selected support on each side of the lower back. Zody chairs contain up to 51% recycled content and are up to 95% recyclable. Haworth chairs are not cheap, but for me the money was well worth the expense. You can find cheaper chairs at office supply stores, but the key to being comfortable is an ergonomic design with strong back support.
  • I needed to organize the stacks of endless paper. I wanted something like magazine holders, but didn’t even know if they were manufactured any longer. Thankfully, I discovered Martha Stewart has a line of office products and I found what I needed in four colors. I purchased one of each and labeled them: Blog Research, Book Research, Web Site Materials, and Miscellaneous Items. I file papers there until I need them, getting them off my desk.
  • A writer always needs pen and pencils handy, and holders can be purchased at office supply stores. Or, a coffee/tea mug will suffice just as well.

Now that I’ve got my writing space organized, I’m not feeling so buried in a sea of paper and work more efficiently. What works for you? Leave a comment about how you organized your writing space!

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