How to Create a Writing Space on a Budget

by Suzannah Freeman

Home office

All you really need to write is a pen and some paper. Right?

That may be true, but having a dedicated writing space can make writing easier and help you make the most of your time.

Whether or not you have a home office, you can use whatever space you do have to set up something comfortable and functional to work in, all without the need to splash out.

Here are some tips to help you set up your own writing space on a modest budget:

Choose your space

Decide where in your home you’d like to work, and where you’re going to be most productive. Is there a corner in a bedroom, dining room, den, or rec room with space for a few things? Where do you feel most inspired?

If you live in small accommodations where you’re pressed for space, consider setting up a movable office where everything can be stowed away in a large carry container.

Take inventory of what you already have

Spend half an hour looking through all that stuff you have lying around, and I bet you’ll have a head start on the materials you need. Paper, pens, pencils, highlighters, erasers, folders, paper clips, a stapler… Most people have these items (or even a surplus of them) in their homes already.

Don’t feel you need to buy everything new, especially if the old items work just as well.

Decide on must-haves and nice-to-haves

What one must have, and what one would like to have, is different for everyone’s writing journey.

Most writers today feel a reliable computer is a must-have tool for taking your work beyond hobby status. You’ll also need manual writing tools and some basic stationary items. A good desk lamp is necessary if you’ll be working in an area with little natural light and poor overhead lighting, and a comfortable chair will help keep your back in shape.

But what about the nice-to-have items? How about that fancy writing software, the leather-bound writing folio, and the deluxe office chair with massage feature? If you’re on a budget, make a list of the things you’d like to have some day, and add them to your office one at a time, as they become financially possible.

Hunt for bargains

Even a top-name computer can be nabbed for a relatively decent price if you shop around or buy second hand. If you already own a computer that needs a bit of work, consider paying someone to give it a once-over.

How about a desk? A desk from a yard sale, or one that’s handmade (by yourself or someone you can beg to make one for you) will work just as well as a new one.

If you know what you want, try advertising in your local paper asking people to contact you if they’re interested in selling their used items.

Give it your personal touch

Once you have everything you need to get started, don’t forget to make the space your very own. Hang some art on the wall near your desk, or add a vase of flowers to your bookshelf. Paint wooden items with your own unique designs.

If you’re setting up a stow-away office in a carrying box, buy a freestanding picture frame and write an inspirational quotation in it.

Make the space your own, and you won’t even notice you’ve been frugal in setting it up.

What area of your home makes you feel most inspired to write? Which items are your must-haves, and which are your nice-to-haves?

Today’s Challenge: If you don’t have a dedicated writing space, decide on a spot in which you feel most inspired and comfortable for writing. Create a simple plan for how you will make that space your own, and how you will tailor it to your personal needs.

About the Author: Suzannah Windsor Freeman is the founder of Write It Sideways, a blog where writers learn new skills, define their goals, and increase their productivity. She is co-founder of the Better Writing Habits challenge.

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