Thursday, June 10, 2010

Optimizing Your Writing:::Feng Shui & Your Desk

Tisha Morris, our guest blogger, is the author of 27 Things to Feng Shui Your Home, available on, or directly from her site, Mind Body Om. This is the final stop on her spring blog tour to promote her new book.
An attorney turned Feng Shui expert and healer, she has much to share about creating an empowering living environment. And for you, our readers, she offers tips on using Feng Shui in your writer's work space, for optimal writing results.

Your Own Space

One of the best things about being a writer is that there is virtually no overhead. All you need is a computer and a bit of discipline. But creating a designated office space is often overlooked by writers -- not to mention creating a feng shui-ed office space.

Whether writing fiction or nonfiction, blogs or books, a writer spends her day pouring parts of herself onto the page, and from there, into the world. Emotionally and intellectually, it can be a very vulnerable place. This is one reason why having an office space is so important -- a space that is yours and yours alone, with no distractions.

The Right Location

Writers usually work at home, but finding adequate office space can be challenging.
If square footage is an issue, then home offices typically find themselves sharing space with guests (the guest room); daily meals (the kitchen table); or living room activities (a desk in the corner). So it takes some creative planning to make a home office work for a writer.

The first step is to select one location for your workspace. Ideally, this is a designated home office. But it could be a comfortable chair, your bed, or the ever-popular kitchen table. Whatever the space, it is important that you make it your space. In other words, this is the place you go to write. As with meditation, when you use the same space each time, it helps you drop into the flow more easily. It also signals that you're making writing an important priority.

Here's an aside about working in coffee shops: Some people need the stimulation of other people in their vicinity to get motivated to write. For others, people in their environment is -- at worst, irritating; and at best, distracting. Experiment to discover what works for you.

The Right Place for Your Desk

There are a few things to keep in mind when setting up a workspace. The most important consideration for any office is its desk placement. When sitting at your desk, you should be in the "Command Position." Simply put, this is the position that puts you "in command," able to survey everything in your surroundings. This position comes from our instinctive need to have visible control of our environment.

The ideal Command Position would be with a view of the door from your chair, a view looking out a window, and a solid wall behind you. This may mean moving your desk into the room and away from the wall. If this is absolutely not possible, then put up a mirror that allows you to see the door in its reflection. If you do not use a desk, but instead use a countertop, or even your lap, it is still important to face the door entering the room. You want to feel confident as you sit in your space -- whether you are home alone, or surrounded by a hundred colleagues in a business office.

As an example, let's say a writer's office is doubling as a guest room. In this case, the desk should face the door, but shouldn't be directly in line with it (that would result in too much chi energy flowing into the room, disturbing the writer). It's best if a window is not behind the desk. Why? A wall backing you up offers support, and for writers in an isolated profession, feeling supported is crucial. The writer in this case could simply keep the blind closed, so the feeling of being exposed is minimized.

Clear All Clutter

It is very important to have an uncluttered space when writing. Your mind is directly affected by your environment. So once you designate your workspace, be sure to clear it of all clutter.

What Size Should Your Desk Be?

The size of your desk is a personal choice, and depends upon what you prefer. Everyone likes or requires a different amount of work surface area. For some, an executive-size desk makes them feel more powerful. For others, it's just more space to keep clean. I personally prefer a small desk that will accommodate my laptop, cup of tea, and cell phone.
But I work virtually paperfree, and prefer to keep everything either on my phone or in my computer. So, in my office, my desk isn't large, but it does take center stage. It faces the door without being in direct line with it, and it isn't in front of a window. When you're ready to pick out your desk, find one that fits your work style and is comfortable for you. If you are physically cramped, your creativity can't flow freely.

If you create a designated workspace that feels good to you, you will be more likely to get to work on your writing, to enjoy your writing time, and to be successful with whatever you write.