Modern Journalist Toolkit 3: Home Office Hacks for Writers
Like most freelancers these days, my office is where my laptop and cell phone are.
I do well with a home office/out of the office split. At home, I have lunch the way I like it, and a puppy who likes to go for mid-morning walks. At a cafe, I have the buzz of people and good coffee. At a library, I have reference materials, research experts, and enforced hushing. Outside, I have clean fresh air and sunshine on my skin.
Where you work can have a huge impact on the quality of your concentration, thought process, and writing. The majority of my work is done in my home office—though to be fair, it’s more of a dedicated office corner. I’ve hacked my desk and equipment to boost productivity, and when I sit down there, it’s a trigger that it’s time to work.
If you’re not a minimalist, you need to be realistic about working in a primary living space. It’s very challenging if you’re in a small space where one room serves as primary work, living, eating, and sleeping area.
When I lived in a studio in New York City, a false wall created a closet of sorts (directly in front of one of the few windows) underneath the bed. From a shelter-mag-aesthetics point of view, it made logical sense to use it as a closet for clothes and related gear, and to have the desk out in the open, wedged between the fridge and sofa.
When I came home and opened the door, I was immediately faced not so much with a living room as with my work space. I swapped things around, and tucked the desk into the low-ceilinged closet area. When I sat there in the daytime, I had full natural light, and more importantly, when I left that little cave-work area, I walked into the living space. Which, yes, also now included a freestanding closet plus floordrobe.
This video show how I’ve optimized my home office. Some hacks are more personal than others. For example, I prefer to face windows. I like the natural light, and every now and then I glance up to adjust my eyes to a further distance. Other people need the complete opposite: a blank wall with zero distractions. If you’ve never paid much attention, you can create a little experiment for yourself to see how your surroundings support or hinder your work.
Take a look, and if you share on social media, add in some of your own #HomeOfficeHacks.
Want a blueprint for writing queries that editors find irresistible? Download a copy of the free eguide, “5 Proven Steps to Writing Queries that Sell.”