Monday, May 9, 2022

Tailoring a Writing Space to Suit Your Needs

Welcome to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Blog.

 I am honored to be here today to discuss one of the most important spaces in your home: your WRITING space. As many of you know, I have been an interior designer for over three decades and a writer for over eleven years. As creative people, we writers need a writing space that will calm, comfort, inspire, and motivate us to WRITE. 

Since I started writing, I have created five very different writing spaces depending on my current living situation. Not everyone has a guest room, office, or spare room they could call their own, especially those with children or single people in limited space. Like many of you, I wrote my first novel on the kitchen table, which is not the most comfortable way to write. So today, I would like to suggest functional and creative alternatives. 

A writing space needs to be personal to YOU. Not only should it have the usual writing tablets, journal, printing paper, pens, pencils, etc. Why not add family photos, plants, treasures from your travels, or any item that means something to you. So, when you glance at said item during a writing block, it will transport you to a happier place, and may free up your stressed mind.

After completing the first novel, I decided to transform a large walk-in closet that had once been the hall into a master bedroom suite. It was walled off from my space when the building went condo decades before I bought my unit. I first started by taking off the door and then added shelves. I was able to put three rows of shelving. It created a cozy feeling while adding much- -needed storage space for all my books! After slipping in meaningful and decorative items in-between the books, it turned this closet into a visually appealing and very functional writing space. With my laptop open, the printer under the desk, and a comfy chair, I was ready to write my next novel, which I did. Now, of course, not everyone has a large closet available, but in this situation, I still used this space to store all my treasured books, journals, and art paper/supplies (placing them in decorative boxes). ORGANIZING is key to creating any functional space. 

Eventually, it was time for an upgrade. Since I had an enormous living room, It was time to redesign the

space. Creating two rooms from one large room is never easy, BUT, with the proper planning and design, it can add the additional room you need and add big $$$$ to your real estate. There were five windows: three on one wall, two on the other. With a natural break between the two large windows, it was easy to put up a wall. Adding a French pocket door kept the space open, so that light could filter through the other windows and into the much smaller living space. The cost was about five thousand dollars, BUT, when I sold the condo, it addedthirty thousand because of an additional room. Money well spent, and it gave me several years of writing bliss.

 Writing space number three was not your traditional writing space. Since this condo was only 625 sq. ft, I didn’t have room for an actual area, so I wrote my third novel on my living room sofa and terrace. The condo featured many Harry Potter signed prints which inspired me, but I

still needed more shelf space for my treasured books and other pieces. I designed a ceiling-to-floor bookshelf on the side of my fireplace. It was an odd corner bump-out, and filling in this space gave me the added storage I needed. Since many of us use laptops, a writer can truly write anywhere as long as you have the proper storage and light. This built-in cost a mere $400.00! 

Luckily my next space had an extra bedroom which, of course, I turned into a writing retreat. Adding a daybed was essential for late evenings when I needed a good stretch out or chose to write using my laptop table…another MUST. I do most of my writing lying on the couch or in bed; it’s more comfortable for me as I get older and creakier. LOL. I found a lovely antique armoire that I turned into an amazing storage closet for all my art supplies, extra books, etc. Many can be bought at thrift stores or on Facebook Marketplace for under $200.00. Once these gems cost thousands, but now anyone can afford one.

Currently, I have many writing nooks which I genuinely enjoy, but my favorite is the one I created in my entry. The focal piece is a gorgeous antique drop-leaf writing desk with glass-enclosed cubbies for books. As the sun streams through my eastern windows, this space is perfect for my morning muse and coffee! I added a recessed bookshelf on the landing to showcase my classic leather books. An entry can be so much more than just a way in and out. Why not create a distinctive and unique writing nook in yours.


Time to review the FIVE must-haves: 

1.      Something treasured (art, photographs, sculptures, first edition books, your pet)

2.      Something inspirational (the view from your window- Plant a tree..I did! Perhaps a flower box bursting with spring flowers, a bird feeder, or your published work proudly displayed…the possibilities are endless)

3.      Books (add bookshelves for more!)

4.      Writing essentials (computer, pens, paper, journal, etc.)

5.      Something living besides yourself (lol) (Plants, flowers, a goldfish, a cat tree, or your pup’s bed- having living things around you breathes life into your writing). 

I hope this article helps to create your dream writing space. Remember, no matter how small your area, you can create something functional, inspirational, and beautiful! 

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Michael Di Gesu believes CREATIVITY is a terrible thing to waste. As a Renaissance man, creativity is his life; it starts and ends his day: art, music, and literature are his past, present, and future. With a talent to weave atmospheric and descriptive prose into his writing, he helps other authors do the same.


Facebook:    (for some odd reason, FB cut off my Di from my last name)


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Michael, you are the master at designing. Those spaces all look great. And smart to make minor changes that upped the value of your place.

PT Dilloway said...

When the weather is decent I do most of my writing in my car or in a park. Pre-pandemic I would work a lot in Starbucks or Panera Bread or similar places. For some reason writing in an office hasn't ever really appealed to me much.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Thank you, Alex! I appreciate the compliment. Pairing my love for design with my love for writing creates beautiful and meaningful writing spaces.

PT, I don't blame you at all. In my current home, I have a wonderful front porch and once the weather warms up, I practically live on it. I do much of my writing there surrounded by lovely gardens. Working outdoors is truly inspirational!

Computer Tutor said...

Love the pictures and the suggestions.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I LOVE your ideas. You are creative on so many different levels!! You have inspired me today. Now, I just need tips on finding the energy. Didn't you once recommend bananas? LOL. Is that your secret?

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Absolutely beautiful, Michael. And I have everything covered, including the live part - cats AND fish.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Thanks, Jacqui! I hope they help you create your perfect space.

Thank you so much, Elizabeth! I know you will do something wonderful to your space.

Happy to hear it, L. Diane! You have wonderful taste, and I am sure your writing space is perfect, especially with the "kitty," AND all your "Minions!" (I tried to leave a comment on your blog Wed, but no matter what I did, I couldn't...I just want to let you know, that I did drop by your blog.

Lisa Tener said...

I love that you planted a tree! I have lots of my mom's watercolor paintings around me, especially a simple beach scene. She was definitely a creativity role model--often creating a painting a day in her most prolific times. And all that practice led to mastery. Thank you for reminding of her.

Mirka Breen said...

Your home is BEAUTIFUL. You make excellent points about the need for organization, peace, and objects of inspiration.
Years ago, a non-writing friend asked me if I needed to "go on a retreat" to write. It was never in my budget or fit my life obligations, so I told my friend the truth: I made a corner that serves as my "retreat."

Michael Di Gesu said...

Lisa...You are SO welcome! What a lovely tribute to your mom and her talent! On the desk in my entry, I have a picture of my sixteen-year-old mother looking lovely in her 1947 Easter outfit. Such a lady and beauty. It reminds me of the amazing life she had, and what she had passed down to me (a love of beauty and style).

Thank you, Mirka! It takes so much time and love to create a space that is right. What a PERFECT response! Our imagination can fuel up anywhere as long as we are comfortable in our space.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thank for your inspiring article. Love your photos.

cleemckenzie said...

Your spaces would inspire me! That's for sure.