When I was younger, I could and would write anywhere – much to the chagrin of my schoolteachers and well-meaning relatives. As long as I had my notebook and a working pen, I found that I could drown out the world around me and get lost in whatever story I was working on at the time.
Although that skill hasn’t entirely disappeared over time, I do find myself somewhat more easily distracted these days. It’s one thing to sit down and get lost in a writing project when you’re a high school student with little else to do with your time, but it’s an entirely different game trying to focus on your writing when you’ve got a million other important projects to attend to. This is why I’ve found it helpful to set aside a space in my house where I work on my writing projects and nothing else – no housework, no paperwork, and certainly no socializing.
I jokingly (and sometimes not-so-jokingly) refer to this space in my basement as my ‘dungeon,’ but in truth I find it rather freeing to sit myself down in a place I’ve come to associate with focusing on my work. It functions not only as my office, but also as my escape from the numerous distracting little tasks that can pull me away from a project and keep me mired indefinitely while I finish ‘one more chore.’ It helps me take my projects seriously, give them the full attention they deserve, and maintain the job/life balance that can be so hard to keep when you work from home.
Of course, I haven’t always been able to dedicate a space entirely to writing, and I know that it’s not an option for many people. You don’t have to have a dedicated office set up in order to give yourself a space where you write. What matters is that you assign something – be it a spot on the couch, an hour or three after work, or a seat at the library – to the task of writing, and that you stick with that assignment. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your projects grow once you give them some space of their own.