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If you want to get more writing done, close the door

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I’ve been writing for fifteen years now with articles all over the place, and more short stories and (half finished) novels than I care to count. Up until recently most of work was done late at night when no one else in my house was awake, or in frenzied spates when a new story bloomed in my mind.

I’ve also fought with writer’s block during the entirety of my writing career. I’ve spent days or weeks furiously typing away, only to have my motivation or path forward evaporate in front of my eyes.

Since i’m lucky enough to work from home, I have an office. Until just a few weeks ago, that office consisted of a cramped corner in the middle of the living room. This means I was constantly distracted by my boyfriend, the dog, the television, whether dinner was ready, deliveries to the house…I think you get the picture.

And then something magical happened. My previous roomie moved out, leaving me a spare bedroom prime for being used as an office. It had more room which is what I was really looking forward to, but I overlooked it’s most important feature. The ability to close the door.

I’ve had a proper office for barely more than a week, and in that week I’ve been more productive than I have been in the last month. I can crank up my music, and just get to work rather than wondering what is going to distract me next. It’s an area of the house that is entirely mine, and that I’m able to hide away in when inspiration (finally) strikes me.

I don’t always work with the door closed. If I’m writing an article that is still weeks away from being due, or i’m just researching something I can leave it open. A tacit invitation for anyone in my house that I’m free to socialize or deal with things.

When I’m really working though, when it’s imperative that I get words down onto the page? I can close the door, and my partner understands this means that unless the house is burning down I’m not available.

Having a proper office has done more than that too. It’s a place that’s entirely mine. Nobody else’s junk cluttering my desk, and hand lettered quotes hung up on the wall to keep me focused.

If you wonder why you sit at your desk all day long, but never seem to get any work done then consider whether your door is open or closed.

I’m not just talking about physical doors too. I fully appreciate that not everyone has the space available to them to have a full room to commit to their writing. If you’re working off a laptop or in the living room though, make sure you’re able to isolate yourself from what is going on and concentrate on the task at hand.

This could mean ‘quiet hours’ where you aren’t to be disturbed, or it could be as simple as some noise cancelling headphones that let friends and loved ones know that you’re busy at work.

No matter how you do it, if you really want to get more work done, close the door.


Helping each other write better.