Writing at home is the beeest. Until it’s the worst.
It’s like the difference between going to Starbucks to get some work done, or staying home on the comfy couch with your laptop because that’s your happy place at the moment.
Sometimes a separate “office space” like a writing room at your PRO calls to you. You might just have to get out of the house to be able to focus on writing that song and not doing the 12 loads of laundry that’s stacked up overnight.
But what about those days when you just can’t get away? When you have to write from home, there are a few things you can do to make your writing time more productive.
1. Have a ritual and stick to it.
If I write in the morning, I start the coffee maker, change into some respectable clothes (i.e. yoga pants and a t-shirt with a bra), wash my face and brush my teeth, and put on make up only if I really feel like it. Then I make myself a big cup of coffee and sit down to write. This combination of things in this order turns off my sleepy my lizard brain and wakes up my creative brain. It actually feels a lot like getting up and going to work on a weekday, which is why I think it works so well for me.
Find your ritual and stick to it. Doing the same thing every single time before you sit down to write at home will help shake up your creative brain and get you in the mood to write.
2. Have a dedicated writing space.
Pick a place in your home where you can set yourself up to write. If you play the piano, this is preferably where you piano is, or at least where you can set up a keyboard. If you play guitar, you may want a comfy seat without armrests. Other things to consider are the amount of natural light in the room – do you like it bright and sunny, or dark and cave-y? – if there’s a desk, a television, or a door. You want to make this space as inviting as possible for you. If you have a spare room in your home, this is ideal. But if you can only make due with a corner of your room, make it yours. Light a candle and get to work.
3. About that door...shut it.
Husbands and kids are wonderful, but they’re also wonderful distractions. If you’re able to make your writing space in a room with a door, please please PUH-LEASE do yourself a favor and close it. Even if you only have 20 minutes before you have to leave the house for whatever thing it is you’re doing that day – if you’re writing in that 20 minutes, close the door. You can let your family know ahead of time that you’re not shutting them out, but that you’re doing some songwriting work and have to concentrate. I mean, you’re making noise, after all. But mostly, you deserve the right to a clear headspace. Your hubs will understand.
4. Turn the TV off!
Yup. No TV in the writing space. If you can’t avoid having a TV in the room, then do not watch it. Nope. Don’t do it. Don’t even be tempted to reach for the remote when you’re stuck on the dreaded second verse. You’re only wasting your time by willfully distracting yourself. The same goes for YouTube, the radio, podcasts, and anything else along those lines.
5. Put that phone on silent
Or “Do not disturb” mode. I know it seems a bit harsh, but if you’re feeling super distracted in the first place, you need to give yourself the best opportunity you can to get in the zone. Only answer y9our phone if you think there’s an emergency. Otherwise, that’s what they made voicemail for. And texts can always be answered at a later time.
6. Social media, more like NO-cial media!
Har har. (Shuddup, I’m funny!) But really, nothing is a bigger time waster than endlessly scrolling through a feed, looking for something new to zap your attention away from the task at hand: writing a song! Notifications can wait.
Born in the Sunshine State, Sarah Spencer writes vibrant, shining americana/pop music. She works in Nashville TN as a singer/songwriter, as well as the Creative Director for a small music marketing agency. She's allergic to dogs, but day by day is trying to convince herself that she isn't so she can adopt a big furry family.
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