There is more to a writer's job than simply typing texts onto paper. It is about bringing stories, images, opinions, dialogues, and fleeting moments to life through the masterful weaving of words, grammar, and imagination. And that is the reason why an author’s home and workspace, combined or otherwise, play an all too important role to their profession.
Writers need to be in spaces that are able to stir their consciousness and creativity, exploring its depths to reveal ideas, in quiet isolation. But beyond that, it also needs to be adequate enough to entertain friends for a little tête-à-tête or colleagues to celebrate a good review. So, if you are a writer, or designing a retreat for one, here are some essential elements to hopefully inspire that next Philippine bestseller.
Writer William Zinsser once said that “clutter is the disease of American writing,” and while he was referring to clutter in written form, we believe the same goes for one’s work environment. A writer mostly spends his or her hours in front of a computer (or a typewriter for more traditional folks), waiting for inspiration to strike, which is why having a clean and clutter-free desk is essential to regaining and fostering focus.
Editors can’t stress enough how relevant reading is to writing. The more you read, the better you write, as they say, so our advice is to devote an area solely dedicated for activities such as reading books and, perhaps, the day’s newspaper. Of course, said space needs to be a cozy corner with comfortable chairs (ottoman recommended, but optional) and amazing lighting, quite like this chic room from one of Spanish firm Castroferro Arquitectos’s projects.
Aside from reading, it is similarly good for a writer's abode to have a quiet and peaceful nook for thinking, especially when the property is also home to children. Here's a fine example of a hideout from South Korean company MLNP Architects, which exhibits both the importance of seclusion, as well as the clever control of limited space, light, and high ceilings. It can double as a place for kids to do their homework, too!
If there is anything we've learned from the Stephen King horror novel The Shining, which was, of course, brilliantly adapted into film by director Stanley Kubrick, it is that all work and no play makes Jack a nursery-rhyming psycho (bravo to Jack Nicholson for convincingly playing that part in the film, by the way). As writers, or every person for that matter, need company and social interaction in between moments of self-imposed creative quarantine, it is vital for homes to have common areas for entertaining family, friends, and fellow writers.
We especially love this spacious wabi-sabi dining room that combines solid wood and steel furniture with the warmth of natural light and the raw beauty of concrete walls and flooring.
Plants have many known benefits to a human's well being, and those include improving memory, creating calm, as well as promoting productivity, precision, and concentration—basically everything a writer requires to face life's stressful workloads and demanding deadlines. Living in a property surrounded with greeneries is ideal, but if that is not the case, bring the soothing influence of nature into your world with indoor plants suitable for the Philippine tropical climate. Just remember to nurture and not neglect them!
Writers find inspiration everywhere, including their own home, so try to promote a creative nest that is able to get the creative juices flowing, whether it is through listening to music or through culinary discoveries in a minimalistic yet fully equipped kitchen or—as demonstrated in this hip flat on Berlin’s trendy Prenzlauer Berg district—both!
Great writers such as Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, Jack Kerouac, and Neil Geiman, to name a few, all share a common affection for cats, while French poet Jean Cocteau went as far as helping the establishment of “Club des Amis des Chats” or the Cat Friends Club in Paris. Indeed, such is the close relationship between creatives and cats that having feline-friendly furniture, like this cool cat tree from Paris-based Ful[l], has become an important item in a writer's wishlist.
While other people aspire for walk-in closets or wine cellars, writers fantasize about bookshelves. As mentioned earlier, reading and collecting books are important pursuits for professional writers, making large, built-in bookcases one of the best splurges they'll ever make.
Designed by Platform 5 Architects for a client in London, this dramatic, custom library in elegant, light-colored oak, which crawls down until the ground level study and part of the dining room, is the best we've seen by far. Every writer's wet dream, if you ask us!
Aside from sunlight's countless health benefits, an effective manipulation of the Philippines’s 13-hour daylight also helps a home radiate refinement and tasteful vibrancy, not to mention enhances its energy efficiency as you don't have to use electric light so much (that means lower bills for struggling writers!).
As illustrated in the book Windows on the World: Fifty Writers, Fifty Views, a room with a view is a much-required investment for people working from home, especially writers. On days when a writer hits that proverbial block, it would be great for him or her to have the option to step away from the computer and contemplate and re-activate inspiration in a quiet corner that looks out to views. Most times, doing just that results to a writer returning to the writing desk with new ideas and a fresh perspective.
Last but not the least, create a clear distinction between your workspace and rooms for rest by adopting a minimalistic approach for your bedroom. Keep items related to work that distract from a long, leisurely sleep outside the room, that way you’ll be able to wake up fully rested to tackle another writing marathon for another day.