Monday, 11 June 2012

How to create an inspiring writing den

All writers know how difficult it is to face a blank page. That first sentence is the hardest to form even though [or maybe because] you know it will probably get deleted once you’re underway. I have the same kind of problem with beautiful notebooks. I want to save them for that ‘special idea’ that I know will never appear because special ideas only ever materialise when I’m writing and not when I’m gazing lovingly at beautiful new notebooks.

I’m guessing it’s different for artists which is why the phrase ‘a blank canvas’ means something exciting, full of promise, an as-yet-undrawn idea. But I’m a writer not an artist and I have a blank canvas that’s scaring my creativity to pieces. Mr A is in one of his DIY moods. Normally this would make me groan in desperation, sawdust trodden in everywhere, bare floorboards where there should really be carpet, heaps of brick dust beneath drilled holes.

Mr A at work
His current DIY project is Daughter’s bedroom. She used to have a divided-off section with a hand basin. It was meant to be a dressing room. It was used as a dumping corner. She left home years ago and Mr A has finally removed the partition and basin and he’s fitted a brand new window overlooking the garden. As soon as I saw it I knew what I wanted to do with it. It’s going to be my  writing den. Perfect!

The carpet has been disposed of, there are no curtains at the windows and the walls are almost ready for painting. My job is to choose the colour scheme. Aaagh! It used to be lavender but that will be painted over with my new, inspirational colour... when I choose it! 
  • Do I go for a pale colour on the walls or something rich and warm? 
  • Do I select a plain carpet with a rug, a patterned carpet or one of those mottled ones? 
  • Do I go for plain curtains or ones with a hint of pattern? 
  • And should the colour scheme be beige and green or yellow and cream or... 
I can't decide and Mr A is waiting to buy the paint. *sigh*

Have you got a writing den with that perfect colour scheme for creative inspiration?


  1. My study had grass green walls and a beautiful L shaped desk... and then I had to give it up to be a teenager's bedroom (until then, my boys had been sharing - I probably had more than enough share of that room, but it was still sad to see it go.)

    Enjoy the room. Have you thought about paintings on the wall?

  2. Close your eyes and imagine yourself sitting down to write. Look around you. Where are you? Is the space airy and light or dark and cozy with a warm yellow lamplight spilling on to your desk.
    My writing space/bookkeeping space/clutter control space (okay you get the idea, it's a junk room really) has pale green walls and white trim/white beadboard part way up the wall and a big L shaped desk that I haven't seen the top of in years. I would love to have a dark panelled room with a fireplace and huge table and book shelves...I could go on but I won't.

  3. Sorry - can't help you. I write in many odd places when I'm away, and at home it depends on the weather - curled up by the fire in the winter, and in a room with a view of the garden when it's warm.

    But I can see that having a study just for you will be wonderful - do post pictures when it's done.

  4. Oh, your new space is going to be lovely! I'm excited just hearing about it. (I'm no help with decorating though. That is not one of my talents.)

  5. I only have a small apartment so write in the lounge, it suits me but would dearly love a study,


  6. So much fun! I love/hate choosing colours and schemes. There's so much pressure and so much excitement all at the same time! Once my kids are out and about I'll take one of their rooms for my space. Until then, I use my bed and a comfy chair in the living room :)

  7. I like the idea of a soft colour. Dare I say a ferrol & Ball and then colour in fabrics and rugs and a cushion. Calming and comfortable. Mine is a tip cause of academic work and my panic over it but after the autumn and submission I , too, will redecorate it. Cx

  8. Hi Ros .. warm creamy yellow - as you write in the rain! Then you can tart everything else up - pretty/jazzy curtains .. same with rug on floor .. smart desk and lots of shelving, and bookshelves .. sounds just delightful - what a great project .. especially as it is raining so much.

    Cheers Hilary

  9. My writing space is a desk in the corner of the bedroom - I am green with envy! Your colour choice will depend on whether you want calming down or livening up - maybe you should have two desks facing different colours with a swivel chair between? :D

  10. Hi Annalisa, I thought maybe I'd go for some wacky paintings, not sure quite what yet but something with lots of detail.

    Hi Delores, I expect my new den will soon be a bit of a dump. I'm awful at keeping papers tidy but at least Mr A can have his desk back again!

    Hi Jo, I'm hoping it'll help me to work more consistently which has been my problem since Mr A has retired and yes I will post up the 'after' photos.

    Hi Ruth, thanks. It is exciting!

    Hi Yvonne, I sometimes write in the lounge. It's a good place to think.

    Hi Jemi, that's exactly how I feel about choosing colours and schemes.

    Hi Carol, I think it's going to be a soft green and yes, some colour with rugs etc would be good... scary but good!

    Hi Hilary, creamy yellow sounds nice though I did once have the kitchen painted in what I thought was a creamy yellow. Turned out to be primrose yellow and it attracted every insect for miles around!

    Hi Lizy, two desks! Goodness. It's not that big a space, just enough room for one small desk and maybe a bookshelf.

  11. Hello Ros, your new writing den sounds fab! Overlooking the garden is very important to me, so I always make sure that is what I do when I'm writing. Have fun with the decs too. As always,sending fluffy hugs xx

  12. Oh how lovely.I write on the dinning room table. I would paint or paper it in a neutral colour ,cream or pale lemon have bright curtains that can be changed to another colour if you get bored. I like carpets with a little fleck through them, plain carpets show up any bits of fluff. Nice pictures ans some photos of your grandchildren and of course books and maybe a nice easy chair to read your books in.

  13. the nice thing about paint is you can always change in a year. However, I have three cream walls and then one wall that I did a two tone glaze - I got the "kit" in at the big hardware/home improvement store. First layer was a dark blue, then the glaze was a forest green - might sound weird but it actually does "pop" and give a texture to that wall. Plus I do love pictures and photographs - again, you can change out depending on mood or inspirational needs. Good luck with the project and have fun with it. Don't overthink - go with the gut.

  14. neutral colors are relaxing to the and green are relaxing too, and add a splash of color without being too overpowering. :)

  15. Oh man, you've got a big decision ahead of you. But what an awesome decision.

  16. How wonderful to have your own space.

    I tend to go pretty plain. I work well the less distracted I am.

    We need photos of the finished product!

  17. How exciting - love starting these new projects and these days it is so much easier to see what they might look like with all those snazzy online tools.


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