I have the space where my soul rests—the place where I write.
It took me a while to nail mine down, but I think I finally have everything the way I want it. I work in a room with tall ceilings, with my desk right in front of a huge window. My husband found me an antique writing desk (for cheap!) that’s perfect. It’s cream and is filled with little nooks and crannies for me to stuff with stationery, letters, and notes. I also have books and notebooks stacked here and there and two little plants, which I’m barely keeping alive. This is the place where I do most of my editing and writing.
I’m a big believer in having your own writing space to constantly fuel your creativity. It’s a place where you can feel comfortable and recharge your imagination. Writing involves developing a healthy mindset, which can be created in this space. You need a spot where you can settle in, the place where you can feel strongest, to do this.
Have you ever heard of a querencia? It’s a topic we covered in my favorite course I took in college, Advanced Composition. In that class, we all had to keep a journal that we wrote in a couple of times a week to get us in the habit of writing in general (something we’ll definitely talk more about in later articles). We mostly wrote about whatever we wanted, but we did occasionally have some writing prompts that were assigned. Identifying our querencia was my favorite, and it’s how I want us to think about our writing spaces now.
The word “querencia” is a Spanish idea that relates to bullfighting. Merriam-Webster defines it this way: “an area in the arena taken by the bull for a defensive stand in a bullfight.” It’s the place the bull decides is its most advantageous stance, and it’s said the bull actually becomes more dangerous in this spot because it’s where he draws his strength from. This concept was mentioned in Ernest Hemingway’s book Death in the Afternoon, and he wrote about it in this way:
“A querencia is a place the bull naturally wants to go to in the ring, a preferred locality… It is a place which develops in the course of the fight where the bull makes his home. It does not usually show at once, but develops in his brain as the fight goes on. In this place he feels that he has his back against the wall and in his querencia he is inestimably more dangerous and almost impossible to kill.”Ernest Hemingway
Today, I want us to make our writing spaces into our querencias. Construct a place where you feel safe and strong. A place where you can settle into your soul and become your most authentic self. A place you can call home.
In this space, you can awaken your creativity and imagination and get the most out of your time writing. There’s just nothing like writing in a space you’ve created for yourself. You’ll find, too, that this space can teach you more about yourself as a writer, and we’ll focus on how you can transfer this chosen spot into a state of mind…
So let’s make our space!
- The first step to creating this writing space may seem pretty obvious—first, you have to find a spot in your house (or somewhere you can consistently access) where you can be alone to write. It needs to be a spot where people know not to bother you. You’ll also want to make sure it’s in a space you like. Do you want a lot of light? Choose a place with some windows to let in daylight. Or if you want a darker space, find a nook with some lamps for a warmer atmosphere. Whatever you choose, make sure your spot meets your specifications!
- Next, fill it with all of your favorite things! This can be stuff that inspires you, whimsical pieces that bring a bit of fun into your space, or decorations that give your spot a certain aesthetic. The possibilities are endless, but here are some examples:
- Your favorite books
- Inspirational notes
- Whatever you want!
- You’ll also need to equip your station with supplies. This is completely dependent upon what resources you need when you write. Do you write on a laptop? Better be sure to have your charger on hand and a clear space for your computer to sit. Or maybe you’re a pen and notebook kind of writer. In that case, make sure you have your favorite pens and notebook available, as well as backups. Again, your spot will be completely unique to you—make sure everything you need is available so you won’t become distracted searching for anything.
- Now comes the fun part… bring in all of those little things that really put you in your element. These are the things that make up the integral parts of your writing process. The options are limitless here, so I’ll tell you about mine. Here’s what I know I need to get into my writing zone—headphones to listen to music and a mug of tea (coffee is my editing drink. You can tell I’ve put a little too much thought into this!). A blanket helps, too—I definitely like to be warm and cozy.
These steps should get you started with creating your own writing space. Having a space where you can recharge your inspiration is fantastic, especially when you first start writing. However, this space can do more than simply function as a place for you to retreat, your querencia—it can also teach you more about your writing process and enable you to take it with you so you can write almost anywhere. You don’t want to get stuck, where the only place you can actually write is this one spot—you need to use it to grow and develop your writing mindset. Of course, this place is where you can go when you want to get most of your hard work done. But use it as a teacher to make you a better writer.
As you use your space, narrow down what it is that gets you into your most productive mindset. For me, it was simpler than I initially expected (I’m an overthinker). I discovered that all I need is music (or my headphones), my laptop, and a warm drink. But it took some testing for me to figure that out, most of which was done in my writing space. Your querencia can do that for you—it can grow you into the writer you want to be, one who can learn to find inspiration in different spaces.
Use some of these steps to construct your querencia! I’d love to hear about your results. Once you create your writing space, feel free to post a picture of it in the comments. Here’s mine:
I hope this is a space where you can find solace, creativity, inspiration, characters… your writing world.
Thanks for reading today, and look out for our article next week, which will be about editing your own work, which isn’t as scary as it may sound! I’m excited to talk about it with you.
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