Creating your Perfect Writing Space

Dr Amy Birch, Centre for Research Staff Development

Over WriteFest 2018, I have hosted a number of Shut Up and Write! sessions where researchers have space, time, and peace to write. I have been delighted with the number of people I have met and the engagement they have brought into the sessions. Often our discussions in our short or long breaks from writing have focused around recreating the Shut Up and Write! experience in their own workspaces, so I decided to write a blog this week that could summarize all the tips we have discussed for creating the perfect writing environment.

However, as a serial procrastinator, I have found I will use any excuse not to write. This meant that even with all the things I know about creating the perfect environment for my writing, I still decided that I needed to find the perfect images of clean vs. messy writing spaces before I could start writing this blog! It was pure serendipity that I happened upon this great vlog that summarized most of what I was going to write, albeit with more references, and better narration and production quality.

I hope you enjoy – as the title suggests, this is intended to help you create the best study space; however, the same rules (and distractions) apply to creating your perfect writing environment. This is an American vlog, so here are some more UK friendly links to standing desks in a range of sizes. Did anyone say Black Friday deals?

Thomas Frank has created lots of vlogs to (his words) help you be more productive – check them out on his Youtube channel. You can check out the study spaces gallery here, and get a free version of Cold Turkey Writer here.

Join us for WriteFest 2018

November is Academic Writing Month, an academic write-a-thon that happens every year, inspired by NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) but catering to the specific needs of academic writers. Originally hosted by ‘PhD2Published’, the global academic community has now taken up the annual challenge to support each other to pledge their writing projects, record progress, and share thousands of writing tips via the #AcWriMo hashtag.

WriteFest 2018 (#AcWriFest18) was developed by colleagues in University of Sheffield, and this year King’s College London is contributing to this campaign with activities aimed at research staff and postgraduate research students. We are delighted to be working with colleagues across King’s and beyond, including Centre for Doctoral Studies, Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning, Research Design Service, University of Derby, University of Sheffield, and Wellcome Trust. Our aim is to bring together people from across the university to recognise and celebrate writing.

Drawing on the format of the very popular Shut Up and Write! retreats, WriteFest 2018 has some added bitesize workshops, a guide to crafting your own ideal writing soundtrack, a creative writing element, and a KEATS module with curated discussions. We encourage all academics, research staff, and research students to join us and write!

The festival aims to provide protected time and space for writing to help you to:



How can you get involved?

  • Join the discussion on KEATS and twitter
    • Consider what you are hoping to achieve by the end of November
    • Share your goals and log your progress
    • Consider the support you will need to achieve your goals
    • Support your peers and celebrate your progress