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mf qa ferriss f 300x224 7 Ways to Create the Perfect Blog Writing Environment : Blog Promotion

Tim Ferriss, author of the The Four Hour Workweek and The Four Hour Body published a video that documented his day.  Tim is a New York Times Bestselling author and has an outrageously successful blog as well.  That’s why I paid special attention to his writing environment.

As you would imagine, Tim’s writing environment is optimized for creativity.  He uses a stand-up desk to keep him focused on writing and not lounging.  He drinks a special tea along with a glass of wine to relax and prime his creative juices.

Problem is…I’m not Tim Ferriss

My modest 3 bedroom home packed with 3 boys isn’t exactly an oasis of relaxation.

Shouting and wrestling aside, My writing environment is as important asI consider my writing environment to be as important as my computer and text editor.  I refine the environment constantly looking for the optimal balance of calm and inspiration.

You should too.

This is what you should consider:

standUP 297x300 7 Ways to Create the Perfect Blog Writing Environment : Blog Promotion1.  Standing or Sitting:

The standing desk movement is starting to build momentum.

It seems that standing actually is healthier and aids focus.  I plan on giving it a try soon.  The point is that you want adopt a posture that leads to maximum focus.  Sitting sometimes aides distraction rather than concentrated work.

2. Music:

I’ve been experimenting with music variations for years.  I’ve found that a piano arrangement is the mother’s milk of creativity.  It’s easy to slip into the zone and pound out page after page of copy.

Research says that music works best for people who need a high level of stimulation to focus.  These are the folks that need the TV, radio, kids scurrying under foot, and an open magazine to concentrate.  Low level of arousal people need complete silence.  Most of us fall in between.

Test to see what works for you.

3. Priming the Pump

ted logo 300x158 7 Ways to Create the Perfect Blog Writing Environment : Blog PromotionI often watch a TED video before writing.  The inspiration rubs off on me and I can channel the feeling into my writing.  I have a friend that can sit down and start writing immediately.  I envy her.

If you have difficulty “getting started” think about ways you can “prime the pump.”  Read an inspirational short story, watch a video, or remember a time when you operated at your peak.  Now channel that into the spark you need to get going.

4. Distractions

On the Mac, you can set-up a desktop scheme that blocks out all other apps (AKA distractions).  You can also use a text editor like Byword to blank out your screen except for text.    I use these tricks religiously to keep destructive distractions at arm’s length.  In my book anything that calls for your attention should be put away.  For me, this includes Twitter, Facebook, email and my iPhone (another computer in disguise).

5. Equipment

I focus on holy trinity Mouse, Monitor, and Keyboard.  Surprisingly, I watched my productivity soar when I used an app called Fl.ux to change the brightness of my screen to a calm warm glow at sunset.  The warmer screen did wonders for my concentration and relaxed me at the same time.

I usually work with two monitors, but I always turn one off while I write.  This helps me resist the temptation to fill it with Tweetdeck!  As for monitors, I go big.  This helps reduce eyestrain.  Use what works best for you.

bose quietcomfort15 300x206 7 Ways to Create the Perfect Blog Writing Environment : Blog PromotionYour mouse should be effortless, ergonomic and unobtrusive.  I love the Logitech MX Mouse.  It’s silky smooth, fits perfectly in my hand, and is accurate.  However I have been using the Apple Magic Trackpad and it’s slowly growing on me.  The Trackpad allows gestures and seems to disappear after a while.  The point is that your equipment shouldn’t stand in the way of your writing.

Bonus Equipment: I received a pair of Bose QC15 Noise-cancelling headphones.  They are magical.  They reduce 90% of ambient noise and have great sound quality.  I won’t write without them.

6.  Software  

I’m somewhat of a software junkie and I have tested dozens of applications.  As you would expect, software choice is based on the personality and style of the writer.  So there isn’t a perfect tool for everyone.

I use Google Docs.  Yep, simple Google Docs.  I like the auto-save and having my document automatically available in the Cloud.  ByWord is a close second because it helps eliminate distractions and has configurable paper colors that helps ease eye strain.

From here, I cut and paste my blog posts directly into WordPress.  I never write in WordPress.  When I’ve attempted it, one of two things happen: I hit the “publish” instead of update or inexplicably lose everything when the software seizes up.  So I write in the Docs first and paste when I’m finished.

7. Location 

I think it’s romantic to write at the coffee shop.  However, it’s usually a disaster for me.  I find myself obsessing over my next cup of coffee, people watching, and other well-meaning distractions.

My best place to write is in my home office, behind a closed-door, with the headphones on.  This arrangement is easy and leaves little room for procrastination.  Just go in, shut the door, and start typing.

Find a place that works for you and stick with it.  Experiment when you have low-importance work to get done until you are comfortable with your new location.

No Hard and Fast Rule Other Than…

Write!  When I started, I focused on everything but actually writing my darn posts!  So if you write best sitting on your back porch, in your boxers, sipping a margarita, with your laptop perched on your knees then do it.

I’m curious.  What is your perfect blog writing environment?


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  • Pingback: Changing Location for Inspiration | Epic Plains

  • http://www.internetmarketinggourmet.com Hugh @ Internet Marketing Gourmet

    I’ve just switched to a sit/stand desk, and I’m considering doing an “initial impressions” post on it for next week’s IM Gourmet. It’s a very interesting transition – the way you interact with a computer fundementally changes when you stand up.

    A note of warning, though – it’s VERY hard work to begin with. My legs are tired all the time right now, after about a week and a half – I’m actually giving them a sit-down day to recover today!

  • http://[email protected] Billy Delaney

    Hello Stanford.
    This I really like. Window into the soul of the writer.
    Like you I have a noisy household, with just one girl and a large dog. They like to play very close to me?
    Really unique meeting you. A personal favorite of mine you are sir!
    All the best billy

  • http://wowlibrarian.com Catherine Buck Morgan

    My “home office” has been inhabited by my delightful granddaughter for the past five years, so I have resorted to visiting the local coffee shop at least once a week to meet my muse. I find it easy to block the conversations around me. I do look forward to having my space at home again, and when I do, I think I’ll try the standing desk. Thanks for the great post.

  • http://www.twitter.com/mountvienna berry straver

    WordPress got mobile Apps for posting blogs. They are a pain in the ass to use, but you could blog at the most inspirational places on earth. Myself prefer Google docs for writing.

  • http://www.midlifemonalisa.com Brenda Clevenger

    Sweet blog Stanford. Environment is so important and you gave great ideas here that are food for thought for me (such as bigger monitor and standing). I love working from my sunny, bright, home facing a park. However I freelance 3 days a week in a “cave.” It’s the underground Subtropolis in Kansas City and it’s so counterproductive to my content creation. No light, not windows. Just grey cubes and telemarketers nearby. It’s temporary. Long live flex time, flex environments, and building a following so we can work any where we want in the future, particularly Bali, Belize, Costa Rica, and Mexico.

  • http://lilmissgeekchic.wordpress.co, Lil’ Miss. Geek Chic

    Living in a tiny wee cottage and having a two year old in the house can be quite the juggling act! I find my writing is best late at night, and after listening to music… I can’t write with music – I just end up closing my eyes, leaning back and singing! That or in a quiet dreamy place, like the garden.

    I find it’s really important to me to display things that inspire me around my home too – colors, patterns, idea and images.

    Fab post, xoxo
    LMGC