I've been kicking around the idea of starting a new blog series (to accompany the only other one I've got going—Industry Insights, which is all about the publishing industry) that's a little less about the specific topic of writing and more the cultivation of a lifestyle that promotes and encourages it. For the last three years, I lived as a digital nomad in over ten locations across the United States, and by virtue of relocating frequently, I've realized that it's actually very important that I create a home environment that's conducive to writing. But I think this is something that's important for everybody. For all of us.
This desire bled into every facet of my life. Honestly, I became sort of obsessed with the idea of fully committing myself to this, which is why I embarked upon some relatively daunting (for a novice like myself, that is) DIY renovation projects.
I started off with my office. Frankly, it was a disaster, as you'll see in the video I've included at the end of this post—but don't go there yet! My gaming PC and MacBookAir cables were all tangled together, my plants linked together along the window sill, fighting over sunlight, and the rest was chipped paint and gathering dust. My faux brick backsplash had started peeling off the wall months ago, and despite my best efforts, kept sagging. And most of all (whether you believe in this stuff or not), the energy of the space was totally off—rather than being like a fresh breath of air, it felt like slogging through the mud just being in there, especially due to it being a small cubby-like room.
So, one day, I went crazy.
I tore down the brick backsplash. I washed the walls with Windex and soapy water, scowling at the original wallpaper like it was a personal nemesis and fantasizing about slapping a coat of soft white paint over it. Neutrals are all the rage right now, but I wanted the hard contrast of black-and-white, the energy of good and evil gridlocked in an eternal battle. Matte black would replace the backsplash. At first, I wanted tile, but when I realized the backsplash was extremely wonky (and definitely not a perfect square), I went with the next-best option: I got a bundle of interlocking wooden panels from Home Depot and super-glued them together to the wall's dimensions, spray-painted them with primer and then matte black, and applied velcro to secure them in place.
The rest of my office—including my desk—was painted a soft matte white that was a perfect match to the new blinds I'd had custom-cut to fit my office's window. (That sounds expensive as hell, but it was only $60 at Home Depot.) Anyway, before I knew it, everything had fallen in to place so wonderfully, and all I was left to do was apply a few finishing touches—which I'm still working on, actually. I think I'm dragging that process out. I like the idea of this being the sort of project that's never really finished, that's always evolving to suit my energy.
Speaking of, I've decided to build my very own gaming system. This feels like genre-hopping to bring up because it has nothing to do with writing, but I'll include this detail anyway, as it's got a lot to do with creating an inspiring space. I'll share pictures when this project is finished sometime in the next couple of weeks, but I've never fully understood how a computer works and have always wanted to learn. Thankfully, I've got a tech-savvy boyfriend who's willing to help me build the system step-by-step, teaching me all about how it functions. At the end of the project, I'll have one hell of a gaming setup (which I've earned over the last four years of my gaming journey—starting off with console, then an Acer that could barely run anything at full capacity, but I still played religiously, then upgraded to two new gaming laptops, and at long last, now, a tower that's all my own. A system I'll be able to update as desired, to adapt as both technology and my gaming preferences evolve over time. Plus, it's going to be white and look disgustingly good in my new office.
How much did all of this cost me? Not including the gaming system, around $250. And that's including a new mug, essential oil diffuser, and a pumpkin candle. Yes, the space is about the quarter of what a normal office is, but hey—that's the perk of digital nomadism and living life minimally, eh? I still highly doubt it'd cost much more than that to renovate a full office space in a similar fashion, though. I've got plenty of leftover paint, for instance, and my backsplash was about $40 total (with almost 40% of the boards left unused). But no matter what you can afford, this post is meant to do one thing, and that's encourage you to pursue a little change in the name of your own mental health. You deserve nice things. You deserve a nice space to work and live in. And even if all you can do right now is buy a new candle or string of lights or slap some apartment-friendly peel-and-stick wallpaper over your countertops, then go for that and do so without regrets.
I've definitely noticed a dramatic uptick in my productivity and focus ever since I've taken the time to invest in this, so if you're feeling uninspired every time you sit down to write, maybe a little freshening up is in order. What do you think?