Recently a friend of mine, and fellow aspiring writer, sent me a link to an Australian website (here) that had collected interviews with various authors discussing their work-spaces, and how they best used them. Some of the writers preferred emptier spaces, with blank walls or windows opening onto sweeping vistas, while others liked to work in cluttered areas, full of colour and visual noise to inspire them. Some liked to listen to music while they worked, others required silence so as not to be distracted. Some liked comfortable, plush chairs, others used hard, wooden-backed seats to keep them focused. The only thing these spaces had in common was that they were used for writing!
In his book On Writing, Stephen King suggests that new writers should start out with an emptier, private space that is conducive to creating an atmosphere of focus and intent. With time, he says, the writer will collect things that inspire but do not distract, and the space will soon be filled appropriately.
I found this all very interesting, as I normally need quiet to work: aurally, visually, mentally. The challenge for me is to create a space that is not distracting, but at the same time, not sterile. After all, the blank white page can be intimidating enough!