The room I do my school work in is 3 ½ feet wide and about 9 feet tall. It’s full of pants and hangers, sweaters and trunks, shirts and flannels. A dim light with a beaded pull-cord dangles from the ceiling. The room I do my school work in is my closet.
Every time I have an important story to write or a Photoshop project to work on, I go in my closet and shut the door. With my knees pushed tightly against the wooden door, my laptop burning my thighs and my butt aching from the diamond plated trunk on which I sit, I type away vigorously.
I don’t keep my phone on me — I’d be checking Facebook too often.
I don’t turn on any music — I’d start singing along and forget what I was actually doing.
There are no distractions to keep me from my work. Despite the uncomfortableness of being a pretty tall guy in a pretty small room, the closet is my favorite environment for working.
A few weeks ago, I found an article on Barnes&noble.com called “Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules For Writers.” I’ve personally never read any of King’s books, but most of his film adaptations impressed me, so I figured I could trust him. One tip that stood out to me was eliminating all distractions.
“There should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or videogames for you to fool around with. If there’s a window, draw the curtains or pull down the shades unless it looks out at a blank wall,” King writes.
My room at home has all of these things, and I’m sure most people’s do.
Attached to my room, I have an indoor porch. At certain times of the day, the sun lights up the porch, making me proud to call it mine. But the sun is too interesting. It makes everything look so pretty, and I can’t help but stop and enjoy it.
At school, I have multiple offices, a computer lab and a library in which to work. Dozens of software and thousands of books are at my disposal in comfortable settings, and I’d still rather be crammed into my tiny closet with nothing to get in the way but the smell of dirty laundry.
Since I’ve started working in my closet, my productivity has greatly increased. I write my stories quicker, and I’m happier with their end result.
The world today is incredibly distracting. Phones are always in our pockets, computers are pretty much everywhere on campus and we even watch TV at the gym. I wonder how I ever got work done outside of my closet.
I’m not one those people who needs so many commodities before they can start a study session. Quit thinking that you need your ipod and headphones. Quit thinking you that need snacks and “brain food.”Quit thinking you need to be around friends.
Once you cut out all the bull, you might actually get some work done, and you might actually enjoy it.
And I’m not saying everybody on campus is lazy — far from it, but when you cut out distractions, you also cut out the grueling hours you spend switching back and forth between an essay and this week’s episode of “South Park.” You eliminate all the reasons why you don’t want to be working. You actually start to like your classes and the homework you are assigned.
There’s no instant gratification while working in a closet. You friends don’t stop by and visit. Your favorite song never plays. You mouth gets dry, and your stomach gets empty. There’s nothing special about a closet, and yet, that’s what makes it so damn special.
Email Griffin Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org