There was a time when my writing space was a Pinterest-worthy home office that dazzled my guests. The white color scheme with pink accents and trendy art prints that cover the wall came together perfectly to create a room that was my pride and joy.

But for the past two months, my home office has been a complete mess. Two months ago I left my job as a high school English teacher to write and run See Jane Write full time, which means I had to pack up and move out of a classroom I’d been in for 10 years. And this means I have a decade’s worth of junk stuffed in boxes, bags, and bins that are now stacked in my home office.

The good news is this clutter hasn’t kept me from writing. Sometimes, like right now, I sit in my office and just ignore the mess and get to work. Also, I’ve been working on freelance stories, pitches, blog posts, and email newsletters from my sofa, my bed, my kitchen, and my favorite coffee shops. I trained myself long ago to be able to write anytime, anyplace.

Nonetheless, the messiness of my home office distracts and haunts me. I even keep the door closed most of the time so I won’t have to look at it. This is showing me just how important it is to have a writing space, but recently I got to thinking about how we women writers must work to find writing space not only in our home but also in our schedules and even our mindsets.

Then I started thinking about this A LOT and came up with a “Writing S.P.A.C.E.” acronym!

S – Schedule: First and foremost, we must make time to write. Whether you write early in the morning before you go to work, during your lunch break, or after you put the kids to bed at night, you need to schedule a time to write. Or maybe you can get away for a few hours on the weekend. The key is to figure out what works best for you and do it!

Related Reading: How to Make Time to Write and Blog

P – Prepare: You must prepare yourself for your writing time. You do this by having a place and plan. Know where you’re going to write and what you’re going to work on. Remember everything you write doesn’t have to be read. Writing is a practice and some of your words are just that — practice. But sometimes challenge yourself to complete a blog post, an essay, a scene or chapter for a book, a pitch or a query letter. Another part of preparation is getting the information you need to be a better writer. Read writing instruction books, sign up for a writing class, or join the See Jane Write Collective.

A – Absorb. You need to absorb the work of other writers. Stephen King once said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” So, while you’re scheduling a time to write, be sure you plan time to read, too. And read EVERYTHING — books, blogs, magazines, newspapers, literary journals, and anything else you can think of.

C – Create. There comes a time when you have to just write. Ashley Coleman of Permission to Write said it best: “Just do THE work. Stop talking about the work. Planning the work. Contemplating the work. Doubting the work. Analyzing the work. Put your head down and keep putting one foot in front of the other.”

E – Engage. You need to engage with other writers and with people who might want to read your work. You need to set aside time for networking both online and in person. (You can start with the See Jane Write Network Facebook group.) It’s important to get feedback on your work. That’s why I host monthly virtual critique sessions for the members of the See Jane Write Collective. Pick your favorite social media platform and work on growing your followers there. (I’m working on building my presence on Instagram. You can follow me here.) And, of course, pitch! Send out query letters to editors and agents as often as you can.

Do you need more help creating your “Writing S.P.A.C.E.”? Join me on Thursday, August 1 at 6:30 p.m. CT for a FREE webinar on how to find the time, place, inspiration, and motivation to write and blog. Sign up here.