Do you believe in chi? Chi is the invisible force that animates every aspect of the universe: from molecules to mountains and beyond, out to Mars and the stars. If the chi force is with you, then you are in a state of grace and all your goals will be attained. If it’s against you, it’s like walking through treacle: effort and stickiness all the way.

So how to get chi working for you? Feng shui is the answer. Translated from the Chinese as ‘wind and water’, feng shui (pronounced ‘foong shway’) is the art of directing chi energy by altering the configurations of features and objects in the environment.

According to feng shui experts, exactly where you site your writing desk, and what you put on it, can affect your concentration, the quality of your work, and whether you are likely to get published. Once published, it can even affect how favourably you are reviewed.

As rearranging a desk is far simpler than, say, drafting a tricky piece of prose, we have developed (based on the widely-used Compass Method) Mslexia’s patented feng shui guide to writing success.

First, buy a compass (this is the only financial outlay required). Then mark the four compass directions on the floor of your writing space. Next, move your desk so that it is in the eastern quarter of the space (good for motivation) and orient it so that it faces one of the following three directions: east (if you have a lot to achieve and not much time to do it in), south-east (if you are at a more meditative and creative stage in your work), or south (if you have finished your project and are preparing to submit it for publication). By ‘facing’, we mean the direction you face when sitting at your desk.

Now look at the surface of the desk itself and remove or rearrange what’s there according to the principles below. (NB These instructions assume an east-facing desk, so rotate it appropriately if you’ve opted for a slightly calmer ambience.)

Remember, your desk top is a whole world in miniature and needs just as much auspicious arranging as the desk itself within your working space – molecules and mountains, remember? So: place objects symbolising what you’d like to achieve in the east; objects for communication and reception in the south-east; and awards, affirmations and prizes in the south. Keep organisational objects in the north-west and finance in the west. And a green plant for tranquillity in the north.

Above all: no clutter. Chi gets tangled up in it as surely as a fly in a web. Of course, it follows that your writing space should itself be situated east or south of the centre of your home.

And any really serious feng shui enthusiast should consider moving to Sussex, where the vast majority of the UK’s literary giants live.

This article first appeared in Issue 1 of Mslexia – to the bemusement of some critics at the time…

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Debbie Taylor

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