Conducive Writing Conditions

Posted: November 17, 2012 in Discussions, On Writing
Tags: , , , , , , ,

For those of you who don’t know, as of the 15th of November, white tail rifle season started in Northeastern Michigan. It’s a wonderful time of year, when you’re more likely than ever to be run off the road by a bunch of idiots drinking beer. However, it is good for the economy (because we get lots of out-of-towners and out-of-staters), and I just love spending a few day out at camp, drinking, playing cards, and just having a good time. Besides that, I love hunting.

Rather than join my husband at camp for the first few days of season, I’d opted to stay home in order to get some work done on my writing. But, I didn’t. I spent two days farting around on the internet, watching TV, running errands in town, and drinking wine. I wonder why I do this to myself, all the freakin time.

Any way, needless to say, it’s been a rather unproductive few days, and I’m feeling it, mentally that is. If you write, you may know what I’m getting at here.

I find that my thought process works much differently for writing, than it does for almost any other task, such as speaking, problem solving, personal interactions, general pondering, etc. When I get myself into that thought process, I could write for hours, days, weeks even, on end. I could write until my hands fell off, and still be bursting with ideas and new things to say. Lately, that very thought process has been a bit harder to achieve. I think it’s because I too easily allow distractions to break my attention to my work.

It’s taking me a while, but I’m slowly learning the conditions I need in order to write productively. Here are those I can think of:

  • No cell phones
  • No TV
  • No conversation (even in the slightest)
  • Generally silence helps, but occasionally I’ll listen to a certain style of music to inspire myself
  • No leaving the room (Basically I stay in my office, if I’m using my desk, or the bedroom or living room if I’m using my lap desk. Accept for bathroom breaks!)
  • No people (they too easily distract)
  • No pets (they generally crave attention that I can’t give them while writing, and they also distract)
  • No internet (Unless it’s for research purposes, and generally I’ll only stop writing if I absolutely cannot go on without certain information. Otherwise it must wait.)
  • Alcohol (I know what you’re probably thinking, that it’s all in my head that I write better drunk, and that could very well be the case. However, I feel that drinking loosens my grip on society’s norms, allowing eccentric ideas to flow easier. Which, as a horror author, IS what I want. And, I don’t drink every time I write, only occasionally, since it’s not very awesome to start at ten in the morning.)
  • Cigarettes (Only because I’m addicted.)
  • Comfy clothes
  • Moderate/comfortable room temperature

I may not have listed all, but that’s all I could come up with for now. Everyone has different condition requirements for productive writing, so what works for me may not work for you. I can only suggest, and of course not all my suggestions are the best.

It’s my belief, that the part of your brain used for writing is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. So after half a week of slacking, I’m having a hard time using my writing muscle. This issue should be remedied, come Tuesday, as Monday I’ll be back on schedule, and writing regularly again, in my optimal environment.

I’m sure most of you writers out there have heard of this, but I feel it should be mentioned as I’ve been discussing conducive writing conditions. When you’re not feeling well (emotionally or physically) and you write, the reader will be able to tell, and your condition/feelings will be reflected in your writing. Basically a good day makes for good writing, and a bad day makes for bad writing. Now this is just a rule of thumb. Say you’re home sick, eating your chicken noodle soup and lounging about the house, and you’ve just come up with this marvelous idea for a short story or novel. By all means, have at it. Write your story, or at least get your ideas on paper. If I had to guess, the rule is more for emotional distress, but for me, sometimes being sick can bring feelings of helplessness, and that upsets me.

As always, these are mere suggestions (and not very good ones at that), and I’d like to mention they may not work for everyone, and everyone may not agree with them. These are only what works for me. How do you find what works for you? Experiment, try things, just do it, and you’ll learn as you go.

I hope all my readers are having a great weekend so far. =]

Questions? Comments? Feel free! I love to hear back from you all. If you have any thing to add, or suggestions, or want to share your own conducive writing conditions, please do.

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