Let's Set the Mood for Writing
Let's say that you are getting inspired to write but not really sure how to start. Writing is about developing close relationships; with yourself, your characters and your audience. And as with any intimate relationship, you're first going to want to set the mood.
Here are some ideas on how to do this:
Find a comfortable space to work. Your favourite chair, the kitchen table, maybe the shaded area under the big oak tree at the park. You choose. Comfort is key. (although I choose comfort over most things in life). You may decide to light a candle or some burn incense to put you in a relaxed state of mind - but please, no open flames at the park.
Choose your writing instrument. I find that creativity flows much more smoothly when I write by hand. If I'm writing something that will require editing, I write by hand, transcribe onto the computer making edits as I go, print it out and edit some more on paper and then transcribe back to the computer. There are proven benefits to writing by hand but I'll share more about that another day. The goal of this is just to write so you should feel free to use any sort of device that works for you.
Choose the time of day that works best for you. Maybe this is as soon as you wake up in the morning or perhaps you prefer to write just before bed. I often take advantage of my lunch break by heading to the library, a park or a coffee shop with my notebook and a pen. Mix it up or make it a routine.
Remove any distractions that are blocking your flow. I am easily distracted. I will sometimes put my phone in a different room or on airplane mode while I write so I'm not tempted to keep checking my IG feed every 30 seconds. But I also don't care much for writing in complete isolation. I like writing near a window or in public spaces where I people-watch while I write. Sometimes I listen to music but not always. I don't recommend writing with the Netflix playing in front of you but maybe it's the distraction you need. Basically if you can't focus on your writing then consider removing whatever is taking your focus.
Pour a drink. Some people wake up and start writing even before coffee. I think they're either lying or sociopaths. I tried waking up and writing without coffee once but regained consciousness hours later with drool all over my notebook and ink on my cheek. I also procrastinate at times and if I don't have a drink when I sit down to write, you can be darn sure that I will decide I'm parched beyond hope as soon as I pick up my pen. The time of day you write may, or may not, dictate your beverage of choice. I'm not here to judge. I've written with coffee, water, tea, wine, beer and a tumbler of bourbon at my side. The end result is basically the same, words on a page. Just stay hydrated and you'll be fine.
Dress for success, or at least dress. In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about getting dressed up for inspiration - have a shower, put on perfume, wear nice clothes etc. In other words, woo your inspiration! I like this idea but I have yet to go the extreme of perfume or lipstick. As mentioned earlier, I thrive on comfort so I'm often writing in my pjs, wearing my fuzzy pink bath robe with my hair twisted in a knot on top of my head. That said, it's good to have some tricks up my sleeve for desperate times of writer's block.
Do you have any rituals to setting the mood? Send them to me - I'd love to hear them!
The next step is Putting Words on Paper!