Thursday, August 27, 2015

My 8 Necessities for Writing

I love reading about other creative artists' processes to get in the frame of mind for doing whatever it is they do. Writing, acting, singing, painting, etc. Everyone has their own unique method of preparing their minds and bodies for the work ahead of them, their own tics, their special visual necessities. Sometimes it's getting out into nature, or using a stress ball. One person may take weeks to prepare, another jump right into their craft without another thought.

Without further ado, here are my usual necessities when writing.

1. A Quiet Place

Right now my door is open, and I can hear a fan humming in the other room. I can't stand it. Excuse me while I close my door.

Ah, much better.

There are days I'm more sensitive to noise than others, today being one of those. Usually, to write my best, I need utter isolation and peace. And now my dog is barking. You can't control everything.

2. No food

If I'm planning to write, I might grab a snack and quickly eat it before I write a single word. I know a lot of writers who spread out chocolate and almonds to munch on while writing and always have a cup of tea or coffee nearby. My tea will go cold by the time I remember it. Food distracts me and pulls me out of whatever world I've launched myself into for that time. I grab the chocolate after I've finished writing.

( I do have to be careful not to neglect myself, however. Just today I was feeling rather sick while writing and realized it was coming up on two o'clock, and I hadn't eaten lunch yet. Ever since I took my lunch break, I haven't been able to get back into the mindset of my characters. It's all about balance. )

3. Scrunchie or hair tie 

I often forget I have hair. Then there are moments where every little wisp against my neck is a spider pulling me towards hell. I have to have something nearby to pull my hair back or I will go insane and not be able to focus on a single word.

4. Mirror

This may seem narcissistic, but it's a rather handy little tool. I have a little standing cosmetic mirror on my desk. I turn it so I can't see my reflection constantly (because of movement, not being distracted by my own looks. C'mon, people.), but if I'm struggling with describing an emotion or particular look on a characters face, I will look in that mirror and mimic my characters until the words finally come to mind.

5. Headphones

Didn't I say I needed quiet? Well, when the dog is barking and your mom is crafting in the next room and it seems a hundred jets are flying over your house, sometimes a little music is more soothing and constant. I turn it on the lowest volume and make sure to pick songs I'm familiar with so that the words don't distract me.

And other times, even when the house is silent, I just put my headphones in and don't listen to music. It's like wearing extra padding against your eardrums.

6. Pinterest

If I have a specific board for a story I'm working on, I'll pull up that board and leave it in the background of my computer screen, just as a little added inspiration. If I'm struggling on what scene should come next, I can then easily pull up the board and give a quick glance to see if anything pops into my head.

7. Thesaurus 

I know, I'm suppose to just write and worry about grammar and special wording later. But sometimes...I can't let it go. I get hung up on something very easily and until my mind is satisfied I can't move on. So I keep either my pocket thesaurus or an online thesaurus handy while I write, just in case.

8. Freedom

A moment to collect myself. Breathe in, breathe out. Me and the words. Unlocking the chains around my brain,  smashing the brick wall built around my mind. Freedom to be myself, to take risks, to write whatever I want. When I allow myself run with ideas, that's when I write for days on end and can look back at my work and be pleased.

How do you prepare, or what do you use to help ease you into the creative process?
Let us know in the comments!