Over the past couple of years of getting to know other writers online, I have noticed many comments about their preferences when it comes to their writing space and the time they sit down to write. Unofficially, I’m calling this the “Writer’s Ritual”. That is, what writers do to prepare their space to sit down for a successful session of writing. This week, I messaged a few of my writer friends from Twitter to get their take on the topic of “Writer’s Ritual”. For new writers, this article could be beneficial to help you begin thinking about when and where you are most productive. So, whether you’re a new writer or just a curious veteran, here are our suggestions:
What’s Your Drink?
Whether it is coffee, tea, or a plain ol’ glass of water, having a drink next to your computer or writing pad can help you focus. Jessica Julien, author of the soon-to-be-released novel A Spectacle of Souls, and I both agree that having a fresh cup of coffee prepared is a great way to start off a writing session. For me, it gives me something delicious to sip on during those long intermittent thought pauses. If you’re planning to stay put in your chair for a while, it’s a good idea to come prepared with a drink to keep you from taking unnecessary trips to the kitchen.
Set the “Mood”
Okay, it really isn’t as sensual of an act as the title suggests. Unless you want it to be! Do a little self-reflecting on what makes you feel comfortable in your writing space. Does a candle help you ease into writing? What about listening to music? Does having your fat house cat present in the room inspire you? Are you comfortable sitting in that chair, or couch, or wherever you’ve chosen to plant your arse?
When speaking to different writers, I found many of us agree music is a great way to help us focus. But, we have varying preferences about the type of music we listen to while writing. Mason Carroll, writer and blogger at Mason’s Miniverse, finds music matching the theme of his writing helps him get in the right head space. This is a technique I can personally vouch for. Whatever chapter I’m writing will have its own 2-3 songs I play on low volume. It keeps my mind focused on the current scene. Sean R. Frazier, found on Twitter @thecleftontwin, stated “… I always listen to music when I write–but nothing new and usually not with words. I need the familiarity and obscurity so I can focus.”
Most writers I have gotten to know are not terribly picky about where they write as long as the writing is getting done. We can typically write anywhere. But, that does not mean writers don’t have preferences. For example, Benjamin Cross, author of Colony, prefers to use a stand-up desk while a squishy office chair next to a bright window is my personal preference.
Maybe you’re a writer who finds silence to be the best environment for writing. Or, like many, perhaps different types of music helps your mind focus. It’s possible you get your best work done while sitting at the kitchen table! I suggest trying out different things to discover your most productive setup.
Pick a Time (or Don’t)
In a survey I gave on Twitter, fellow writers chose “Evening/Night” to be their ideal time for writing with “Morning” being a close second. I honestly had expected most people to select “No Specific Time”. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see many, like me, find specific times of the day to be more productive for writing than others.
When are you most productive? In the morning after a good night’s sleep is when I can get the most writing done. However, morning-writing isn’t always possible for me. My writing times vary throughout the year. If it is during the school year, I mostly get my writing done once I get home from teaching. During the summer, I much prefer to wake up in the morning and mosey over to my computer after I scrounge up a cup of coffee. If inspiration hits when I’m unable to sit and write, I tuck away the ideas on the “Notes” app on my phone.
Connect With Other Writers
“I originally got on twitter for baseball rumors and news. Had no idea the writing community would be so helpful. Connecting with writers from around the country has just been such a boost.” -Mason Carroll
Keeping Twitter open alongside my writing document has helped me tremendously when it comes to sitting down to write for long periods of time. Surprisingly, it isn’t too distracting. Writer’s chats or writing sprints on Twitter are a great way to hold yourself accountable to writing, and it gives the activity a community feel. I am so lucky to have gotten to know quite a few great writers who aren’t afraid to hold me accountable and message me about my current work in progress. I would highly suggest finding a social media platform (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) you enjoy to help you connect with other writers!
What’s your “Writer’s Ritual”? That is, when do you prefer to write in order to get the most done? Where do you prefer to write, and what do you like to have in place to help you focus?