Everyone has their own little quirks. They like to have certain things with them, or they have routines that they must do. Writers are the same. Many authors have to have certain conditions to be able to write more effectively. This week, we find out what everyone needs to have while they write.
It depends what I’m writing. Working on my novel The Great Dagmaru, I had to listen to the group Buck-Tick in order to get anything done. Most of the time though, I need quiet. The only thing I must have no matter what is the reasonable assurance that I won’t be interrupted. If I don’t have that, I get too distracted thinking about what’s going to get me out of my seat next to write as much as a sentence.
I’ve been known to write with very little, mostly owing to the fact that my job (and the travel involved) often finds me stuck in situations in which I pretty much have to deal with my tiny notepad and pen or not write at all.
But if we’re talking about an ideal situation, in which I actually get to set myself up exactly the way I want and am a hundred times more productive as a result… Well, for starters I have to have my laptop, because I am infinitely faster at typing than writing by hand. I’ve got to have the Internet because my brain turns to goo sometimes and Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com are my best friends. Preferably I’ll have some kind of hot drink, like a nice herbal tea or a hot cocoa, but barring that I can also go with pop and a horribly-bad-for-you snack like chips or something. And the last thing I “must” have, but rarely ever get…silence. I write so much better and quicker when I’ve got peace and quiet, which is actually a bit funny since I seem to require music in order to be productive at pretty much anything else. 😛
I like to listen to music and have snacks and a drink, the variety of which tend to vary based on what type of scene or character I’m writing, but in terms of must haves… peace and time top the list. I need the time and space to settle into my own little world and block out the rest of reality, and several hours of it all at once are preferable.
Reasonable access to snacks and water, but it’s better if I do have to get up for them, because otherwise I’d end up sitting still for longer than is really healthy.
I’ve tried writing while I have music playing, with mixed results. I often listen to music of appropriate mood before I start writing a scene.
Silence. Blessed silence, I must have thee. So, earplugs or time when no one else is around. And Twizzlers. There’s something about chewing tough, plastic candy that makes my brain work. When I’m editing, I get good chocolate. It’s my reward for all the hack and slash of my pretty words.
My portable. Beyond that, I’m pretty flexible. Much of my first novella got written while I was sitting in the passenger seat of my car while at one of my daughter’s 90 min soccer practices three nights a week. Otherwise, I tend to perch in our cheap Ikea lounger (that my wife thinks is an eyesore). I rarely eat while I write, but I’ll occasionally have a glass of wine when I proof.
This has changed over the years. When I started writing short stories, or while co-writing a yet-to-be-published book I needed a computer, to be able to think out loud and space to move. I paced while thinking of how I wanted my stories to proceed. Now, I just sit and write. While there isn’t one specific thing I must have to write, I enjoy a bowl of cheesies (though my keyboard doesn’t). And with a kid or two running through the house I don’t even need quiet any more!
I need some kind of beverage. I prefer something caffeinated, but alcohol is effective too. It also helps me to have some kind of noise going on in the background, whether it’s a playlist I set up for this specific story or one of my housemates watching TV or playing a video game.
Quiet. Meaning the kids have to be out of the house. The music needs to be upbeat. All supplies and snacks must be within arm’s reach. If I have to get up there’s always the chance I won’t get back to writing.
Some time. I like to have my computer, music, cats, and Coke Cola, but these are luxuries. Time to sit and think is precious.
I need music. And not something idle in the background, either. I need something loud and groovy – music that makes me wanna dance – in order to get my thoughts down on the paper. There’s something about my favorite genre of music (post-hardcore) that gets me in a writing mood and something about writing that gets me in a post-hardcore mood. It’s beautiful – and doesn’t interfere, the way it seems to with most writers.
Oh, and water. Adequate hydration is essential.
Silence and darkness, heh. The lights in my room distract me, and I can see the keyboard well enough by screen-light. Music is a big no-no; anything with lyrics or a beat will destroy my concentration. Now and then I try using a sound-generator as white noise, but usually it’s best if I just have my headphones on with nothing playing.
These days, I need silence. But a particular kind of silence. This means no kid, no wife, no TV. I can be in a public place with the background noise of general conversation, but I can’t have anything that I can focus on. And that means I can’t have someone talk to me.
I also need to have something to drink. Anything is fine, as long as I like it, of course. I haven’t tried writing with alcohol, though. Maybe I should.
How about you?
If you write, what do you need to write? If you’re a reader, do you need anything to relax or focus while you’re reading? Please share your answers in the comments below. And also, if you can, please share this post. Thanks!