I spent several hours last night writing. I started with a quick blog post, to get the creative juices flowing and then followed that up with some time on one of my current projects. It was strange, after the post here, I just started typing in the story, and before I knew it, I had written a little over 1,100 words. I was quite pleased with the progress. Most days I’m lucky if I have the time or inspiration to write 500 words.
This got me thinking. I know that when I write something other than one of my projects, it does seem to help me to maintain a longer writing session. Usually I’ll write a little in a word file – what happened at work, or things I would like to accomplish. It seems like if I get my real-world concerns down on paper (or in a document), I am able to focus more on the task at hand and worry less about what else is happening in life.
I have a few writing rituals that get me in serious writing mode. If I don’t perform a few of those rituals, I can still write, but the more I don’t have done before sitting down to work, the less focused I am, and my writing session ends up much shorter than usual.
I always have to have my notebook by my side. My notebook is the home of all of the little notes I jot down. I have a horrible memory, so if I get an idea for one of my stories, or for a new project, I grab my notebook and scribble it down. The notebook was where I jotted down my idea for Captain Drayton’s funky eyeball, and where I initially decided to change my rough idea for a pirate story into something that fit more into fantasy (at that point, I had not decided to try steampunk).
I also have web pages open at all times, so that my research is available immediately. I use scrivener for my writing and organizing, so I have a special folder in each of my projects where I put information as well. I mainly use this for photographs for inspiration, as well as storing all of the links I use for research. In the event that the project is something I want to publish, I’ll also store the links to the store pages for those stories.
There has to be something for me to drink/snack on as well. If I am really in the zone, I will forget to eat or drink, at least for a while. I become a bit obsessive when I’m writing. It is too easy for me to get lost completely in my project, and I won’t even realize what time it is until something distracts me from the writing.
It seems like my little rituals each help individually, and if all of them are performed together, my productivity is greatly improved. If I can continue to write like I did last night, I should be finished with this project in no time. Then I’ll just need to come up with a name, get a cover design I like, edit, edit, edit, and it should be ready to publish. It’s still a lot of work, but I am looking forward to finishing another project, and getting it out there for people to read, and hopefully enjoy!
For the writers out there: Do you have any special rituals or habits that help you clear your mind so that you can focus on writing? Or are you among the lucky that can sit down and write with no problem? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.