Even though I love to write and have devoted most of my life to it at this point, it isn’t always the easiest thing to do. There are days where I really have to push myself to do any of my personal writing, like blogging or working on my book, because it can feel like such a draining task if I’m not really in the mood for it. I’m sure there are loads of other writers out there that probably feel the same (that writing at times, can be a painful pleasure), so I thought I would talk about a few of my daily writing rituals that help me get in the headspace to sit at my desk and pound out a few words when I feel like I can’t even move my fingers.
Sitting In An Upright Position
After having been working as a freelance writer for most of this year I’ve realized that laying down or sitting on the couch can be the worst thing to do if you aren’t feeling very motivated to write. Of course, sometimes it’s necessary—when you’re sick, having a job working at home is the best and you should take advantage of that. However, becoming too comfortable working from bed every day or from the couch can seriously affect your motivation and performance when you are trying to either get out a word count or some meaningful prose.
I’ve found that the best thing I can do for my own motivation and mental clarity is to sit up in a desk chair for the hours that I want to devote to writing. If I designate that space to “work” (work being anything you feel like you need to do at that moment) then I am more likely to really push myself through it as though being in a traditional office space. Netflix becomes too tempting when you’re already laying on the couch, so don’t let yourself fall into its alluring trap!
Having A Warm Beverage
For some reason, I become so much more motivated and inspired to write when I have a warm beverage in hand, even in the summer! Nothing beats a hot cup of coffee or black tea—I can feel my motivation increasing just thinking about them. Any time that I’ve been the most productive with my writing was when I had something warm to sip on in between sprints or research. It’s a simple way to get yourself in the right state of mind to sit in a specific place for a certain period of time and give your project everything you’ve got.
Having Thesaurus Open In My Browser
I’ll admit it—I use thesaurus.com when I write and I’m not ashamed of it! I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I know every synonym to every word or that I have an extremely extensive vocabulary and I don’t think that makes me any less of a writer. I primarily work as a copywriter and most of the time that means I need to keep my writing simple and free of any jargon. However, when I sit down to do my own personal writing, I need many more words to convey the emotion and atmosphere of my fiction, and that’s when a thesaurus becomes extremely handy. Whenever I sit down for a few hours to work on my book I make sure to keep it on in the background so that when I come across a word that could sound a bit better I know where to turn. This has helped me through many excruciating university essays and I’m not about to stop using it now.
Working Out Of Scrivener
Scrivener has been the best investment I made toward my writing other than my light-weight Macbook Air. It’s the perfect platform to stay organized on when you might feel overwhelmed by too many word documents or website browser windows when you’re doing research. It acts like a binder where you can store all your writing with a section for notes, images, research notes, and templates for character profiles. This is extremely useful for anyone embarking on a traditional novel because it will help you keep your outline in place and allow you to work off of it when you’re ready to split your story into scenes and chapters.
Since my book is a collection of short fiction, it’s not nearly as overwhelming when it comes to all the documents and research I have, but it is still incredibly useful for separating every story while still keeping them easily accessible for me to bounce around during the writing process. I would highly recommend that any writers give it a try and really take the time to learn how it works.
Waiting For Quiet
I am someone who absolutely cannot write with any background music or ambient noise. Ideally, I would be in complete silent, but that’s not always realistic (especially in London because the flat windows are pretty thin). So, instead I try my best to schedule my writing sessions at time when I know I’ll be in as much silence as possible so as to not be interrupted or distracted. Of course, this can’t always be done and sometimes I do enjoy working out of a coffee shop which can be relatively noisy. But for the most part I try to stick to this rule because I know I usually get a lot more writing done.
Sitting Near A Window
This might be the most important ritual for me, because I really does make a difference to my motivation and inspiration. I spent most of 2016 in an apartment with very few windows and a desk that faced a wall and I can say, from experience, that sitting by a window where you can look out at a distance is much more pleasant. Sitting by a window also helps to not feel cooped up if you work from home like I do—it can be quite detrimental to your mental health, feeling like you’re trapped inside the same walls every day.