Monday, February 1, 2010

Identify Your Ideal Writing Environment

Although I don’t consider myself a morning person, I prefer writing in the morning, in my pajamas. I have breakfast, brush my teeth, and wash my face, but if I spend the time to shower and dress, I might get sidetracked and not get my “butt on” the chair. (I attended a conference where the speaker passed out buttons as a reminder to writers to stay seated at the computer. Amazing how easily we get distracted.) If I have to go to the office to write, I prefer to start the writing project immediately after checking emails.

Over the years, I’ve learned a few of my major distracters and a few habits that I now accept as part of my writing process. First, my work area needs to be reasonably straight, not too many things out of place. I don’t have to clean or file everything, but I do need a tidy area. And it’s best if I close Outlook.

I sometimes play music, no words just instrumentals. However, I have one or two CDs in another language that work as white noise. Since I don’t know what the words are they don’t distract me. But I can’t have a singer filling my head with “oh baby” or “moonlight” or “party tonight” or whatever when I’m stuck on a word.

I’ve learned that I’m not always procrastinating when I wait a few days to begin writing. I used to berate myself for avoiding a project. Now I realize that sometimes I need time to let ideas bubble. Clearly, there’s a line here; bubbling and blowing off are dangerously similar. Bubbling may also take the form of walking. When I’m stuck, I may need to walk to the kitchen for another cup of tea or around the office to clear my head. As long as I’m still thinking about the writing project, I’m still working.

One Angler writes a monthly fashion feature in a local magazine. She claims she does her best work when deadlines are pressing. I need time to edit. I like to leave the piece alone for a bit and come back to it with fresh eyes. Another Angler shared that she likes to have her dog beside her. As long as my pets are quiet, I don’t care if they’re close or not.

Identify your ideal writing environment so you can reach your zone more quickly. When you know certain factors help while others hinder, you can control the situation and improve your chances of staying on target. Or at least have a fighting chance, until the dogs bark, the emails ping, the phone rings, the chair squeaks, and so on.

Please add a comment below and share your Ideal Writing Environment.


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