As a writer, it is my dream to sit in a warm, sunny spot, surrounded by plants and my cat where it is very quiet. I would sit there and be undisturbed for a whole day, having food be delivered every four hours so I don’t have to move. If I ever become a bestseller then maybe I will get to have writing days like this, but until then I have to sacrifice some things.
To get settled I have to get into a semi-public space, like my living room, when no one else is around so I don’t get distracted by the many wonders of the internet. I can’t go to a super public place, like a coffee shop because that’s too distracting and traveling there feels like a waste of time. I sit in a big chair that already has a soft blanket in it and sit at the table with all of my plants and my fish. I would have my cat but she’s not allowed in my building.
The next thing I do is put on white noise. I used to listen to music but found lyrics would seep into my writing or the beat would change the pace of the story. So anything I listen to either can’t have talking or has to be in another language, this usually blocks out the rest of the world. If it’s cloudy outside, though, I won’t be inspired to do anything and will often time just crawl back into bed. If this is the case, I have to write at night with all the lights on. I’ll also need a sweatshirt nearby so I can regulate my temperature instead of standing up and messing with the thermostat.
I know that the more I move in between writing sentences, the more likely I am to stop writing. So before I start I get all my notebooks and some pencils and a sketchbook, the charger for my laptop, some CDs, a whole pot of tea, and some cookies or other snacks. That way I won’t ever have to stop and grab something.
So now I have my writing station all set up, it seems to be the perfect conditions for writing, but then I have to go on the quest for inspiration. This starts long before I actually write my novel, during the pre-production stage so to speak. When developing the idea I find three or four songs that really fit what I’m going for and save those to a folder. If I need to get in the mood, I listen to those. I also gather pictures of what my characters look like and paste them at the to of the document as well as any world building pictures or props I might forget. My goal with this is to have a strong mental image of what I want to convey and what my characters are doing.
I also need my plot written out in as much detail as I can to be paste at the bottom of the page so I can reference it constantly. I always need to be moving towards the next plot point or be inspired to get to what is next. This will let me get in the flow as opposed to jumping around documents trying to find inspiration. I need to write really quickly so I don’t loose my steam so I’ll either turn off spell check or just not bother with it. I might even turn on text to speech.
That’s everything I do to make the perfect conditions around me, it leaves little to the outside world except for one thing. I always seem to be busy with something else and need to get other work done, or submit something, or read something. Life just gets in the way and sometimes you can’t ignore it. I heard once that writers should wake up earlier or go to bed later than their problems so they can write when they don’t have anything else to do. When I did that it just opened the gates for me to procrastinate on real work until later in the night. I hear some people scheduled time but that has just never worked for me. The only thing I can do is make writing my priority, either by setting a due date or challenging myself. Nanowrimo is very useful for this purpose, it will get me writing 3000 words a day or more. Sometimes I can’t write and I accept that, but I always try to make writing at least a sentence every day a priority of mine.
I hope you can stop waiting for your perfect writing conditions and do your best to force them like I do. Even if what you need isn’t the same as what I need I’m sure you can figure out a hack way to do it too.