Creative Writing Necessities

A silver laptop, a cup of coffee, and a leather-bound notebook.

The creative process is often times as mysterious as the creations themselves. It fascinates me, the different methods and settings people use when working or creating art. I'm certain there are science fiction writers out there that have quirky rituals or necessities when it comes to writing, cause sci fi fans are quirky people to begin with.

Even the variance associated with what happens before writing is interesting. Sometimes, I'll just wake up knowing I'm going to write that day, or perhaps it had been planned out from the day before, where as other times, something intercepted by one of my senses triggers a thought which'll make me think, "You know what, I need to write..."

The process is elaborate and unique to each individual, however, many aspects of creative writing necessities are shared. So here's a list of a few of the things I take into consideration before the robots in my mind seek their outlet.

1. Coffee. Call it a necessity, a bad habit, or just something I've grown accustomed to, I genuinely feel this dark, delicious, caffeinated goodness has a positive impact on two things I enjoy doing very much - writing, and playing video games. I certainly need it in the morning, and I definitely prefer to have it before writing and editing.

2. Music. Your brain eats in different ways, and through your ears is one of em. Is it possible to create in silence? Surely. And I'm sure there are probably a handful of creators out there that are actually distracted by any audible interference, including music. This may also fall into the previous category and simply be something I've grown used to. Maybe everything on this list has more to do with habit than it does creative influence, but I definitely need some tunes when I'm trying to write. Pandora's playing Ronald Jenkees Radio as I type. (My Batman coffee mug has been empty for a while now.)

3. A Lack of Distractions. Probably sounds like a no-brainer, but one of the reasons why I seldom write at home is because it's only a matter of time until my dog spots a squirrel crossing a power line and goes berserk. Sudden interruptions impact my creative process negatively, so I try to minimize them whenever possible. If I'm in a coffee house (my preferred writing and editing venue) the music in my headphones is usually loud enough to drown out everything but the grinders.

4. A Full Stomach. If I know I'm going to write or edit, I'll usually have a sizable meal before I start. The last thing you wanna do is get distracted by hunger just as you're beginning to get into the swing of things. Lots of calories, but not lots of sodium.

5. A Goal. And I don't mean a word-count goal. I've never been a big fan of shooting for word count. I can imagine this may be idealistic compared to a more established writer's schedule, and there may very well come a day when word count is a big factor within my writing agenda. As of now, I'm aware of how much I write, and I gauge to myself whether or not its enough, given the circumstances, but I rarely shoot for a word-count mark. I still find it important to have goals of some sort though. Edit three chapters. Write until you're satisfied or until you get hungry, etc.

There are plenty more, and they vary like the wind, but coffee, music, no barking, food, and an agenda, are pretty universal. There have been times where at the end of the day, I've thought to myself, "Holy cow, I can't believe how much I got done today." and there have certainly been other times when I've worked for 30 or 45 minutes and said, "You know what...this isn't happening today. Retreat!" Such is the life of an artist, I suppose.


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