Everyone has them, right? The little things you do to switch your brain from play to work, or vice versa, depending on how you view writing. For me, personally, writing is more play than work, even if I get stuck somewhere and ever word feels like a slog through stale mud. But whenever I write and whatever I write, I have a set groove that I settle into, and it helps me go faster. So, while writing habits are different for everyone, here are mine:
1) I like it to be quiet. Totally, blissfully quiet. I find it easier to concentrate that way, though writing and reading are probably the only things that I can say that about. When I’m driving, I need the radio on, otherwise I stress out. When I’m sewing dragon plushies for my side business, I set up my laptop next to me and pull up a show on Netflix. When I sit down to draw, I like to loop a particular song or only listen to instrumental music. But when it comes to writing, especially creative writing, I like things to be as quiet as possible.
2) I like to work alone. This goes with the being quiet thing, but also ties into the fact that I find other people distracting. Even if they’re sitting quietly next to me, doing their own thing and not saying a word. It’s nothing against them, I just find that I don’t write well with others in the room. This is especially true if they’re prone to getting up and walking around during their thought process. And this makes is next to impossible for me to work in a public library. I just can’t do it.
3) I try to work in the same area as much as possible. Right now, I have a special chair in the corner of a room that I curl up in. Last year, when I was finishing up “Chasing Shadows”, I had been working on a couch in a room with a lot of natural light. I guess this is something that has managed to vary from project to project, but that may have more to do with the fact that I was recently in college, and didn’t have a set writing spot for more than a year. Whatever the reason, though, I find that certain spots help me write, and I try to stick with them.
4) I take short breaks to stretch. This is important for a number of reasons, but I especially make a point of stretching my hands and wrists at least once an hour. I do have carpal tunnel, and need to make sure it doesn’t get worse, but it also just feels good to come to a stopping point, stretch out, and then jump back in.
5) I like to work in natural light. I don’t like to sit outside and work, but I enjoy sitting near or next to windows. The lighting is better, it helps me keep track of time, and it provides a nice view when I glance up from the screen to rest my eyes. Which is also important.
6) I try to go outside for a few minutes every day. Rain or shine, hot or cold, it’s infinitely better to take a short break at some point in the day and breathe in some fresh air. It clears my mind, and helps motivate me. Plus, it’s a good idea to walk around and get some exercise, for a lot of reasons.
I think that’s about it as far as my writing habits go. Like I said before, everyone is different, and it’s a matter of finding what works best for you, but this works for me! What about you?