When are you at your best while writing? Is it after you do your little procrastination ritual or when you hear a song that really makes the river of creativity flow out of you like McDonald’s cheeseburger after rush hour on your way home? Sorry, little graphic but I laughed, that is what is important right? Do you need to shower, exercise, clean your desk, click stumble upon for hours, or meditate before you hit that Zen moment of clarity and release the proverbial hounds?
For me to achieve my peak, I just need a few things:
1. More than 3 hours to write. This might seem goofy but no joke, it takes me about two and a half hours to gear my brain up to write. To throw cookies at the thought monster before unleashing it upon the poor helpless keyboard. Once I have achieved that dream like state that all writers are relentlessly and hopelessly addicted too, I don’t want to stop writing until the story is completely told. Those first couple of hours are used to mentally sort through the various random chaos of my mind, finding interesting snippets of thought and real world observation, pasting them together in a semi out-of-lines coloring book collage, transferring the ideas to a computer screen in some sort of coherent form. I usually do this by writing one word and staring at it blankly. To an outsider I look like I am high, but in my mind……….It is a bit off the map, there be monsters. Seriously, things zoom and fly by at ludicrous speed. That is a Spaceballs reference for super fast.
2. NO PANTS. What I mean by this is I have to be comfortable. I have to feel relaxed and disconnected from the world. This is easily achieved by having on gym shorts or being pantless all together, nobody talking to me, and a nice cushioned place to park my ass. Heat and cold are never a factor, I tend to ignore the elements and focus my mind. Something about the easy breezy feeling of bi-pedal freedom really greases my mental wheels.
3. Music. This is a real important step. I HAVE to have music going on. It needs to be loud and usually on repeat, pending on a scene. It sets the mood and feeling or blocks out the static in my mind so I can focus. What I listen to usually varies to such extremes I’ll just say I can listen to Bach (classic) and then swing into Meshuggah (Heavy Metal) within a matter of a scene. When my creative feelers are out and I’m picking up alien transmissions from that mysterious part of the brain, personal enjoyment in music is tossed out with last week’s bath water. It becomes more about the feel and texture of the mood and setting than my personal affection for a song.
4. Thesaurus. No this isn’t some lost dinosaur that was wiped out with the last ice age. It is a handy little tool that helps prevent me from using the same descriptors or operators in my stories. The thesaurus should be used with caution. Using an unfamiliar word can lead to odd phrasing and off-putting context. Do your research and learn the proper usage. I have fallen to this folly a few times myself, I’ll admit it. Don’t be discouraged though, like most things in life writing is rewarded with practice. The more you do it the better you sharpen your wordsmithing spear. Learn and move on. Don’t be scared to use a thesaurus, it is an amazing tool.