Lessons from a writer: The right writing environment
Some need coffee, some need alcohol. When it’s time to turn on the computer or pick up the pen to write, everyone needs something different before they can get in their writing zone. I know I do. I need silence, but sometimes, I enjoy sitting on my front porch if I’m not in a distracted mood. I enjoy hearing the birds fly around and screech at each other (screech is a more realistic term than chirp), and I enjoy the breeze that blows through the trees. It’s nice and inspiring, sometimes. Otherwise, I just need silence. What do you need to write?
Some writers need music, some silence, some need certain foods, or need to be in a specific place; what do you need to have/do while writing?
If I can have a cup of tea close, it helps. I usually like to listen to classical music while I’m writing. Occasionally I can listen to music with words—regular pop radio or even Bollywood songs—but sometimes the words get distracting. At the start of the summer, we moved into a new home, and I saw a lifelong dream become a reality: my own writing studio. It’s not a huge room. It has a desk, a small bookcase, and a comfortable chair with an ottoman. But it’s my own space, and after not being able to write for almost a year when I sit there now I can feel the edges of my creativity begin to unfurl again. I feel like I might—just might—be able to start testing my writing wings once again. –Ekta Garg
Wow that’s the golden question. For me, it has to be no one talking to me. I can have music on, which is my preference, or the TV, but as soon as someone starts talking, that’s it. lose the thread of what I’m writing and have to walk away from it for at least ten minutes! –Martin Sigournay
I need noise in the background when I write, either television or Youtube, but it also has to be a rerun or something I’ve seen before, so I don’t actually have to pay that much attention to it. It’s easier to take quick breaks by watching whatever is playing for a few seconds. When I’m in silence, I’m more prone to browsing and getting sidetracked during lulls. –Felix Awadalla
I need nothing but to sit myself down and DO IT! Lack of procrastination is my only need. –Cecelia Marriott Chittenden
What I find helpful is making sure I have a space that is clear of clutter to write in. So usually cleaning things up helps the ideas flow. Second, I like to wear hats lol. It’s a symbolic gesture (I won’t say it too loud), but it helps to keep my ideas in my head . . . I know it’s weird, but it actually helps. Third, strong coffee or tea helps keep me alert and music helps to keep me motivated as well as find a rhythm to the words I pen. –Tyronica Smith
Mostly, I think I need silence just because then I can concentrate better. I mostly write on my home PC or write with pen/paper on trains while in transit between home and work. I don’t think I’m the writers’ ritual type of writer though. –Moonlake Ku
I need to write in silence. Otherwise I can’t hear the story playing out in my head. I need to be sitting comfortably, which means cross-legged on a fluffy couch or bed. I can’t write well at a desktop. I need a cold iced drink or a glass of sweet moscato, and I need M&Ms. Lots and lots of M&Ms (I think the Ms. stand for Muse and Munchies). –Crystal M M Burton
I personally need quiet to write. Simple sounds can annoy me honestly, like a loud cricket, or another persons TV. I think best when it’s quiet, and preferably in the comfort of my own bedroom. Usually in my computer chair, feet up on the bed, and my laptop on my lap. That’s my preferred way of writing. –Eric Smolinski
Want to know more about this week’s panel?
Cecelia Marriott Chittenden
I have been writing for many years but within the last two, made an attempt to publish any of my work. I self-published my first novel, Book One of a trilogy titled Pelicans Haven, in June of this year. I am currently working on Book Two and Three and a historical nonfiction novel.
I am a stay-at-home mother and wife who spends my free time baking, crafting, and fangirling. I work from home as an author and freelance editor, and I insist my positive outlook has gotten me to where I am today.
Ekta maintains her professional writing blog, The Write Edge, as well as its three extension blogs: The Write Edge Bookshelf (for book reviews); The Write Edge Writing Workshop (her self-designed, self-conducted writing workshop); and Growth Chart (where she chronicles the aches and pains, joys, and grins of parenting.) In 2015, she launched Prairie Sky Publishing, the publishing extension of The Write Edge, so she could pursue her writing dreams as an indie author, and now she divides her time between writing and editing the work of other writers.
I am currently working on my first novel, a fantasy adventure called Accrue’s End: Pursuit. I also have a short story titled Sight Unseen that will be published in Collective Ramblings Vol 2. I’m still learning a lot about the writing process but am getting a lot of help from amazing people on Facebook.
Felix lives and breathes New Jersey and also does improv comedy in New York City. More importantly, he writes goofy science fiction paranormal adventure pulp and cites Mike Mignola of Hellboy fame as a huge inspiration. He has published a novel, Reign of the Walrus Witch, and a short story, Full Steam Ahead: A Steampunk Steamventure.
Martin Sigournay has been writing for about twenty-three years but only started publishing e-books back in 2014. He mainly writes fiction but has published one litany of poetry. His current published story is Wolfsbane The Mark, which has elements of fact and fiction intertwined within the story.
I am Moonlake Ku, a Chinese, beginning writer planning to make a slow switch to becoming a FT writer specializing in the niche of Chinese fantasy.
I love writing across genres. I’ve recently found a fondness for nonfiction, and the best thing next to an awesome cup of coffee is an even more awesome book! Creators create, readers read, and writers suffer long silences from tight-lipped characters 😛
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