I have had no profound thoughts this week – not that I expected to. With all the fireworks going off and the explosions shaking our house and rattling our windows, I haven’t had much “quiet” time to sit and think. That doesn’t always matter. Sometimes thoughts take over, but not this week. So in lieu of some profound (please note that I’m being sarcastic here – I don’t really believe that my blogs are deep and profound – I’m not that secure of a person) blog, I thought I would consider some of the different tools that authors use to help their creative process.
To begin with, I’d like to get the big one out of the way: drugs and alcohol. Really, if you look at some of the largely popular authors, especially in history, opiates and alcohol was frequently used/abused. I’m sure there are books and blogs and reports and general lines of thinking that address whether or not these authors needed those substances to come up with their work, if it merely aided their line of thinking, or if it instead hindered their work and limited their potential. I don’t know. And I haven’t done any research so I don’t feel comfortable making any assumptions whatsoever. I do not nor have I ever done any drugs, but I do drink adult beverages. While it relaxes me and loosens me up, I don’t feel that it’s a writing essential.
Instead, I choose tea. Typically if I am sitting down to do any writing or editing, I start by brewing a cup of tea. This is also true if my husband and I sit down to work on anything together (websites, marketing, etc). We both choose to drink tea. Black or green tea during the day and chamomile, mint, or whatever other kind of decaf tea we happen to have on hand, in the evening. It also relaxes me and seems to wake up my brain and clear out any fog that might be in there.
One of the more recent movements that I’ve heard is creating playlists for your current story/book you’re working on. With Pandora, iTunes, Rhapsody, etc. it’s extremely easy to put together playlists to set a mood. Some people have hundreds of playlists. I have maybe ten. Music tends to distract me – unless it’s merely instrumental. So that’s typically what I play when writing, if I have music playing at all. I like the Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, Star Wars, and Much Ado About Nothing soundtracks. But a lot of the time, I don’t listen to anything at all. I really need silence to concentrate. If the music has words, I start singing. If the internet is connected, I’m too tempted to jump on Facebook, Twitter, or the ultimate evil: Pinterest. (Dear Pinterest, don’t get me wrong. I love you. I LOVE you. I think you’re awesome! But you are a nightmare for me when I’m trying to write)
Another one that I have recently learned about is a website www.rainymood.com. It plays the sound of rain and has a background of rain droplets rolling down a glass pane. This may be my new go to website for writing. My husband and I use an app on his iphone that lets us fall asleep to white noise, thunder, rain, etc. (even monks chanting and cats purring), so this is something that I can absolutely fall in love with. Very relaxing. Might even enhance real rainy days!
Some people have routines: they start out by drinking a cup of water, then move on to munch on some carrots or apples, etc. I think it’s really however you train your brain to push out some content. My brain does it automatically as soon as I lay down and close my eyes, as if saying “Oh, you’re tired? But what if Hannah was a psychotic killer on the loose and Charlie was the detective chasing her down, and her warped mind created this wasteland of a world that she thought she lived in?” This is not the case, by the way, but that’s how my mind operates.
This is really all I can think of right now. If you have some other helpful writer’s tools, (other than writing prompts and muses) feel free to chime in with some comments!