Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cultivating Writing Habits

All writers have different habits and different ways of ensuring a good day's work. Some wake up at 5 am and work straight through the day. Others can't write until later at night, when the sun goes down and most everyone else is asleep and inspiration strikes. Some writers have a routine: wake up, work out, eat, write, eat, read, write, sleep. Some writers can write any where at anytime of the day with noise and distractions milling about, or with absolute silence and few sensory stimulants. For some writers, their regimen needs to be extremely strict and rigid in order to write well while other writers are more flexible. 

I recently read an article, which I of course can't find now, about a writer who can literally write in any sort of an environment. She's adaptable and finds writing in her car on a road trip just as easy as writing at a peaceful place on her front porch. She can write in a notebook or on a compute, in the middle of the night or late morning.

 I wish I was that adaptable!

My ideal writing situation is with my laptop, WiFi turned off for as long as I can resist it, at a table or a desk either in my house or at a coffee shop. The earlier I start writing the better. For some reason, by about 1 o' clock or 2 o' clock the writer part of me shuts off and I can't get back into the groove of writing. And that's the thing, I need to get into that grove of writing as soon as possible after I get up to be able to write well and with focus for a long period of time. 

However, I want to train myself to be able to write in any situation. I think that's really important because, honestly, how often can you really secure the ultimate writing environment? And writers should be writers regardless of time and place. I want to continue to write in the mornings and at the time that works best for me, but I want to keep writing in the afternoon and early evening. Maybe in the late evening once in a while just so that I know I can. I want to write long hang more, too. With a pencil and a lined notebook and see how that affects the way I write. I want to be able to write on the couch, on the floor, and sitting up in bed at night. 

The above photo is of Roald Dahl's writing space. I saw the photo online and recognized it before I even read the caption. When I was in elementary school, we watched a video on Dahl and that was, I believe, the moment I knew I wanted to be a writer. He made this room to revolve around his writing. The room was only for writing and it helped him achieve his ideal writing situation. He sat in that chair and wrote on that small shelf placed across it. He even crafted that shelf, a kind of personal desk, to himself to fit his lap and the angle of his arms when he wrote. How perfect is that? I love Roald Dahl and I think his books have been essential in the development of children's interest in reading. And he obviously had his writing habits cultivated to perfection. 

How do you write best? Are you flexible and work well in any situation or do you have a ritual and place that you need to write?

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