Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Being in the Writing Chair

I used to read every piece of writing advice I got my hands on and would treat it like a holy sanskrit. That is, following it to the letter. Enough reading and, of course, I ran into information that was contradictory. I would always worry because I had no idea which one was the "right" advice and which one was wrong.

Along with your personality affecting the type of genre you are going to write (which, for those of you who suffer from 10+ days of amnesia, I mentioned in my previous post), it is also going to affect the writing habits you will have.

You have to read all kinds of writing advice and filter between "That makes no sense," "That makes sense," and "That makes sense to me." It's the "to me"s that are compatible with your writing personality.

What if you don't have any "to me"s yet? You find out by experimenting. Try one method and, if you find it's not working out well, try another.

Being an alcoholic like ye olde poets is neither recommended nor healthy.
That said I'm going to offer some contradictory advice about two versions of a Writing Chair works for you.

Be Free Little Bird!

Years ago I read writing advice that said not to tie yourself down to one special writing setup because it can cause Writer's Block.  "I can only write in my bedroom with Bach playing in the background," you'd say. Problem is, setting up that exact atmosphere is difficult, so you often don't get the chance and, thus, don't write. Instead, leave yourself open to any gap you possibly can, be it ten minutes or two hours. Laptops are handy for just such a thing.


Situate Your Brain

I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping. This led to long nights that, actually, let me come up with a lot of cool ideas for writing. I've read lots of stuff for insomniacs but what helped me the most was not to use your bed for anything other than sleeping. Don't read in bed, don't watch TV in bed. Your bed is not an awake-time place. It is for sleep only. That way, when you lay down in bed your brain goes "Oh, we're in the Sleep Place. So it's time for sleep!" rather than it becoming confused.

Brains are, ironically, really stupid.

I apply the same for writing.

Contradictory to the previous advice, I wait until a specific time of day, set myself down in a specific chair, and put on some atmospheric music. This says to my brain "Hey, it's time to write!" and I either get writing or sit back and work my way through a scene in my head for a couple of minutes.

So, try both of them out for a while, and decide which Writing Chair works best for you.

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