Writing is a part of my (almost) daily routine. I journal, write poetry, blog, and, at times, attempt the occasional work of fiction. I write to focus my mind elsewhere when I’m stressed. Creative writing is my therapy, my hobby, my oxygen, my life.
While I could probably write in almost any geographical location and in almost any environment, I have particular needs in order to write my best work. These needs are not universal for every writer. Everyone has their own particular writing habits, and everyone has their own set of needs that must be met in order to write productively.
The following is a list of what I can’t write without:
I can’t write without…
1. Coffee (or tea).
I love coffee maybe a little too much. The jolt of caffeine works magic on my brain, and without it, I feel foggy and unfocused. But after a few sips of coffee, my creativity is off and running…hopefully in a productive direction. Late at night, I drink tea if I have some writing I hope to accomplish. Caffeine just brings forth those deep thoughts buried away within my subconscious.
2. Music (may vary depending on mood).
My musical tastes vary from Led Zeppelin to The Cranberries to Ed Sheeran. I am open minded in life, and that includes music. This is significant because I cannot write without the right tunes. Sometimes I need Prince blaring through my headphones and The Beatles just won’t do. It all depends on my mood, what I’m hoping to write, and my energy level.
3. A quiet space (aside from my music).
I don’t need to be in the same place every time I write. I am open to a change in my environment. With that being said, I do look for a quiet, calm space in which to write. I cannot be productive if there are too many distractions.
4. Paper and a pen.
Yes, the paper that comes from trees. I know, I know…I’m old-school. For some reason, I greatly value the process of writing with a pen and paper. Eventually I must transfer my almost illegible written words to a computer, but that is the risk I must take. While I am happy to use technology in my writing process, I also value the good old fashioned pen and paper for early drafts of my work.
5. Inspiration (can take many forms).
Every writer needs an idea. We all find our inspiration in many (almost infinite) ways. Be it an article we read in Time magazine, a dream we had the night before, a conversation with an old friend, we all need that beautiful idea that “clicks” in our head before we begin the drafting of our creative thoughts. For me, it’s unpredictable where I will find my inspiration. I don’t always go searching for it. Sometimes the inspiration finds me, jumps out, and says, “Here I am!” Other times, I experience the frustration of “writer’s block,” and have to search everywhere for the right idea. Whichever situation I find myself in, I need that clear idea to work with.
Writing is an activity I need to set aside ample amounts of time to do properly. Sure, inspiration sneaks up on me, and I take thirty seconds out of my day to type the idea into the Notes app on my iPhone (one of the times in which I appreciate technology). But besides these situations, I need hours in order to craft my thoughts, weave sentences together, and edit. As a writer, I also need time away from my work. When I come back the next day (or weeks, even months later), the editing process continues.
The beauty of writing is that every writer is different. What works for me may not work for everyone. I have my needs, and they change over time. I love that writing is not black and white. There is no right or wrong answer for the writing process. Go where your thoughts take you, and find what gives you beautiful poetry, fiction, or blog posts.