A WRITER HAS NEEDS!
A WRITER HAS NEEDS!
One of the more daunting challenges a writer surprisingly faces on a daily basis is actually turning the computer on. It sounds ludicrous, but of all the difficulties a writer must overcome, ‘getting started’ is the worst. At first it’s getting started on the manuscript at hand, then it reduces to getting started on this chapter, eventually it breaks down to jotting down notes on a depressingly empty screen… eventually… one is reduced to mustering the impetus and incentive to turn on the damned computer at all.
Oftentimes we can convince ourselves that we can write just as effectively, or even more so by hand; what does it matter, it will be a breeze to type up later. Uh-uh. It never happens and on those rare occasions that both time, incentive and determination coincide to make a temporarily smooth and satisfying outpouring of effort, one usually cannot read one’s own writing. The entire point is lost amidst the annoyance and frustration of deciphering ten pages of scrawl, which, if successful, fifty percent is either scrapped, or set aside for later, at which point it becomes eternally archived for generations to come to unveil and either laugh at or make a fortune from. Effort wasted.
There is no ready solution to this predicament. There are, however a few ways to help avert the ‘getting started’ aversion.
FIRE UP YOUR COMPUTER BEFORE YOU NEED IT
Whatever your routine is, start your computer well in advance of your writing schedule… then WALK AWAY. Make a coffee, have a cigarette, take a stroll, it matters not. When you return to start writing in your scheduled slot you will be able to actually sit down and begin immediately without distraction.
REMOVE ALL DIVERSIONS!
Firstly, and most importantly, a writer needs no distractions and therefore must be diligent in removing or obstructing any potential diversions.
TURN OFF YOUR PHONES – all of them! Whatever it is, it can wait! You’re a writer, not a secretary.
DO NOT ANSWER THE DOOR. Ignore it. You’re a writer not a concierge.
Tell anyone you know who may be likely to interrupt you within your writing domain not to, OR ELSE! And do be sure to follow it up if they do. You’re already disrupted and agitated as a result of their interruption, so let them have it with both barrels. You’ll feel better and guaranteed, they will never interrupt you again!
Just because you work from home does not mean you’re available for people to just drop in any time or that you are there at the beck and call of the rest of the household. You’re a writer; others they must learn (be trained!) to acknowledge and respect that.
THE INTERNET – A WRITER’S KRYPTONITE!!!
The internet is the biggest distraction and the biggest excuse a writer can have for never getting any written work underway. Invariably one tends to find a way of justifying the many hours spent in the cyber world (particularly on Twitter!) in lieu of doing that which you turned on the computer with intent to do – write!
Leave the INTERNET UNPLUGGED and DISCONNECTED.
DO NOT turn the internet on, under any circumstances until your working (writing) day is done! This is one of the worst distractions for a writer; a writer’s kryptonite, if you like – once you’re in there you’re done for. Your will is weakened, your mind distracted and your writing, dead for today. Side tracking into the internet before writing eventually becomes routine so it is something you want to avoid at all cost. Think of the internet as your reward. Regardless of whether it is work or pleasure you are partaking of in the cyber realm, you may only enter upon completion of your written task; 1000 words, minimum, for today, however long it takes you to reach this!
Your brain cannot function without food, no matter how prolific or spectacular a writer you are – you must eat! Take regular breaks, move around, inhale of fresh air, rest your eyes from the screen and keep your physical and mental strength up by nibbling something every hour or so.
Atmosphere is most important. Whatever ‘floats your boat’ mentally, you need to place it around you, immediately, if not sooner! If you love the ocean, buy yourself an ocean sounds cd, or better still a dvd with such sounds on it and play it on repeat until your written session is done. If you like open spaces and fresh air – take your laptop into the garden, or place pictures of such on your walls; surround yourself with potted plants, paint your ceilings blue… erect mirrors to create the illusion of more space…
You’re a writer; you have the imagination to create atmosphere in your work; simply apply that creativity to your writing domain and make a niche for yourself in which to work. Think about what makes you relaxed and helps your thoughts to stay focused and flow clearly; re-create this world around you with whatever means you can think of to do so. If you can’t think of anything, type in what you love and search the internet for ideas and inspiration. It’s surprising what one can come up with when one applies a little logic, determination and creativity!
The fourth and final word of advise is a little more technical, but extremely effective.
Create a new user account on your computer which is assigned for writing and writing alone. If you do several different types of writing; I.e. you’re working on a best-selling romantic or horror fiction, but for peanuts to pay the rent you also write features and product reviews; set up a different user for each type of writing and give each one it’s appropriate title. For example; HORROR FICTION WRITER, REVIEWER, or you can use the authorship name you use for each one. It doesn’t matter what name you give it, so long as when you move the cursor to click on that user to commence that style of writing, the icon image and user name turn your thoughts in the right direction.
SCREEN SAVER & DESKTOP BACKGROUND
Never underestimate how important your screen saver and desktop background can be to your state of mind. If your about to sit down to write a saucy scene about a brick layer laying the company’s corporate twins in a sizzling three-way, you don’t need your mind distracted by images of your favourite funny kitten or your toddler nieces in last years Halloween outfits, cute as that may be. Your screen saver must reflect either the theme of the style of writing you are creating, or the alternatively, be an extension of the atmosphere you have created around you which helps you to put your mind where it needs to be. Pamela Anderson’s breasts are not going help you write a review on Glen 20 disinfectant spray – unless of course, she’s cleaning house in her underwear with a big hairy dog sullying her carpets. That could help.
YOUR SCREEN ITSELF
On any computer which houses Windows, one can actually change the colour scheme of the computer screen itself. Adapt it to something which suits you. Windows 7 or greater gives a selection of pre-assigned options which makes life easier for those who are a little less technically minded. If, like me, your introduction to computers began on a black screen with white writing, you are likely finding it a challenge to adapt to the white screen with black writing, even if you are unaware of it. If this is the case, this will certainly help your mind-set and your writing.
All of this may seem like a lot of effort to merely sit down and write, but believe me it is worth it and will make every difference both to your state of mind, your written output and your over-all satisfaction with your writing life. Remember, atmosphere is everything for a writer, be it in your actual writing itself, or the world in which you immerse yourself physically and mentally in which to create it.
Know this; this is your writing world – you can do and say whatever you want in here, be it in your writing or within your writing domain! It is artistic lore and the writer’s privilege. So go all out and create a space that is all your very own in which nothing can or will distract you!
You will not regret it.
© Tezi Magazine 2013.