When I’m writing – either starting a new story or working on an existing one – it’s seldom I can just pick up my pencil and start writing. I usually need something to kickstart me into motion.
So, I thought I’d list 5 things that help get me started and inspire me to keep going.
The first thing is a hot drink, usually coffee. But it’s only ever the one cup. I limit myself to 2 cups of coffee a day; more than that and I start to feel ill. I used to be able to drink loads back in my college days until I pulled a couple of all-nighters and practically had an IV drip of coffee. I ended up being sick and had to stay off coffee for a while. I have drunk more than a couple of cups over the years before finally realising my limit and sticking to it. I usually have the second cup in the evening. Anyway, after that first cup of coffee, I alternate between hot water and tea. The main thing is, so long as I have a hot drink to hand, I’m fine.
Music goes a long way in keeping the creative juices pumped. But it has to be classical. And specific classical. Brahms’ ‘Violin Concerto in D Major’ and his ‘Piano Concerto No.2 in B-flat Major’ – I have no idea why, but these two pieces have never failed to produce pretty well written scenes. Beethoven does wonders for me too. And when it comes to action/fast-paced scenes, Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Scheherazade’ does the trick. Lately, I’ve found most pieces by ‘Two Steps from Hell’ work well too, usually when I’m editing.
Images from my research help spark my writing when I feel a bit stuck. It could be to do with clothing or architecture or scenery. I save some in a picture folder on the computer and I also make Pinterest boards. But there is danger in perusing my Pinterest boards – getting sucked into Pinterest and ‘forgetting’ that I’m actually supposed to be writing!
‘Genius’ writing. Whenever I’ve come across, what I feel, is wonderful bits of writing, I copy them out in one of my writing notebooks. Reading them inspires me to keep going, to stretch my writing mindset, if that makes sense.
Dancing. When I feel I’m struggling with the writing, when I’m feeling stale, or just plain old crabby, I realise it’s because I’ve been sat for too long. I used to just generally move around before deciding it’s more fun to put some upbeat music on and just dance. Literally dance like no one’s watching because I make sure no one is watching. Except the cats, and they just ignore me. Or retire to a safe space, like a chair.
Whether you’re a writer or not, do you have specific things that keep you going when you’re working on a project?