Saturday, 28 October 2017

Sitting down to write

This is what I'm writing at the moment,
and these books are all I'll need 
Whenever I sit down to write there are four things I like to have happen, just to be sure that my head is in the right place for creating and that I'll be comfortable while doing so.

1 - Reference materials. This kind of goes without saying, but I do like to make sure that I have to hand the books I need and nothing more. There was a time, especially when I was designing Star Wars D6 adventures and stories, I would have as many books as I could possibly need stacked next to my desk. I had almost every WEG product published, so I'd have books about starships, bases, organisations, period details, characters... it was huge. The problem was, instead of just getting on with the writing I'd spend a lot of time flicking through different books to find details that I thought I'd need; it was a massive time waster. So now, I just have the books I really will need to hand and then worry about details once I've finished, usually during editing. One or two main books, that's enough.

2 - Food and drink. This isn't as weird as it sounds. I hate having to get up every now and then because I feel a bit thirsty or peckish. It's a small thing but it can be distracting. These days I have a flask and a packet of nibbles to hand so that if I do get into a flow I can minimise distruption when my stomach growls for attention.

3 - Music or ambient noise. If there's a bunch of whistling workmen outside with jackhammers, I'm not going to get much done. If I'm in a dark fantasy mood and someone is playing happy pop tunes loudly, I'm going to lose my focus. I either make sure that I'm not distracted, or I choose some relevant music to write by. I don't mind wearing headphones, although the little ear buds are much less distracting, but I'd rather not if I can help it. Having the correct atmosphere goes a long way.

4 - Being in the mood. If I watch the Star Wars trilogy and then immediately sit down to write a Fighting Fantasy adventure, I'm not going to be in the right state of mind. After watching the Death Star being annihilated - twice - I'm going to be buzzing on science fantasy and laserbolts and not general fantasy and spellcasting. I have to be in the right mood to write, and if that means spending time reading the rulebooks or source materials, or exposing my brain to the genre or listening to relevant music to capture the correct feeling then so be it. I have to be in the correct headspace to get things down on paper, which can be annoying at three in the morning when I wake up excited about a certain genre for no reason, but then I'm too tired to do anything about it.

Of course, there is a fifth entry - stop writing blog posts and just get on with the damn writing.

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