To write the book, you need to come up with a PLAN.
In this post I’m going to tackle part one of that plan: your writing environment. Specifically, figuring out where you will write your book and which tools you will use.
So, why is it worth considering your where and with what before you begin?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—setting yourself up for success by proactive problem-solving will go a LONG WAY in helping you reach your goal of book completion.
Where and with which tools you write is something only you can determine. You’ve got to figure out what works best for you—what most easily allows you to access your creative self and connect with a state of writing flow.
It goes without saying that there is no one way to do this. Every writer works differently, needs different things to bring out the magic.
Crime writer John le Carre wrote his debut novel on his 90-minute train commute into London. Gertrude Stein liked writing in the front seat of a parked car. James Joyce used to write in bed at night while lying on his stomach, using a blue pencil and wearing a white coat.
So, how about you? What do you need in terms of space and tools in order to tap into your best writing self?
Here are some things to think about:
LOCATION: Do you prefer to write in your home or in a public space like a coffee house or café? Or maybe you like the solitude of nature or the silence of a university library?
CHAIR/DESK SET-UP: How are you most comfortable writing? In an oversized comfy chair or propped up in a chaise lounge? Sitting upright at a table or desk? Or perhaps, like author A.J. Jacobs, on a treadmill desk?
SOUND LEVEL: Do you thrive with zen white noise or a favorite Spotify song list? The din of a bustling café or absolute silence?
WRITING TOOLS: Do you work best on your desktop, laptop, iPad, or maybe an old-fashioned typewriter? Or do you favor a flat-lying journal with a selection of colorful fine-tipped markers or a special ballpoint pen?
Spend some time experimenting with different environments and tools and make note of what works best for you. When you figure it out, designate that space / those circumstances as your official writing zone. By doing so, you’ll train your brain to automatically slip into writing mode when you are in that space (in the same way that we associate our bed with sleep).
One last note…your ideal writing environment may change from project to project, and sometimes even mid-way through a project. That’s totally fine and natural. Just be open to listening to the cues your brain and creative self are getting from your environment, and make a change when necessary.
In my next post, I’ll talk about finding the most precious resource for any writer: TIME.