writing

Before I Write…

Before I begin to write (or draw) there are always one or two things I have to do to make my studio comfy. Like…

1. Put on my writing slippers. They’re nothing special, just grey and knitted and baggy, not from a specialist ‘writing attire’ shop or anything. They don’t have ‘writer’ in purple sequins across the toe (although that would be fab!), but they are warm and when I write I wear them (see pic below).

2. Adjust my chair, which involves three minutes of height testing and plumping cushions. I’ve discovered that the best way to do this is to throw them on the floor and pummel them with my fists or launch a few kicks with the old writing slippers (see above).

3. Make tea. This is a long and complicated process, as any true tea connoisseur knows, and involves a lot of pot warming, water boiling and grumbling because my favourite mug is always dirty and festering in the dishwasher and I have to clean it by hand because no other mug will do!

me at my desk4. Adjust the angle of my Venetian blinds so the light is just right. OK, so I know this sounds a little obsessive, but too far one way and the slats block my inspirational view of the hills, too far the other and all I can see are shed roofs and bins.

5. Make a Spotify playlist… for each chapter! Yes, I spend far too many hours ensuring that the musical mood in the studio completely suits the emotional mood of my characters. Hours and hours and hours!

6. Yoga (sort of). A horrible thought will invariably pop into my head: I’m about to sit still for an awfully long time, so I guess I should exercise at bit first. I will lean over and touch my knees (my toes being rather far away and a little over-ambitious), then wriggle my shoulders or stand on one leg. I might turn my head left and right, down and up, which is the moment I will notice…

7. Cobwebs to be vacuumed. I have a lot of cobwebs and dust bunnies – those clusters of fluff that look so cute as they scud across the floor (see pic below). I do clean from time to time but must admit I let the domestic chores slip a little when I’ve got a new book idea or a looming deadline. So, I don’t mind some dust and dirt, just as long as it’s not dangling over my desk. Totally distracting! dust bunniesAnd finally…

8. E-mail, Blog, Facebook and Tweet. I get all that messaging and chatting malarkey out of my system, which usually takes about an hour (or three) by which time I’m in need of another cup of tea, a quick stretch (to my shins this time), a swift punch of the chair cushions and tweak of the blinds. Actually, now that I think about it, how do I ever get my books written?!!!

What’s your routine before (or instead of) working?

235 thoughts on “Before I Write…

  1. nice one..like you i want that my place is clean..but i’m still one of those who are just starting writing blogs..still a lot to learn here.. 🙂

  2. I have a similar method of preparation before beginning to pain… I have a special tshirt I like to wear.. not just because I’m afraid of getting any other shirt dirty, but this shirt has meaning.
    The blinds and tea making are also an ocd habit I have before I begin to paint.

    Loved this post!

  3. Wow.. i was thinking I was special when it came to selecting the music to set the mood for the characters.. guess not. I really like this post.. going to share. Thanks.

  4. Pingback: My weird and not so productive work/study routine « a.rainy.day

  5. Love the behind the scenes info! Great blog you have here! Consider me a follower 🙂 I think you’ll really like my blog too! We write and design bios for artists and musicians and share their stories with the world to help them connect with their fans by sharing this very kind of behind the scenes info! Please subscribe to our blog and follow us. We’d love to hear your opinions. we’re also on Facebook at facebook.com/biobasement. Hope to hear from you.

  6. When I have a lot of writing/homework to do, I get mounds of chocolate; cups of coffee; and, like you, I generally coordinate my music to the mood of character/chapter/level of anxiety based on my homework. I really liked your post though! What’s you favorite kind of tea?

  7. I love this post! Very funny, and so true! In an ideal world, I’d like to have things just so. However, I don’t often have time to have things be just right, so I try to streamline my writing prep work. …It doesn’t often work to skip steps in the pre-writing process. The most important thing I can do, and I mean THE most important thing, is have my music on. It is absolutely the best when I have my headphones on (earbuds just don’t cut it for me…it has to be big headphones). I listen to movie scores mostly, with some ragtime, blues, and big band thrown in; I have a large collection of music, and unless I have a strong gut feeling about what I am going to write, I’ll typically open ITunes and hit shuffle. It can be the perfect tool…almost as important as the pen or the keyboard. When I feel the right song begin, I dive into my novel, writing…soaring…with the music. Should ITunes shuffle on to a song that is not correct with the mood, I must change it within seconds, or the entire process is undone.

    Of course, I often end up with some chocolate nearby, not to mention checking my favorite websites and my email every now and again. How can I be on the computer and not be online? It’s unheard of! 😉

    Great post! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  8. Sigh. The Internet. It can bring us to unexpected, new places. I was on my way to write a new post for my blog and then I thought I’d just roam around for a bit and here you are. Didn’t regret it though. I enjoyed this post. 🙂

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