Saturday, May 6, 2017

#WritersLife: Changing Up Your Inner Office

#WritersLife - Amber the Blonde Writer

#WritersLife, where I talk writing in real life.

I recently talked about finding inspiration to write after nearly a year of lacking motivation. I've been switching up everything related to my writing in order to jump start new ideas and wake up that coma-induced muse in my head. Another trick I'm trying is changing up how I write, including where, when, and who.

I've come up with 5 major changes to try in the next few weeks to see how they help and how frequent or strong that help turns out to be. As always, the #writerslife is a constantly changing plane, so I'm learning to adapt to my internal changes so my inner office space is open to dump those words on paper.

Silence or Music?

I am someone who thrives on words: visual words, auditory words, the conversations between the voices in my head. Because of that last reason, I have to eliminate all other forms of words besides the words popping up on my screen.

I love Okanokumo on YouTube for maintaining focus, but when I need to write action-packed sequences for my fantasy stories, I turn on Cascada. Counterproductive to my 'destroy all words' stance from earlier, but if we're honest, all of Cascada's songs are the same beat with different lyrics, and it's the beat that allows my fingers to keep pace.

Since I'm a music-listener normally, perhaps I should try silence, or maybe even throw the whole need out the window to be surrounded by people.

Solitary or Bustling?

Writing is a solitary sport, but that doesn't have to mean you don't have a stadium full of people to spectate. Some writers can write at the kitchen table with kids' TV shows blaring and teens arguing and spouses being needy and wondering where their work shirts are. Other writers lock themselves away in a basement, tower, or medium-sized closet to escape distractions. Whichever method you do, do the opposite.

This will be difficult for me because I lose focus easily, so being around family often slows me down. However, being around family also reminds me that my career is a strange one: I don't belong to a work space for 8 hours and come home and check back in. My mind was once constantly flowing with ideas, and often I would sneak a minute or two to write a new idea down or escape to finish the end of a brilliant dialogue scene.

Being around family is also a great way to get new material for characters and situations when you feel stuck because no one's family is as dramatic or dysfunctional as your own.

Sitting or Standing?

This is a fairly new idea in the writing world. Writers are perceived as these sloth-like creatures that thrive on sitting in chairs for days on end. However, with all these cubicle junkies wanting to be healthy, we now have the option of standing desks.

I admit, my mind works differently when I'm standing and writing, and that may not be entirely from the fact that my feet are killing me. Maybe our brains will coordinate action scenes more fluidly because we can feel the muscles in our legs contract with each slight movement. Or maybe we can relate more to the butterflies and the quaky knees of a romance scene as our legs buckle underneath us from exhaustion.

Either way, I think I'll give it a try.

Private or Public?

Because of my need for low music and alone-time, I'm 90% of the time writing at home. I also don't like the idea of people reading over my shoulder, which results in me holing up in a corner with my back to wall, stalking those around me behind my yellow-tinted spy-inspired computer glasses.

That's also not very comfortable, so there's that.

Writing in public is difficult to do for me because I'm so shy about my work when I don't believe it's ready for outside eyes. For those who write in public, do you have mental tricks to overcome this worry? Or if you're fine with those wandering pupils, why do you choose to write in public versus at home? This is definitely the hardest change for me to initiate.

Early or late?

There are two types of writers in the world: those who write before noon, and those who write after midnight, and yes, those are two very different groups.

I write best at four in the morning until six. Those hours are when my brain is supercharged from sleep but I'm still stuck in those dark hours of night when our brains play tricks on our memory and emotions. My friend Eric starts writing in the late afternoon, preferably after the sun goes down because I think he's secretly a llama vampire but these are just conjectures. 

Writing at 2 p.m. may not sound drastic, but it's a huge difference to my morning personality. Even writing at 6 p.m. is making me yawn, but if that's what it takes to kick-start my brain into functioning at 4 a.m., then it may be my only option.

These are just a few of the divisions I classify myself into as a writer. Do you fall into these categories? Is there one I left out? Share your thoughts and experiences and let me know if you're a sloth-like llama vampire or something even more sinister.


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