As NaNoWriMo seems to be flying by, I thought I would take some time to talk about that. About what keeps you going in particular. I, myself, have some very specific routines, almost rituals, that I follow when I’m trying to get a decent word count to happen. If I’m in my zone, that routine gets thrown out the window almost entirely, but for the most part, I have to be fairly comfortable to write a lot in one go.
My routine? A comfortable place to sit, for one. And I don’t mean I just need a place to put my laptop and sit my ass, I need particular places. My couch is one of my favourite places to write, and trust me when I say, not any couch will do. My best friend offered me her couch a couple of weeks ago, and it was so cushy and soft that I got no writing done. My couch? Not so cushy and soft. Comfortable to sit on for long periods of time, but I won’t sink into it and inadvertently have a nap halfway through a sentence. It’s just right.
Second? Something warm to drink. This isn’t necessary every time, but if I’m sitting down and forcing myself to write without any drive to do so, I need tea. Preferably a whole pot, but even just one cup can be enough. on that same note, I also need something cold to drink. Just a glass of water or juice or a can of pop. Nothing special, just something to sip on. And aside from drinks, I need munchies. One of my munchies of choice (when I don’t have chocolate anywhere nearby) is carrots. Random, I know, but at least they’re healthy, so I won’t feel guilty if I eat and entire bag of baby carrots and don’t realize it.
My laptop is not a necessity, but it make things easier than writing in a notebook. I get more done at a faster pace. Not to say I’m against notebooks, I carry one with me at all times so that I can jot down random scenes or begin work on a chapter during my break at my “real job”. And I’m one of those weirdos who loves camping and being away from civilization, so for me, sometimes a notebook is the easiest way. For this month, though, it’s my laptop.
Most importantly, and this is a huge one for me: I need a playlist. Without that playlist, I get nothing done. No, I’m serious. My phone and iPod come camping with me and charge in the car, so even when I’m in the middle of nowhere with no one else for literally hundreds of kilometers, I still have music. I have a playlist right now that is 662 songs long, and I created it specifically using songs and albums that help create the mood of the book I’m writing. I realize how geeky this makes me sound, and I really don’t care. Before I start work on any big writing project, my first step is to create a playlist while I’m still thinking about the main idea behind the story. I feel like it just puts me in the right frame of mind for the story so that I can get lost in it.
What’s on my playlist for Between Love and Death? A lot. Chiodos is a big one for me, as well as Imagine Dragons, Adelitas Way, Gemini Syndrome, Daughtry, NeedToBreathe, Escape the Fate, Fallout Boy, Lady Gaga, Linkin Park, Maroon 5, Memphis May Fire, etc etc. Yeah, I realize some people won’t recognize some of those bands. And I realize that there is a ridiculous mix of styles in that list, but it works for me. I listen to a lot of types of music, anyway. I may upload a list of the songs that really pertain to the story in the future, as some of the songs I feel relate extremely well to certain parts or emotions or characters in the series.
Anyway, that’s just the basics, and as insane as it sounds to be so specific about what I need in order to write, it works for me. If I get something in my head and need to write a scene or short story, I write whether I have those things or not. But for days (almost every day) when I have to force myself to sit down and get in the mood before any words appear on my file, these things work to help put me in the right space to actually be productive.
If you’re wondering, no, I’m not avoiding upping my word count for NaNoWriMo by writing this instead. I’ve already done more than my minimum for the day for my 50k, and I’m currently just taking a break before diving back in to get a few thousand more words done if I can pull it off.
Word count as of right now: 14,624 for November. 28,122 for the first book of the series. This is when I do a little happy dance that I’m getting things done, and fairly quickly to boot. Fuck. Yes.
Do any of you have any weird quirks or routines or rituals for when you write?