If someone gets in your face and says, “Sit your butt down and write,” where do you sit down? What do you need to prepare yourself for writing? What does writing look like to you?
If I was going to sit my butt down and write, I’d grab my laptop, settle on my couch or bed, put in my headphones, turn on the TV, and open Scrivener.
Default writing mode = the environment and tools you need to write
And this is mine:
1. Laptop (not desktop or tablet or paper)
2. Couch or bed (not my office or library or coffee shop)
3. Music (not silence, which is more distracting to me than music with lyrics)
4. TV on (like not sitting in silence, having the TV on is soothing)
5. Scrivener (not Word or paper or another word processing program because I can keep all my pre-writing and important notes in the same place)
And more often than not, I write in the afternoons or evenings—mornings and fiction writing rarely get along. The squabbling devils.
Your default writing mode won’t magically appear
I never started off with a solid idea of what I needed to write. I experimented with where I was, which computer I wrote on, and what software I used. That’s why an event like NaNoWriMo proves so valuable: it provides the excuse to play with these variables until you discover what works.
Once you’ve got your default writing mode nailed down, propelling yourself into the writing zone is easier and faster. If you know when you write best, you can carve out time in your schedule. Knowing your default writing mode increases your productivity.
And when you hit a block? Toss out your defaults and tweak until you break through.
Experimentation smashes slumps
Never deviating from your defaults is silly. Sometimes it’s impossible to focus, and that’s when you change your defaults. Like switching the channel from Investigation Discovery (death all day gets pretty depressing) to History 2 (Ancient Aliens, I can’t quit you).
And yeah, I’ll admit it: sometimes watching the TV is too distracting, so I venture into my office and work on my desktop. When I’m antsy and unmotivated, road tripping to the library or local coffee shop snaps me into productive mode.
What are your writing defaults—and how do you snap out of slumps?