For anyone who hasn't reached the point where writing full time is a lifestyle they can embrace, carving out time and space in which to write can be challenging. This is still true for me, though it's more space than time. For reasons involving our business (which is what actually pays the mortgage & puts food on the table), my wife and I regularly have to do minor reconfigurations of our home. So that means I don't have a "permanent" workplace to sit and write.
is fine, and while I'd love a wall where I have a giant whiteboard or
corkboard to lay out projects and ideas... I can work without it. I
have up until now.
But part of what I need to do is establish a bit of ritual to make wherever I'm working at any given point-- to be my space.
main thing I need is my headphones. I have a couple pairs of bluetooth
headphones (so I can switch when one runs out of power), and that helps
me zone out the rest of the world and focus in on what I'm doing.
I'll admit, my brain is always hungry for input, which can make me easily distracted. I have a bad habit of reading one more article or just checking one more thing and then I realize I've wasted an hour. Music-- especially music that stimulates that need for input
without also dominating my thought process (i.e., the music itself
takes all my attention)-- helps alleviate that distraction. Usually
that means the poppiest of pop music (yes, I'm a 42-year-old man who
listens to Taylor Swift) or intense orchestral scoring stuff (the scores
of movies like Dark Knight Rises or Avengers is nicely mood setting, or
has been one of my latest). Get that going, and I'm able to focus
entirely on the Work At Hand without a need to check the Thorn reviews
on Goodreads "just once more", or some other distracting behavior.
course, there's always danger with relying too much on some sort of
ritual, totem or other "good luck charm" in your writing-- that you end
up fetishizing it and then "can't write" without it. That's a thing
you've got to avoid. As much as I love my headphones, if I've forgotten
them (when working in a coffee shop or such) or I've accidentally let
them run out of power or their bluetooth connectivity is being
obnoxious... then I have to do without.
one way or another, I need to get into that zone. I've got plenty of
word-mining to do, so it's time to get to it. See you down there.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Perils of the Writer: Rituals and Totems of Writing
Posted by Marshall Ryan Maresca
Labels: Marshall Ryan Maresca
Marshall Ryan Maresca is a Fantasy and Science Fiction Novelist, as well as a playwright, living in South Austin with his wife and son. He is the author of the Maradaine Novels:
The Thorn of Dentonhill, A Murder of Mages , The Alchemy of Chaos, An Import of Intrigue , The Holver Alley Crew, The Imposters of Aventil and Lady Henterman's Wardrobe (Forthcoming).
His work also appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced.
Visit his website at mrmaresca.com