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During the final rewrite phase of my novel, Misfit McCabe, leading up to publication, I worked with a class of young readers to preview the manuscript and provide feedback. This is the tenth in a series of articles about fiction writing aimed at young writers. This article discusses things to consider when setting up an area for writing.
Since I am getting ready to start working on some new material, I thought it would be a good time to share with you some of the things that are important to determine before you being writing. In order to help you do your best writing, you have to know what it is that helps you focus on the writing. The below are some things to keep in mind.
- Where do you do your best writing? Is it in your bedroom, the living room, or somewhere outside? Where do ideas seem to flow for you? Wherever that place is for you, that's where you should set up your writing space. While I was writing Misfit McCabe, my best place was the kitchen table. I thought it was my room, but for some reason, in my bedroom, I kept getting off track and couldn't focus on writing. Now I do my best writing in a spare bedroom, also known as our computer room. Wherever your best place to write is, make sure it is comfortable and you have everything you need to hand.
- A comfortable seat - it could be a chair, a bean bag, a nice tree to lean against.
- If you write using pencils, make sure that you have several sharp pencils and erasers available. Or if you use pens, keep more than one on hand so you won't run out of ink.
- Do you have enough paper?
- I work on the computer, so I don't have to worry about pencils, pens, or paper during the creative process, however, I do need to make sure that where I am working is properly setup and comfortable.
- What time of day do you get your best ideas? Is it morning, during the middle of the day, or at night? Of course, during the middle of the day will probably be hard for you because of school, and for me because of work. I have always done my best work at night going into the wee hours of the morning. For some reason, the creative juices seem to flow much better for me then and I can concentrate more clearly while my characters become alive for me. It's almost like I can feel the creative vibrations in the air.
- Noise is definitely a factor. Some people can't work with noise and some people can't work without it. I find the noise of television or conversation a distraction and for the most part like to work with only the sounds of nature creating the background noise. Sometimes, I do like to listen to classical music while I work as well. If you do like noise while you work, then play music or have the television on low sound. The last thing you want to do is to distract yourself from what you are working on.
- Light makes a difference in your concentration factor as well. Do you like the light soft, or bright, or even no light at all? I do the majority of my writing now while looking at a computer screen, so my optimum light is a soft, indirect light. Overhead fluorescent lights tend to bother me, so if I am in a place that has those, I turn them off so I am do not get a headache from the glare that they cause.
- Pay attention to the temperature of your writing area. If it is too cold, or you get too hot, you will start thinking about your comfort, which interrupts your writing process.
- Do you write better with things to eat close to hand or not? I myself like to write with a big mug of tea to the right of my keyboard, within easy reach, so I don't have to think about where the mug is, but can just grab it while I am thinking.
- Make sure that your writing area is well organized. Some people believe that the area should be uncluttered to lead to an uncluttered mind, but others like to have toys around to help them in the creative process. I like to have a few familiar things around me as a stark writing area for me creates a blank mind rather than an uncluttered one.
By the way, all of the above are also good tips for creating a good environment for doing homework as well.
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