This is the second part of 6 Tools Every Writer Should Have In Their Mental Toolkit. In the first part of this topic we went over ideas, inspiration, and motivation, as well as their differences, and how to find them. In this part I’ll be covering support, a place to write, and a place to explore. While the latter two are very physical things, I’ll be considering the affects they have on mental attitude.
Support. Support is arguably a necessity, no matter what one is doing. If that’s writing, we need support from friends, family, other writers, and/or online groups. Even if it’s only one person giving it to us, it is needed and they are needed. Be it some kind words, a strong cup of coffee, or telling us we should rest after pushing ourselves too hard, support often comes in small packages that are delivered regularly. Because of that, it tends to get taken for granted.
If you find yourself needing support, I suggest going to those closest to you, your friends or family. If you can’t get support from them, see if there are any local writing groups, or check online communities. Just don’t expect too much from those who are there in your everyday life. They probably won’t excuse you from doing any housework for the next 6 months because you’re writing a novel. But they’ll probably listen to you vent about problems, give you ideas, prepare you the occasional cup of coffee or tea, and encourage you when the going gets tough.
During your writing process, and at the end of it, make sure to show your gratitude to those who have supported you. They’ll be more likely to support you in the future, and will be happy to do so. Some nice ways to show how thankful you are:
- Write them a poem
- Make a thank you card
- Take them out for a cup of coffee
- Tell them how much their support means to you
A place to write. Yes, this is very physical. But it can, and will, affect you mentally, so it’s something to keep in mind. A good place to write is somewhere where you can easily focus. A great place to write will also have a facility nearby, where you can get water, tea, or coffee. An amazing place to write will have you wanting to return to it often. For some this is their home office, for others it’s a café or a library.
Personally, there are only two places where I can write well in my home. My preferred place is sitting cross-legged in the middle of my bed, with my laptop placed in front of me. The other place is the living room, specifically the red and white chair placed beside the window. I also cannot write without some ambient music, which is usually from the soundtrack of one of my favorite video games.
Whenever I’m in one of those places, with some music and an open document, the words just come out. They may not be the best words, and sometimes they take a long time to come out, but it is ten times easier than if I had been writing elsewhere. I feel relaxed and safe, which allows me to write without much inhibition. I’m happy when I can write while feeling safe, where I don’t have to worry about many distractions. Sure, someone may ask me to do something for them, or a cat may start meowing for food. But because I want to return to my safe haven, I can do so easily. If I didn’t want to return, it would not be so easy.
A place to explore. More specifically, a place to explore your thoughts and ideas, to visualize characters and to plan out scenes, before you write them down. A place where you can just let your mind wander and not have to feel stressed out or guilty about it. A place where plot twists are planned, and conclusions are made. Alliances are formed, and enemies battle…
A good place for exploring will have you feeling relaxed. It’s hard to let your mind wander when you’re feeling stressed or tense. I think that a couple of popular places for exploring are the shower and our beds, especially when we’re tired. It makes sense, as both places can provide deep relaxation, which allows for a lot of daydreaming and mind wandering to happen, without much inhibition or tension.
I have a few places where I let my mind wander and I think about possible plot scenarios, character quirks, and world building tidbits. The one that I go to most often is my dining room table. I prefer to write in the mornings and the early afternoon, and I don’t like writing on an empty stomach. I’m often at the dining room table right before my writing sessions, and I like to use that time to think about what’s going to happen when I do sit down and start typing. If you find a place where you can explore your thoughts easily, visit it often. It’s worth it.
If you would like to share about your favorite places to write or explore, or about how you get support, feel free to leave a comment. If you haven’t already, I suggest you read the first part of this topic. Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back next Sunday with a new blog post.