These tools aren’t the kind of thing you would keep inside of a toolkit, in fact you don’t even need an actual toolkit. But these tools, which have physical affects on your body and mind, are important when it comes to the craft of writing, as well as other arts.
In part one, I covered using notebooks, books to read, and word processing programs to ease the creative process. In this part I’ll talk about music, drinks, and snacks; music may not seem very physical, but it can and will affect you.
This is where things get fun.
There are so many different kinds of music. And so there is a song for every scene, a melody for every melodramatic character, a harmony for all the hair raising plot twists. The music you listen to can be fun and happy, or somber and sad.
Music can make you feel nostalgic, or in love, or angry. And you can use this to your advantage to write emotional scenes confidently, while feeling the emotions you’re writing, at a level you never have before.
You can listen to any kind of music you’d like to listen to while you write, but my personal preference is a soundtrack from a video game. Video game soundtracks are specifically designed to keep you focused on the task at hand, which would be the game they’re designed for. But you can use this to your advantage, and focus more effectively on your writing.
The nice thing about video game soundtracks is that they come in all sorts of styles. So it doesn’t matter if you like jazz or heavy metal, indie or rap. There’s a well designed video game soundtrack that’ll suit your needs.
You can even mix and match, and make playlists that have battle music for action, and calm ambient music for scenes that have less conflict.
Music won’t just help you focus on your writing because of nifty sound design. It can also help you block out distractions or calm you down when you’re feeling stressed.
It’s very important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Unfortunately, many people don’t. Although all of the side effects of dehydration are bad, the worse effects for writers would have to be sleepiness, headaches, and dizziness, as all of those prevent effective writing.
There are many healthy beverages that you can enjoy while curled up with a notepad in your lap or sitting in front of a computer screen. Water is usually the first that comes to mind, but if you’re like me and you don’t like the taste of water, then I would suggest a nice tea.
One of my favorite teas to drink when I need to be productive is green tea. It has caffeine to help boost your energy, but not as much as coffee does, so you don’t get jittery side effects. It also contains an amino acid called L-theanine which increases dopamine and the production of alpha waves in the brain.
I also like to drink black teas and peppermint teas while working. Studies have shown that black teas help improve alertness and attention levels. Peppermint tea contains menthol which reduces stress, allowing me to write with less inhibition.
One of the nice things about tea is that there is a type of tea for every occasion or taste. And if it’s too hot to drink a warm beverage, iced tea is a fun way to stay refreshed.
Staying hydrated is important, but it’s also important to have enough nourishment throughout the day. This is where snacks come into play. The best thing about snack food is that there are all different kinds, from healthy to junky, sweet to salty, and light to hefty.
If you’re a morning writer, a few light snacks spread out evenly in your writing sessions will help you maintain energy levels, while keeping heavy digestion from bogging you down. If you’re writing in the evenings, try something savory or spicy to prevent bed-time cravings and avoid anything with caffeine.
Having an amazing writing day and want to keep yourself going for even longer? Promise yourself a special treat if you reach a certain word goal.
If you have an energizing snack and a cup of tea on a table beside you, and you’re listening to a motivating video game soundtrack, you’ll have no trouble reaching your word goals. All of these tools, when used in combination, are incredibly powerful.
That being said, they aren’t the only tools you’ll every want. If it’s more serious tools that you need, try part one of this blog post, which covers notebooks, books to read, and word processing programs.
If you’re looking for mental tools, I have 6 Tools Every Writer Should Have In Their Mental Toolkit, which is also broken up into two parts. Part one has ideas, inspiration, and motivation. Part two has support, a place to write, and a place to explore.