Thoughts on a Sunday Morning #2

Another lazy morning, another beautiful day. I’m sitting in a chair by the open window and a cool breeze is coming in, bringing all the smells of spring with it. I wanted to share something small, but something that bears a lot of weight with it for writers.

The importance of writing things down, that is.

Now, that seems obvious. As writers, this is something we do constantly. What I’m referring to, though, is writing things down immediately. As soon as they enter your head. From time to time lines or ideas drift into our knowing, uninvited but not unwelcome. More often than not it is these random thoughts which I find most inspiring, rather than the stuff I write when I’m focusing on writing.

For example, just this morning I was cleaning up around the house, and a line popped into my head without my anticipation: “pray the lock right off the church door.” I don’t know where that came from, but there’s something in there that has caught my attention.

I write these lines down as soon as I can, because if I don’t do it right away they’re gone. Forgotten. A maybe it was a little seed of a poem, or that description that my prose has been missing. Either way, if you don’t reach out and grab it right away, it’s lost. Inspiration is hard to come by, so it’s be a shame to see those little freebies go to waste.

On a side note, happy mother’s day to all you mothers, moms and mommas out there. Have that second cup of coffee, read a book. Relax, if you can.

That’s all for now. Happy writing.

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Whistle while you work: Thoughts on music and writing

People, and writers especially, tend to have quirks. Some of us find it hard to work unless the conditions are just right. When it comes to writing, sometimes extra attention paid to little details in our environment can make the process a little easier. It might seem bizarre to somebody who hasn’t spent their time authoring a story or poem, or even a song, that sometimes a room can be too quiet to work in.

For me, listening to music doesn’t seem to help all that much. I’m too easily distracted, and perhaps that comes from being a musician myself. I can’t help but be drawn in by lyrics and my own thoughts get put on pause. Instrumental music is better – acoustic arrangements, classical or jazz guitar for me – but it still tends to draw me out of the creative process, rather than ease me into it.

What I have found to be helpful – especially for longer projects – is noise. Not radio, not music, but straight-up background noise. People talking. Wind. Rain. Cars driving. Crowds. Busy places. It’s something about being alone in a coffee house, park, or library that I really find inspiring. It can also be distracting, but in an entirely different way. Sometimes I catch snippets of people’s conversations, or even them talking to themselves. Other times the smells of food or dusty books or a warm breeze will put me in the scene I’m writing. There’s something about the noise in those places that helps me to concentrate, even though I feel like it should have opposite effect. If I can’t put myself in those situations physically, I’ll load up a Youtube video of ambient noise that varies depending on the mood I’m in or the piece I’m writing. Anything to break the silence and put me in that environment.

For me, it’s the music of everyday life that helps the most. Being around people while still being in my own little world. Maybe it’s simply that sitting with a laptop in a library or cafe makes me want to look busy, and if that truly is the case – what the hell? It’s working.

Cheers