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#FirstDraft60 Day 29: Sunday Reflections–Your Physical & Mental Writing Spaces #amwriting #nanoprep

Sunday, October 30, 2016

#FirstDraft60 | KayeDacus.comOn Sundays, we take a moment to step back and think about our writing from a wider view. Below the schedule for the upcoming week are questions to help you reflect on what you’ve done up to this point—feel free to answer them here with as much or little detail as you’d like; or answer them on your own blog or on Facebook. Or just write the answers down in a private journal or notebook. The important thing is to actually think through and write down your answers.

fd60-week-5
Reflections for Day 29

A. What is your physical writing space?

  1. Where is your physical writing space? What are its boundaries? Have you made it a “sacred” space (i.e., do others in your household know not to disturb you when you are working in that space)?
  2. Is your writing space distraction-free? Are the surfaces free of clutter? Is it clean? Is there anything in or about the physical space that could be or become a distraction for you if you find yourself having difficulty focusing on writing?
  3. What can you make sure you do have in your physical writing space that will assist you in being able to focus and not get distracted?

B. What is your mental writing space?

  1. What time of day can you best focus on writing?
  2. What time of day to you feel most creative?
  3. What type of environment is least distracting to your mind? Do you need quiet? Music? Soft lighting? Bright light? Do you get less distracted when you’re sitting upright in an office chair at a desk, or with a lapdesk slouched down in bed?
  4. What can you do to train yourself to be able to write in any environment?
  5. What images, sounds, smells, or other factors are relaxing and/or put you in a creative frame of mind?
  6. How can you silence your internal editor and just let the creative side out to play? What Creative exercises could you do for ten or fifteen minutes before your writing time starts in order to get the creative juices flowing?
  7. Have you done enough prep work on your story to start writing with the confidence that you have a clear enough picture of where the story is going that you aren’t going to get “stuck” once you reach a certain point?

I look forward to seeing your answers and will be posting mine soon.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sunday, October 30, 2016 5:15 pm

    My physical and mental space are connected. I don’t have a desk in my apartment, so I use my laptop in the living room, where my husband is watching TV. In order to focus better, I use music to shut out the other sounds. I use a lot of soundtracks and classical music. I find during the drafting stage that I’m dialogue-heavy, and lyrics often mess with the flow of the words. Even I go write with my resident, I’ll have music with me. Writing in a hallway or lobby can be noisy with other residents walking back and forth.

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  2. Sunday, October 30, 2016 6:25 pm

    A. What is your physical writing space?

    1. Where is your physical writing space? What are its boundaries? Have you made it a “sacred” space (i.e., do others in your household know not to disturb you when you are working in that space)?
    I have so many different writing spaces that I can’t claim to have one main space, though I’d have to say that with my laptop in my recliner is probably where I wrote the bulk of most of my published books. I used to write in bed at night, and one of my goals for this challenge is to do that again each night.

    2. Is your writing space distraction-free? Are the surfaces free of clutter? Is it clean? Is there anything in or about the physical space that could be or become a distraction for you if you find yourself having difficulty focusing on writing?
    I’m one of those (**squirrel**)
    I’m one of those people (**shiny object**)
    I’m one of those people who (**interesting historical tidbit that has nothing to do with my story**)

    I think you get the picture. I don’t know that there is any place that would be totally distraction-free for me. However, recognizing that about myself means that a “distraction-free writing space” is more mental than physical. It’s not allowing myself to become distracted. And like @wickedmichelle, I tend to use instrumental soundtrack music as a kind of white-noise to drown out auditory distractions. I try to find music that’s similar in tone and mood to what I’m writing, too, which helps me focus.

    3. What can you make sure you do have in your physical writing space that will assist you in being able to focus and not get distracted?
    Because I know work from home, my desk is pretty well clutter-free (you may not think so from that image, but the little doodads on the raised platforms of the desk don’t bother me because they don’t get in the way. I need to get the rest of the room straightened up—especially the bed, because it makes a great extra surface for laying out story-related research/ideas since it blocks the only wall I had in the house for doing it vertically.

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  3. Sunday, October 30, 2016 6:46 pm

    B. What is your mental writing space?

    1. What time of day can you best focus on writing?
    2. What time of day to you feel most creative?

    Usually late at night, which is why I’m going to add in at least an hour of in-bed writing during November. That used to be my most prolific and creative writing time, especially back during the years when I was working full-time, going to school part-time, an officer with a national writing organization, and heavily involved in church (choir, leading/teaching the Singles group, etc.). It was the only “me” time I had. Now that I work from home and don’t really have any outside activities, I have too much “me” time. I’m hoping to be able to recapture the feeling that those late-night sessions gave me back then.

    3. What type of environment is least distracting to your mind? Do you need quiet? Music? Soft lighting? Bright light? Do you get less distracted when you’re sitting upright in an office chair at a desk, or with a lapdesk slouched down in bed?
    Noise is distracting to me—as are visual elements. Which is why it’s strange that for me, the best place to do 1k1hr writing sprints is somewhere like Starbucks or Panera. But I guess it’s because it forces me to concentrate only on the story. Being at home is far too much of a distraction for me. So that’s why sitting in the bed, in a dark room late at night, with the glow of the laptop pretty much drowning out being able to see anything else used to work so well for me.

    4. What can you do to train yourself to be able to write in any environment?
    Being on deadline for so many years taught me to be able to write anywhere. It’s just a matter of knowing how to focus more than anything else. Oh, and always having writing materials on hand.

    5. What images, sounds, smells, or other factors are relaxing and/or put you in a creative frame of mind?
    I like to have easy access to images of my character templates. And when I’m writing a historical setting (as I am for this challenge) images of settings and costumes. I set up a playlist of music that fits the theme/mood of the story I’m writing (so lots of soundtracks from things like Jane Austen miniseries and sea-faring films—not so much from Pirates of the Caribbean as when I was writing the Ransome series, but most of it is the same.). I’ve also found that guided-brainstorming (choosing one idea/story concern to think about) while doing something physical—such as walking, cleaning, exercising, etc.—can really help.

    6. How can you silence your internal editor and just let the creative side out to play? What Creative exercises could you do for ten or fifteen minutes before your writing time starts in order to get the creative juices flowing?
    This will be my biggest challenge. One of the main reasons I haven’t written for several years, and why I was having trouble the beginning of this year in trying to get back into writing is because when I was on deadline, I had to listen to the internal editor—because I wasn’t going to have enough time for a second draft/revision. My “first draft” had to be the “final draft.” I just have to keep reminding myself that I have the time and luxury to be able to go back and fix it this time.

    7. Have you done enough prep work on your story to start writing with the confidence that you have a clear enough picture of where the story is going that you aren’t going to get “stuck” once you reach a certain point?
    I’m still elbows-deep in prep work—I’ve just about finished all of the (very complex) backstory for my characters. My heroine still doesn’t have a real name, though I have been able to use her spy code-name, White Falcon, as I’ve written about her in the timeline/backstory. So that’s something. Now I need to dig in to the premise, outline, and summaries to make sure I know where the story is going before I start writing on Tuesday.

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  4. Shirley Taylor permalink
    Monday, October 31, 2016 10:43 am

    A. What is your physical writing space?

    1. Where is your physical writing space? What are its boundaries? Have you made it a “sacred” space (i.e., do others in your household know not to disturb you when you are working in that space)?
    Our desktop is in the corner of our living room…it’s a tiny spot where nothing else fit well at the time and it still makes the most sense 95% of the time. It faces directly away from the TV and is between the bathroom and dining room. It’s probably not a very “sacred” place, I will have to remind people the next few days that I’m writing if they try chattering at me while I’m writing in an effort to make it so – my toddler Yvaine is a slightly different story however as she’s in a strong ‘no is just a game to me’ phase.

    2. Is your writing space distraction-free? Are the surfaces free of clutter? Is it clean? Is there anything in or about the physical space that could be or become a distraction for you if you find yourself having difficulty focusing on writing?
    If I’m writing at the computer as I hope to be then it’s 50-50 distraction-free…the internet temptation poses a large procrastination distraction for me (because I’m a PROcrastinator 😉 ). Also, the swivel chair does allow me to turn and be distracted by what’s on the TV plus all the usual noise of a family in a living room…which is why I’ve chosen the writing time I did so as to minimize those issues. It’s cluttered but only on the desk shelving, the desk surface where the keyboard sits is clean, nothing is in my way.

    3. What can you make sure you do have in your physical writing space that will assist you in being able to focus and not get distracted?
    I’m pretty able to tune out my toddler’s favorite shows (lately that’s Max and Ruby) but if I write during my set aside writing time then hopefully (providing my toddler doesn’t wake up early) the TV won’t even be on and therefore not a distraction. Just the hum of our pellet stove and maybe some music…like Enya or classical etc…even though music with lyrics stirs my creativity it’s a writing distraction as I always want to sing along.

    B. What is your mental writing space?

    What time of day can you best focus on writing?
    In the early am (7:30 to 9:30 or so)

    What time of day to you feel most creative?
    I’m a natural night owl so creativity has always come more naturally late at night (it’s my back up writing time if my “alone” time in the morning isn’t working then I’ll switch to “alone” time late at night instead). I’ve chosen morning simply because of a need to be functional with a toddler to care for and it’s more guaranteed alone time than night time is.

    What type of environment is least distracting to your mind? Do you need quiet? Music? Soft lighting? Bright light? Do you get less distracted when you’re sitting upright in an office chair at a desk, or with a lapdesk slouched down in bed?
    I honestly don’t know anymore.
    When I wrote in my teens it was in my “library” (another bedroom next to mine that I acquired and put in a reading chair, stereo, desk, word processor, all my books and postered the remaining bits of wall with creative/artsy and “RWT” images) and I’d sit in the reading chair with my lap quilt and write long-hand in a spiral notebook.
    Later, after I had my first daughter, I had a desk (again set up in a living room but in a spot where the TV wasn’t easily visible) and I had my favorite re-read books on the desk shelf above the monitor and the immediate surrounding wall postered with mini Josephine Wall calendar pictures.
    Now, in my mind’s eye, when I think of me writing, I picture sitting by the fire in a comfy chair near a lamp with a notebook and pen and some soft music playing and I’m alone…so actually writing at a computer may not work for me but only trial and error will tell for sure.

    What can you do to train yourself to be able to write in any environment?
    I need to go into “reading” mode – it’s basically where I get so into a book that I am able to tune out pretty much everything except the words I’m immersed in and I see no reason this can’t apply to writing…however, not sure how I could “train” myself to be able to get in this zone in any environment.

    What images, sounds, smells, or other factors are relaxing and/or put you in a creative frame of mind? Josephine Wall paintings (essentially a complete story within a single image – very creatively inspiring) and pictures of exotic locations; music – lyrical and instrumental; smells I’m not sure about, don’t think I’ve consciously focused on this when I’m feeling creative; not silence perse but being alone is helpful to my creativity as I find people my biggest distraction – I’m not an overly social person being a huge introvert but when they’re present I have a hard time doing things that could be perceived as rude or antisocial (like playing/texting on my phone, etc)…my family wouldn’t find this rude especially since I more often than not have my nose in a book, I just feel like it is…comes from being raised by older generation parents I guess. lol

    How can you silence your internal editor and just let the creative side out to play? What Creative exercises could you do for ten or fifteen minutes before your writing time starts in order to get the creative juices flowing?
    My internal editor doesn’t come out as much when I long-hand simply because it lacks the easy ‘click, delete, retype’ ability that comes with pen ink…so I may not be doing my writing at a computer, we’ll see. I think I would find a mini mind-map on a scene or two I am hoping to write might get those creative juices flowing more easily/quickly.

    Have you done enough prep work on your story to start writing with the confidence that you have a clear enough picture of where the story is going that you aren’t going to get “stuck” once you reach a certain point?
    Mostly…I have one more prep item to catch up on (I think, must check) and I have some research to do today, mainly on fashion because I discovered my 14 year setting jump has seriously altered fashion and while visually I’m now set I need to find out how it was described so I can borrow those descriptive words – like Gigot sleeves…I don’t know what Gigot actually means but I now picture the monstrously puffy sleeves from 1832! lol And perlerine (which apparently gets a red squiggly line) lace around collars and over shoulders was a thing too…but I don’t know how the waists and skirts were described etc…I want to be able to evoke the right image to my readers…definitely something I can edit later but I need enough to be able to know how a basic description I can flesh out later. Also want to do a bit more setting research in terms of places etc…mainly to check for any 1818-1832 changes to the ones I’m using. lol 🙂

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