Guest POst: Setting the Stage

Welcome Amie Gibbons!

Setting the Stage to Write

We’ve all heard of sleep hygiene, right? You turn off laptops and phones so the blue light isn’t signaling your brain to stay up kind of stuff, and following bedtime rituals.

That’s basically what I’m hitting on in this post.

But for writing.

I have a big problem sitting my butt down to write and getting into the head space to write. Between author, lawyer, political volunteer, cat mom, and girlfriend, I’ve got stuff a lot of stuff going on. Like we all do. And I get tired more easily these days. (Which I blame on 2020, I refuse to say it’s because I’m getting older.)

Since I’ve been doing Nanowrimo to get Scorpions of the Air done, I’ve been noticing my lack of good writing habits recently, to say the least. So I’ve been working on developing new ones.

Here’s a few tips.

Create a writing ritual. Sit down in a specific place you only go to to write, put on whatever music or background white noise works for you that you only listen to to write, use smells you only have in the air when you’re writing.

You starting to see a pattern? The idea is to program your mind to think it’s writing time when you sit down to write.

First, set the scene physically. Say you have a little spare bedroom, actual office, or just corner of the living room or bedroom you don’t use for other things. Put your laptop, chair, and whatever little desk you use to write there. And only use that spot for writing.

Next up, fleshing out the scene. Since I’m practically blind, sound and smell are really important to me. No really, ask my boyfriend, I’m ridiculously sensitive when it comes to smells. I put my headphones in, because that helps block out the world, and I play the music I’m in the mood for (you might have to pick a specific type, I don’t, but it’s whatever works for you), and I use a little orange essential oils dotted on myself because orange helps invigorate me.

I also have what I call writing drinks. 😊 Yes, I will grab a good drink to help get the juices flowing. For me, it’s mimosas. It’s the orange, the alcohol, and the sugar. It all just works for me. For you, you could have a specific writing drink, snack, meal, whatever. Just something next to you that can go on your tongue to get that sense to join the “Hey, we’re writing here!” party.

You can use and/or put down specific things to help you write. Like when you’re writing, you could have your coffee (because we all need coffee) in a special mug, like one the says, “The Author Is In.” And you could have a stuffed animal or some other toy on your desk that gives you inspiration while you write. Or be wearing something you designate as your writing clothes or accessories. I for instance, will put on my “writing necklace.”

Beyond that, you could also do all this in a sort of ritual (you can get as freaky as you want, nobody is judging) like you get your coffee in your writing mug, put on your writing hat, make your drink, set up your desk with your encouraging stuffed bear or bobble head, dab on the writing scent, and sit down.

Doing the same thing, over and over again, the same way, and sitting down to write, will trigger your brain to think it’s writing time when those things are done.

Don’t believe me? Walk into your bathroom. I’ll give you a moment.

Did you feel like you needed to pee when you got in there? Most people do, because most of the time, the bathroom is used for that. Sure, it’s also used for shower and getting ready in the morning, but those are usually after you pee too. Your brain is programed to think of room with toilet means I need to pee.

This is why doctors recommend you follow some kind of bedtime ritual when you have trouble falling asleep. Because if you only use your bed for sleep, have your lavender essential oils, drink a hot cocoa, and put on meditation music every single night, your brain starts to interpret that as, this means we’re going to sleep now.

So try it for your writing. Get a little OCD and make a ritual for yourself. You’ll be surprised at the results after just a few days of training your brain to associate this ritual with writing.

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk on setting the stage for writing 😊

And, check out my Black Friday Sale!

If this is posted before midnight on the 2nd, my 3 first in series ebooks are all 99 cents.

You want fun, light, paranormal romance mystery, check out Psychic Undercover (with the Undead), first of 6 books out now (the 7th will be out early 2021).

You like more urban fantasy, less romance, with a helping of law and ancient gods, check out The Gods Defense. (I will eventually get back to writing the sequel, I swear.)

And if you like a little horror and religious, could be real demonic creepiness in your urban fantasy, check out Scorpions of the Deep. (Scorpions of the Air coming January of 2021.)

If you prefer the zombie tree versions of books (aka paperbacks, but just saying that is boring) then my Black Friday Zombie Tree Sale is for you!

The 6 books in the Psychic Series, The Gods Defense, the Supernatural Streets Anthology, and The Magical Adventures of Evie Jones are all on sale!

On Amazon, the 6 books in the Psychic Series, Scorpions, and Gods are all $12.99 each (N), Supernatural Streets is $14.99 (S), and Evie Jones is $9.99 (E).

If you buy directly from me before December 15th, not only do I sign them and send with a little surprise gift, but there are deals, and I will enter you into my drawing for a free Psychic Undercover audio book! (Your name is in once for every book you buy. May the odds be ever in your favor.)

Email me at amiegibbons15 [at] gmail.com to order the books you want, and you’ll get your signed copies for the deals below plus shipping.

1 N for $10, 1 S for $12, 1 E for $8

3 N books pack for $27.

1 N, 1 S, 1 E books pack for $27

6 N books pack for $53

4 N, 1 S, 1 E books pack for $53

8 N books pack for $70

6 N, 1 S, 1 E books pack for $70

All 10 books for $85 (34% OFF!)

Thanks for reading. And, as always, happy writing 😊

6 comments

  1. Music (if possible), warm water to drink (I’m strange that way), and if I’m doing it by hand, super-fine point pens and a Circa notepad from Leavenger. I got hooked on the things in grad school, because they are perfect for taking notes in class or in archives. They also work very well for creative writing, because they have a wide, unlined space on the left margin for notes, asides, and other jotting. The quality of the paper is also very good, and I’m not fighting the rings on a spiral-bound notebook. (Wrist brace + wire rings = moments of mild interest)

    I can and do use spiral notebooks, loose-leaf paper, scrap copier paper, whatever is available. But if I have time and some funds, the fancier notepads make organization easier.

    1. What do you use for a super-fine point pen? My current pocket carry is a Zebra Sarassa 0.4 mm gel, my previous a Pilot Juice. I find anything under 0.35mm to be too scratchy, so 0.35 – 0.5 mm is my sweet spot. My faves include 0.35 mm needlepoint Euro Energel, Uni Signo DX or RT, Pilot Juice, and Zebra Sarassa.

      BTW, there are a couple compatible Circa competitors (such as Staples Arc) and you can use your own paper (I have the Staples Arc punch, and am looking at 3D printing my own rings). I’m not a fan of spiral notebooks; the rest of mine are a mix of assorted Daiso notebooks (the Made In Japan or Korea ones – absolute steals, but hard to find now) ,Tomoe River paper ones (mostly from Nanami Paper), and some Rhodia.

      1. Pilot Hi-Tec-C Maica. The tip is .03 mm, felt. I don’t push hard, so it works for me. I also used to use a Pilot fountain pen with a retractable nib, but 1) paper quality led to bleed through and 2) problems with the ink-feed led to my retiring that. My handwriting has been called “Boykin miniscule.”

        I’ll also use a Pilot roller ball, finest they make, if I need to go through carbons.

  2. When at work, because work does not own any IP I create on downtime with my own resources, I use Pilot G-2 .7mm pens (black), and cheap spiral-bound notebooks that I bought 4/$1 on school supply sale. 70 sheet, standard (not college) ruled.

    When at home, to my husband’s despair, I use wordpad to write. Word just…doesn’t work for me. Too many years of writing official reports in Word, and stories in notepad. Probably should retrain my brain, so conversion to print is easier.

  3. But try to keep the ritual as simple as you can because you are also conditioning yourself to NOT write without it.

    1. Excellent point, here. Mine tend to center around things I already do – and recently I have trained myself by sheer force of will to dictate on my commute. It only took a few months to get in the car, and the story comes into my head (most days).

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