As a writer, the only thing you really need is a pen and a piece of paper (or your laptop if you’re more high tech). By far it’s the cheapest addiction known to man.
But, my dear fellow writers, we need more than just ink to survive. Part of the writing life is listening to yourself and figuring out what you need to reach a balance between being consumed by art and being, well, a normal functioning person. Let’s face it, if there is a balance your art is better. Too much one way or the other and, well, disaster.
Here are seven things that all writers need that are not writing related (gasp!) to help with the balancing act.
1. A walk
I had an advisor once who said to take a walk in the middle of your writing session. I wasn’t sure about this piece of advice since, if I’m in the middle of my session, I have found some precious time to write. What I think she meant is that you need to move around and talking a walk, especially if you get tried during your writing session, is a great way to get the juices flowing.
There’s something about moving around that clears the cobwebs from the brain. But it’s not just walking. Overall general exercise is fantastic for the writer. Clarity comes when the endorphins rush the brain and that plot point you’ve been trying to work out at your desk becomes way clearer.
2. A hobby
Talking about spending time away from the desk, think about getting a hobby. Writing is not a hobby, its a way of life but if you have something else challenging your mind in a different way, it bring not only perspective but also make you a well rounded writer. Why? Writers have to experience to write. Otherwise, it’s just guessing.
3. Lots o’ candles
This is my favorite. You’ve probably read how I use the sense of smell to get into a scene. For example, if I know a scene will take place in a forest I look for the appropriate candle scent or if I know a character will be baking in the background I’ll find a birthday cake smell. Scent can help the description in a scene, even if the scent isn’t used. It’s about getting the writer in the place where the scene is so they can get the reader there.
I tend to stock up on candles during sales at Bath and Body Works. Thankfully, friends have also supplied me with candles.
Music is another way a writer can get into a scene or story. I like to make a soundtrack for a scene based on emotions. I ask myself: What is the emotion I want to end the scene with, the money thought that will make my words resonate with my reader? I approach the soundtrack using that question. I also have playlists for characters based on the journey they will take through the novel or short story.
Be careful though. This isn’t a playlist for you but for your character or your scene so chose accordingly.
5. A vacation
We all need one but it doesn’t have to be something that will break your bank. A vacation could be a vacation from your writing, a dedicated amount of time to step away from the laptop and do something else for awhile. Vacations are important because, again, you come back to the piece recharged and ready to tackle the scene in chapter five that has given you nightmares. (Not that I would know anything about that.)
There you go! Five items that writers NEED. And I saying seriously need, not just should have. So go forth, get, and create!