I Can’t Sit Down and Write Unless…

By Megan Burkhart, a professional writing student at Taylor University

Humans are creatures of habit. We all have our routines that cannot be switched up or else we’ll spiral into disaster. Yes, we crave homeostasis in our endeavors, whether trivial or monumental.

This does not exclude writing. Though we writers may not think about it, we create a certain atmosphere for ourselves when we sit down to write. It’s a mood we set to get our creative juices flowing, and here are some ways I achieve this writing rhythm.

1. Music

Most writers I know listen to music or have some sort of writing playlist on their Spotify. I am very picky about my writing music, and my playlist is strictly instrumental. My “writerly atmosphere” needs to be epic because it helps put me in my fantasy world. It’s a part of my routine, and my rhythm isn’t quite the same without it. If you want more on music and the writing process, check out the recent blog post by Sarah Gorman on this site.

2. That Special Spot

If guys have their man caves, what does that leave for the ladies? The kitchen table? The living room couch? Not for me. I have a fluffy white chair that sits in my dorm room where I do all my homework, reading, and writing. I hardly ever sit in my desk chair. In fact, I only use the desk chair to prop my feet on when I’m in my fluffy chair. If I’m going to be sitting for a while, I may as well be comfortable, right?

3. An Ongoing Note Sheet

I never know when a new idea will strike or when a breakthrough about my world will take place. This is why I keep the notes app open on my computer while I’m writing. Any small tidbit of information or major epiphany goes there so I can reference it later. A lot of it will come into play during my editing and revising stages, but if I don’t write it down, it’ll be lost in the web of neural pathways forming throughout my brain every second.

Writing can be a frustrating yet extremely rewarding process. We can’t experience that joy of a completed draft until we’ve first struggled through the deep waters of getting it all down on paper. It’s hard to find the rhythm that pumps out the word count, but it’s in there somewhere. Some people theorize that it takes twenty-one days to build a habit. When it comes to writing, I believe it’s always a choice. Choose to write. Choose to make it a priority, and the rhythm will find you of its own accord.

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