my pre-writing routine

Writing, for me, is an all senses involved process. Something about having the right surroundings while writing seems to make a difference.

It might sound silly, but I believe that establishing a consistent environment helps me write better (or at least longer). I don’t know if there’s any fancy psychology behind it, but my pre-writing routing seems to prep my brain and activate those creative writing pathways.

I know that if all of these things are in place, I can expect some good writing.

1. Noise-Cancelling Head Phones

These are a LIFE SAVER! Dealing with distractions is often the most difficult part of writing. Something as simple as roommates coming/going, TVs turning on/off, or someone cooking in the nearby kitchen can easily pull my focus.

Also, I live with a musician… Like any creative, inspiration comes at all hours, and that means music, music, and more music. Unfortunately, instruments don’t always have quieting capabilities, and musical distractions can come at any time (or tone).

Noise-cancelling headphones make my life easier. Just putting those on significantly reduces any surrounding noise and gives me the quiet I need to write.

I did my research, and I encourage you to do yours as well. I settled on top of the line Bose headphones and don’t regret it. These are incredibly comfortable, look impressive, and get the job done. I had the money to invest at the time, but there are more affordable options as well.

I will admit, they were my first choice mostly because Aaron Rodgers recommended them. As any good Packer fan would do, I trusted his advice.

2. The Perfect Playlist

Now, finding the perfect writing playlist is no easy task. I often switch between quite a few depending on my mood. Chill, acoustic, or even electronic music tend to be my favorites. And, I always stick with Spotify.

Every once in awhile, I’ll get a little crazy and throw in some 80s pop. How can you not write better with Whitney Houston singing you on?? Jazz and RB have been newer additions to my writing groove, but I’m liking their influence. Below are a few of my regulars.

Feel Good Dinner, All out 80s, Acoustic Covers, Daily Lift

3. Writing Juice

I already wrote a lovely post about my chai obsession. You can read all about it there. But, having that sweet latte somehow makes the words come easier.

4. Cozy Blanket

Because, it’s winter. My room gets a little chilly, and I’m unwilling to increase my utility bill just for the sake of comfort. A nice cozy blanket solves the problem and keeps my poor fingers from getting to cold.

These cozy blankets often migrate around the house with me as a I move from desk to couch to chair. I wonder if they feel homeless traveling around so much?

5. Ambience

I don’t know if I have a sensitive sense of smell, or if I simply like things to smell pleasant all the time. Bad breath is my biggest fear, and you’ll always find mints nearby. Body odor is a close second, but usually regular showering takes care of that.

My last step before writing is lighting my candle. Why its scent makes me write better? I honestly have no idea. It just does. Maybe it triggers my brain, Pavlovian style?

It’s been a difficult journey to finding this candle. It’s easy to like a candle’s smell when you’re in the store, but having that same smell fill your apartment doesn’t always have the same affect. After several months of looking, I finally found my preferred scent. Apparently, as the three barely used candles can attest, it’s not floral.

Now, looking at my routine all written out, it does seem a bit silly. I’ll admit, I don’t do all of these things all of the time. But, on Saturday mornings when they do all align, they produce a very happy writer.

Do you have any quirky pre-writing routines? What helps you get in the creative mood?

– Aubrey Alene


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