Writers are creatures of habit who dwell in the wells of their minds. No thought is ever wasted and no idea is ever too simple or too crazy to be dictated. On special occasions, writers come together and share their findings in ways only they know best. Here are ten things writers have in common.
1. Rainy days.
There is nothing more relaxing yet simultaneously focusing than the sound of rainfall. It is like white noise but better suited for creating the right mood. Pitter-patter is one of my favorite songs from nature's album. It reminds me of a typewriter, capturing language like a raindrop making its signature across the window. A rainy day is a writer's getaway.
2. Ideas are our life source.
Ask both "why?" and "why not?" We make things now as opposed to never. Such is the power of fiction, especially science fiction. Prediction and prevention go hand in hand when it matters. Ideas fuel our creativity but in both a political and nonpolitical sense activism in the arts. Think of all the things yet to be thought of. Even if it has been thought of before, think of how it could be different, how things could be made better. Ideas, like the page, are not made of concrete but fluid water, always able to change its course.
3. Reading is writing.
The more you read, the more you think. The more you think, the more you write. Seeing how a scene is written or how characters' thoughts linger or dialogues trail is indefinitely helpful. Your vocabulary also improves extensively.
4. Don't think.
Ray Bradbury kept a sign in sight whenever he sat down to write that said, "Don't Think." Don't plan every action, every scene, every turning point. Letting words come naturally to the piece you are writing will make it all the more rewarding. Feeling is a great substitute for thinking.
5. Surprising ourselves.
When a writer comes time to sit down and write, they come with almost everything in mind that they set out to capture on the page and then it's all a matter of making it genuine but also better than you last thought of it.
6. Daydream much?
At some point in our day, an idea catches us off guard and we write down the thought in a hurry so that we don't forget it so soon. Even ideas we haven't gotten to yet or the ones that are left on the back burner for later use are grabbing at our attention, waiting to be written.
7. Something is better than nothing.
Writer's block isn't a blockade as much as it is a hurdle; it can be overcome. There's plenty of ways to do away with it. Anne Lamotte's "Bird by Bird" suggests reading can help, writing a small note unrelated to the previous writing, or doing something entirely different. Avert your efforts towards something rather than nothing.
8. Rituals keep us grounded.
Whether meeting a quota of words or reading a book in a week, what we do best is what we know best. Lopsided stacks and pencils all over sharpened down to the eraser may look like insanity to Martha Stewart, but to us it makes all the sense in the world. Call it controlled chaos. Albert Einstein said it best: "If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign of?"
9. Characters are always near.
No really, we think of our characters like we think of certain people we have the pleasure to meet in our lives. Everything we hear or see will in some way be written as a scene, thought, or character. Tolkien's orcs were inspired by the Germans during World War II. Your words are our precious.
Anything is something which is better than nothing. How you'll know if it's good is by getting it down onto the page. The fact that you can write about anything is an exciting endeavor. Whatever you write is from you, to you, for now. No one's passing judgement for that first draft; that's why drafts are numbered. Your voice is yours to share.
Writers are peculiar people.