In order to write I need to minimize distraction and supply my body with just the right chemicals to remain awake and alert but not put me on a constant roller coaster of ebbing and flowing energy. I need to surround myself inwardly and outwardly with positive vibes. So here is my list of writer essentials that no one in particular asked for.
1) Hair band or turban or maximum strength DEP gel.
Any hair long enough to chew on or bangs long enough to tickle your eyes is your worst enemy. Because of extensive metrosexual training in Japan and my Asian background I am one of the only straight men on the planet who can pull off a hairband made for a thirteen year old girl. I can even work a pink one with a ribbon on it. I’m just sayin’. If you’re a chick this part is easy but for dudes who aren’t blessed with my gift, I suggest a doo rag, a bandana, or a ballcap turned backwards.
For when the soundtrack of life is more distracting than the droning tones of The Dark Knight original score. I tend to stay away from stuff with a dance beat, although I suppose if I ever get around to writing that disco movie of mine I’ll reconsider. I think my favorite album to listen to while writing is Feist’s The Reminder. Radiohead’s more electronic stuff also makes a nice buzz that takes me somewhere but doesn’t take me away from what’s in front of me. Actual results may vary.
I dig the dew but it’s unique combination of yellowish green crack and cocaine can do a number on me. So sometimes I’ll make do with iced tea or a coke. The key to regulating how much of this shit I drink is adding ice cubes to the mix. Not only do the cubes dilute the potency but they also act as a deterrent if you forgo sipping through a straw. my teeth get close for a big long drag and “ouchies, cold!” Never underestimate the power of some
coke in your jack jack in your coke. Actually I like a little rum. Jack Daniels makes you crazy. Jeff Daniels too. Stay away from Milk Money.
You need to be connected. No writer in this day and age has a shelf of reference manuals. All of that is just a finger tap away now. What happens to writers in this modern age is that we become like people who clean up their house. We start looking through the boxes we’re meant to just move and eventually we are consumed by nostalgia for the past buried up to our head in old comic books and magazines. The internet will kill your writing. Facebook is not a motivator. You need to get that idea out of your head now. The best thing you will ever do is turn your back on Facebook until you’re done with the work. whatever you were going to do with Facebook, do it in blog form. At least then it’s writing and you’re using a voice. Facebook is just ego, it’s not a voice. It’s not writing. Stop it. Unless of course, you’re writing a book about Facebook. News Flash! That’s already been done.
My personal choice is my room. I can control the influences there. All the details of your creative writing project should be done by the time you get to the actual writing stage. You should have notes and charts and indecipherable scribbles about conspiracies on greasy napkins galore. I can’t speak for everyone but I will anyway. If you go to a busy cafe to write, you will write about people in a cafe and you will invariably think it’s oh so clever. No real writing is ever done this way. I have a greasy napkin here detailing the vast conspiracy hatched by the Starbucks corporation to convince writers that coffee houses or trendy grocery store cafes are where writers get writing done. THIS IS A LIE. THE CAKE IS A LIE. Real writing is done in moderately well lit, hotel rooms, cabins in the woods, and studies. Sometimes in monasteries. Every movie about writing, pre-the 1980s, shows the writers staying in hotel rooms and cabins in the woods all in an effort to control their influences, drink themselves stupid, and look badass. Also writing outside is stupid. You’re hot. You’re uncomfortable. You’re covered in bugs. You’re looking at a child playing with a dog and thinking to yourself how you used to have a dog and you wonder what happened to that dog the night it ran away when you’re supposed to be writing the heart pounding finale to your international spy novel! Do the cafe thing, and the park thing, and the fucking common room in the dorm thing before you sit down to write. Then be a cool badass motherfucker and get a room to write the thing.
6) Grooming Habits
I have this idyllic image of an unshaven shabby, smelly, hungover Stephen King emerging from his writer’s cave holding aloft the manuscript for IT and roaring triumphantly like a bear just awakened from hibernation. But that doesn’t work for me. In my opinion you can’t let those everyday life things go without losing part of that natural drive to go out and conquer the world. You need to shave eventually. Whether it’s your beard or your legs or your back hair. An ape never wrote an award winning screenplay. You need to shower occasionally. Just to remind yourself that there’s a human being under the rank stink of moldy pizza boxes. My dad always used to tell me, take a shower you’ll feel better. While that advice didn’t work when I broke my ankle and had to wear a cast, it does apply to getting a jump on the day.
You need to wear clothes. Unless you’re writing about nudists. Also it would be wise to sometimes wear actual pants and not pajamas or a sleep shirt. Treat it like a job not a slumber party.
Of course, this is just what works for me. I’m right… but don’t that stop you from doing the wrong thing if it works better for you.