Today’s (June 20) question in the 30-day Challenge is What do you use to immerse yourself in a story (music, visuals, etc.)?
The DIYMFA had a really good blog post about setting the mood for optimal writing. I’m going to focus on the first: writing rituals.
How I maintain my connection to my characters and story from one writing session to the next is through rereading the earlier parts of the story already written, and looking back through my notes or the original inspiration material.
This creates a gradual immersion and if successful can lead to hours of writing. Definitely my preferred and ideal situation. However, it also means that external disruptions to this early process can kill an entire planned writing session.
1. closing off mental space
I don’t have a home office or even a room where I can close the door to write. I generally write with a pad/pen and laptop sitting in my reading chair in my home library. I do signal to others that I’m spending time writing with over-the ear-headphones. I’m usually not listening to music but just the appearance that I am means everyone turns around and walks away if they were seeking me out. I try hard not to look up but my body sense usually knows when someone is nearby, so this is only moderately successful.
2. have a writing plan
I am not a pantser. I can’t be. With my writing time and space limited, and such a deep process for getting into writing “mode,” if I didn’t have a plan, even if it’s just a summary of the story idea and scenes. I’d never know what my writing session should focus on and I’d drift around creatively. This seldom ends with any writing getting done.
Therefore, in the earliest stages of all my story ideas, I have spent time fleshing out that idea, the characters, the setting, and the conflicts, into a summary that gets pretty detailed. I have even put those notes into comments on chapter numbers as a way to say “well, I’m working on Chapter 2 here, what points did I plan but haven’t brought up yet?” This is also useful for beta readers. They have a sense of what’s expected to be included and can tell me if I did or didn’t.