Creative Writing & Setting

When it comes to creative writing, I require lots of mental freedom where stress is at a minimum. Then I can devote my mental faculties to the stories I want to write. This is particularly important for my first draft to the extent that I even need a stream of consciousness approach.

The Early Bird Gets the… Pencil?

Hence one of the main reasons why I like to wake up early in the morning (at 5:00 AM if I’ve gone to bed just before midnight) and write. This early, my mind is fresh while my body is tired. I’m able keep my mind clear and focused, picking up on the river of thoughts and ideas flowing through me and into my fingers, moving the pencil along the A4 notebook and transforming them into words. I love writing by longhand for my first draft. Once I start, I keep going – no editing, no rereading, no thinking – just writing until I’m depleted. This ‘free writing’ process as it is called, can last anywhere between one to three hours – my average is two and a half hours.

I can end up writing anything from flash fiction to short stories (or a part of them). Some mornings catch me completely off guard where I write about a subject or even a genre that I wouldn’t expect myself to write about at all. Sometimes I even write fiction that is plot based and what I later regard to be part of an excerpt for something much bigger (obviously… duh!). But the process is invigorating with much raw material being produced. All in all, at the end of a week, there’s always enough material to extract for writing a further draft. I can’t help but feel rich with all the ideas and possibilities that open up through this creative process.

My Space/Time Continuum 

I do what I can to keep my stress level at a minimum. Right now, I’m overlooking the fact that this is going to be a chaotic month – moving house, a long weekend in Germany (preplanned) and a couple of essays with deadlines – by focusing on the outcome of having a bigger, more peaceful apartment with a separate working room where I can do all of my writing.

At present, I live in a small studio apartment with my partner and it’s literally next to one of the busiest intersections in the city. Our new apartment, on the outskirts of the city, has two extra rooms and the street is lined up with trees. I’ll finally have my little bubble where I can be creative and productive in. My own space and time. And I’m happy again just thinking about it.

So I might not be passing by you as I frequently do and engage you with your content, but at least you know why. And one more thing, if you’re anything like me and love books instead of an eReader, then I can assure you that moving is literally a ‘pain in the rear’!



20 thoughts on “Creative Writing & Setting

  1. Interesting. I too find it difficult to do much writing at home, as my wife and I currently live in a small 1-bedroom basement suite, and I often struggle to write when I’m not in isolation; having company keeps me from maintaining my “tunnel vision.” At times, though, I can write successfully in her company. Do you find that having your partner in the apartment helps or hinders your writing, or does their presence have little effect on you?

    1. I love having my partner around after my first draft because she always offers constructive advice, insight and feedback (when I ask for it). But while writing my first draft, I need my solitude – completely. One of the reasons I’m looking forward to the move is being able to create that solitude in my own room when needed 😉

      1. Absolutely! My wife was the first person I hashed out my ideas with for my novel and was the first to read the beginning chapters. There’s a significant element of trust in those relationships, eh? Enjoy your new room!

  2. Thanks for sharing our writing process. I tend to forget to “free” myself during that first stage. I’m all about tweaking my stuff and then I just get discouraged because the product looks like crap. I think I’m cheating myself out of that first writing frenzy when the point is just to get stuff down on paper, no matter what it looks like.

    1. Yes I completely understand. I used to do that all the time and I still do sometimes. It’s a tedious habit to break but keep at it – the thrill of just writing and getting out what need to be on the page is simply exhilarating. 🙂

  3. I’m also an early morning writer and do it for the same reasons—first thing, uncluttered, et cet. I find that when I get “in the zone,” that time can sometimes warp and I’ll find I’ve gotten work done that sometimes (though not recently!) seemingly should have taken MORE time to get done than actually did. I love those outings. Hadn’t had one in a while, but in writing Sleepwalkers in the late 90s/early 00s, found that seemed to happen fairly frequently. It was cool and I miss those sessions….

    1. Always good to know I’m not alone. The next time people tell me I’m weird or nuts, I’ll tell them ‘maybe, but I’m not the only one’ 😉

      Ah yes, those productive spurts of creativity are amazing. It’s hard to know that you can have them but not all the time… I hope they come back to you soon. One thing I’ve experienced over and over: when you let go of something you want really badly, it’ll come to you – a bit Zenish, but it works for me 🙂

  4. Wow! Did you just say you like to write early in the morning? That’s interesting. One confession: I do as well, though mine is a few hours/hour earlier than yours, especially when I don’t return home late from work (10pm). Where I live in Warri (Nigeria) is quite busy all through the day. Little distractions can make it a lot difficult for me to gain access into my creative world, or cause me to lose focus when I think am settled.

    As for the move, well, it’s not always simple. But this has a lot promise, I believe. Wish you all the very best.

    1. Wow… that’s early alright. It’s amazing what the stillness of the late night or early morning can do to my creativity, I guess e’re on the same boat 🙂

      Thanks for the well wishes.

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