Every day you sit down to write. Familiar surroundings, sounds, timing, lighting. A drink by your keyboard. Your phone turned off or at least flipped over. Your fingers hover over the keyboard. Your mind ready to work. Everything is familiar. You’ve been successful at writing in this environment before—you’ll be successful at producing another great piece of writing again. Your habits and environment complement each other and you get to work…
How do you create an environment for creativity? Okay, that was a little redundant; sue me (no, really, please don’t).
Your creative environment is critical to your success and production. Here’s why and how…
How do we remove daily distractions, allowing us to focus on the “now”?
You need to create an atmosphere that puts your mind and body into a state where they’re both in agreement, “We are here to create.” To the contrary, it’s important to disengage from any activities/distractions at this time/place that confuse this specific behavior.
Creating these connections slips your work into a comfortable rhythm we know as a HABIT.
But, if we introduce unwanted habits into this time and place, our mind will be distracted. If you’re used to writing a little and then checking on your social media, your brain will be waiting—and reminding you—to tap into that little dopamine hit.
“This constant stimulation of the dopamine system can be exhausting. And the constant switching of attention makes it hard to get anything accomplished.” – Susan Weinschenk Ph.D. – Psychology Today
By repeating this specific type of work (ie. writing)—in a specified location/setting/time—we are creating a habit that trains our body/mind to be ready to write. When your body and mind recognize the habit which you’ve built, they’re in better harmony to get to work when ready to put thought to paper or keyboard. Our mind and body realize we are about to write—given off by familiar cues—and proceeds to engage in creating at a different level.
Creating My Writing Habits
For me, it’s my morning rituals that alert my psyche, “It’s time to WRITE.”
I put on my slippers, glasses, and grab my over-sized water glass off the coaster on my dresser. I pull the bedroom door shut behind me and head to the kitchen to fill my glass with ice water. Returning upstairs, I turn on the overhead light in the family room, sit at my desk, set my glass on a coaster (wife has me trained), flip on the desk lamp, and crack open my laptop. All of these habits and behaviors put me into “writing mode.”
Full Disclosure: I will admit that the first thing I do on my laptop is check my visitor’s stats (just being truthful here). After breezing through the previous day’s successes (being positive here), I turn on some background music on Spotify. Lately, it’s been piano music, no words, just background music.
Much the same as a pilot’s checklist, these steps prepare my mind and body for creative flight. I open the desktop version of Evernote* and look through my “Ideas” notebook and see if I’m inspired to continue one of my existing ideas. It’s usually 50/50, half the time I continue an existing idea, the other half I pursue a new genius topic (big, cheesy grin).
*One reason I use the desktop version of Evernote, is that it pushes my other distractions out of eyesight. Another win at removing distractions.
Coffeeshop and Curious
It’s interesting to me some people are able to go to a coffee shop to write. I’m unsure if this atmosphere would work for me, though there is a sort of romantic idea to being a “writer in a coffee shop.” Not sure why, it just brings out a romantic intonation to it.
I’m curious as to how the common distractions in a coffee shop would work for me? What if someone was sitting at my “usual” table? What if some teenagers came in a were a little boisterous? What if I see someone I know and they see me and are chatty?
Are any of you having success in remote, public locations? Is it worth giving one of these a shot for a little variety?