Covering the Basics: What is required (mentally and physically) in order to
Have you ever set out to do something? You’ve resolved to do it, you know it’s something you want to accomplish, perhaps this ‘process’ is part of a bigger goal…yet, you are clueless as to where to begin? Imagine planning a road trip, with an ultimate destination in mind, minus a roadmap. You’re either going to get lost somewhere between point A and point B for an undetermined amount of time (as well as battling an indeterminate number of times you get lost!), or you’re going to fail making the trip altogether.
Writing works much the same way. The physical requirements of writing aren’t difficult…you simply need the means of putting ink to paper (and sometimes even that is a feat to accomplish!). However, it is the other components which must come into play in order for you to succeed as a writer, below I have outlined these necessities:
Required Elements for Writing:
1. Writing utensil- of course, this is a no brainer, you need something to write with. Rather it be a lead pencil, a gel pen, a ballpoint pen, a sharpie, crayon, etcetera. If you don’t particularly care for manual handwriting perhaps you’d like a typewriter or pc/word processor.
2. Paper- I’ve known writers who use sketch books or unlined pages of moleskin journals as they feel confined and structured by lines. Maybe you enjoy the lines and structure and would better prefer a basic notebook or leather journal. Likewise, as mentioned above, if you don’t like manual writing, your computer will probably serve as your notebook of choice.
3. Dictionary- this is not a great necessity but will definitely come in hand for misspellings, and ensuring the word is written in context and in correct tense.
4. Thesaurus- this is an excellent source for ensuring you incorporate descriptive wording, in a broader context of language, into your work. I especially recommend habitually introducing the use of the thesaurus in writing and rewriting your work. I do this often to make sure to remove or replace descriptive elementary words which could be said in more defining or ‘flowery’ ways.
5. A designated place and time to write each day- this isn’t a required necessity but if you do have a nice place you have delegated as your primary ‘writing spot’ along with a certain amount of allocated time each day, this will prove beneficial in forming habitual writing. As we all know, habits usually interweave into our time and space with little ease, making writing a daily part of your life with even less effort. Personally, my designated place to write is at my desk, and my time to write each day is as early as possible when first starting my day. My desk is located near two glass sliding doors, which makes for some interesting scenery and a peek at the outside world if I need just a bit more inspiration. Of course, I also carry a pen and a small notebook around with me wherever I go (and recommend this habit to writers as well) as you never know when inspiration will strike. I also enjoy people watching and listening to the conversations of others to incorporate into my creative work. Both work well!
6. Ideas and subject matter- are you a poet? An aspiring novelist? Perhaps you just enjoy journal writing. Whatever your reason for written expression, something you will have in common with other writers is the fact that have something passionate for which you wish to write about. Rather you are writing for personal enjoyment and expression, or if you aspire to do freelancing or have hopes of being published in prestigious magazines, you will always be writing about something. The idea here is to establish what it is you wish to write about before you begin your writing for the day. When you have your subject matter ready, you’ll be able to begin writing more quickly, which means a lot if you can only spare an hour or less for writing time per day. So, instead of sitting around wondering what it is you want to write about, you can cut straight to the chase. If you’re writing a book, try using an outline before beginning on the draft. If you are a poet perhaps you can do a page of prewriting and just collect a list of possible ideas. Writing prompts are also beneficial for collecting ideas for subject matter and topic.
7. Discipline- I wanted to add this because I feel that in order to write and incorporate a writing time into your daily life, one must exact at least a little bit of discipline. For example, when you sit down to write…turn the TV off, don’t be surfing the internet, and so on. Just as well, if you’re writing time is for 6pm every night, do not make plans or engagements for that time (if at all possibly, as all of us do have responsibilities). And if for some reason you have to skip your regular writing time, perhaps you can prearrange to write at a different time that day. As for many work endeavors and activities, writing is an activity that only pays off if you actually do it. So, do it!
So, whether you knew most of these already, or you knew them all, it’s time to begin incorporating each of them into your life on a daily basis. If you are a busy person with a full life, then perhaps you can plan to write every other day. The important thing is to pick up your pen, your notebook (or your laptop) and get those ideas rolling! Remember, things that are written don’t normally write themselves, it takes your time, creativity, and effort!