Writing Props


Woman writing a letter

By Elizabeth Shore

In his wonderful book On Writing, Stephen King notes a few things that are necessary in the space where he writes in order to fuel his creative juices. High on the list for King is to have musical accompaniment when he’s writing. “I work to loud music –  hard-rock stuff like AC/DC, Guns ‘n Roses, and Metallica have always been particular favorites.” (Stephen King, On Writing).

I, too, like to listen to music when I write. Rather than serve as a distraction, I find that music blocks other things out so I can focus on getting the words written. I almost always listen to classical music and usually just fire up Pandora and let it run (assuring it every 45 minutes that yes, I’m still listening). Sometimes, for a particularly emotional scene, I’ll play music from my own collection that’s big and bold and gets me inspired. Generally on those occasions I like classical pieces with choruses, like Mozart’s Requiem or Bach’s B Minor Mass. This may be a creative death knell for other scribes, but for me the intensity of the  music matches the intensity of the emotion I’m trying to create.  And if I crank it up really loud, all the better.

My father-in-law, who is also a writer, made a comment to me recently about how comforting it is for him to have something to drink on his desk when he’s writing. I feel exactly the same way. It’s not so much that I’m consumed with unquenchable thirst, but rather that I find comfort in simply having the full cup at my side. Perhaps it harkens back to childhood; my mom would prepare tea for us all the time, whether for warmth, or comfort, or simply because it was pretty darn tasty. Whatever the reason, I need that cup next to me and when it’s empty it gets refilled. Sometimes I’ll refill a cup with whatever I’m drinking and then never touch a drop. I get a spark of creative inspiration and the drink is the last Cup of tea with a biscuitthing on my mind. But for me that inspirational jolt never seems to come if my cup doesn’t runneth over.

The push pin board at the front of my desk holds pictures of my favorite art, photos of Italy, a postcard of Stephen King in his writing room (yes, I’m a nutty crazed fan), and a card from a dear friend. I also have two notecards I picked up from an author at a book signing. One says “Passion” and shows a girl at a piano with a dove flying above her. The other says “Creativity” and depicts a woman who’s just had a glowing little fairy land atop her hand. My writing chair is comfy, the room is filled with books and, on frequent occasions, one or more of my cats. Such are the mementoes of inspiration that make up my writing space. How about you? What are the must haves for the creative juices to flow?

Happy writing, everyone!

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8 Comments

  • cmkempe
    June 12, 2013 at 9:11 am

    The most exquisite perk of being in Dundee is my wonderful sweetie delivering cups of tea to me as I write. How much more clearly can one show love? <3

  • Elizabeth Shore
    June 12, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Indeed! Sounds like you’ve got yourself a good one. 🙂

  • LizEverly
    June 12, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I like to have music playing, too. I know some find it distracting, but it really helps me. A good cup of tea in the afternoon had become a ritual. Also, I run or do Zumba in the mornings, which really helps to get the blood circulating to my brain. 😉

  • Tara Stearns
    June 12, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    This may sound funny – but an egg timer! I’m a procrastinator (advanced level). I put on my timer for 20 minutes and nothing is allowed to interrupt. I take a five minute, timed, break and get right back at it for 20 minutes. I only need to do this for about an hour – by then I’m really deep into my work.

    • madelineiva
      June 12, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      I use a timer too, Tara. 45 minutes writing, 15 min break. Repeated 4x’s a day and you’ve gotten in a good day’s work…

    • Elizabeth Shore
      June 13, 2013 at 10:01 am

      Hey, whatever works! The egg timer is a great idea, especially since there’s no snooze button. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, Tara!

  • elfahearn
    June 13, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Generally I write in complete silence, though classical music might not be a bad idea. It’s voices that distract me. I can’t have any vocals going on in or around me or my concentration is shot.
    A drink is usually on the desk, too, but I can work in a library without one. My cat is supposed to be at my side inspiring me, but usually she’s working on creative ways to get my attention. Lately, she’s stayed away, however. There’s a stray outside that’s captured her heart. She’s the little rich girl confined to her pampered life and he’s the bad boy, dressed in black, who’s urging her to go wild. Romance — I just can’t get enough of it. =^..^= Elf

    • Elizabeth Shore
      June 13, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      Ha! A true romantic through and through! You’re too funny, Doll. 🙂

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