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 thing 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!