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Write On!
A Place To Enhance Your Process
By Ken Robinson
December, 2006, 15:10

Your writing environment is very important. It is a significant part of your writing habit, which matters even more.

I lack a special writing space, which makes it enormously difficult to get things done. Right now Iím writing in my car while I wait for my daughter to get out of school. For me the very habit of writing whenever and wherever I get a chance is vitally important. I can convert virtually any space into a writing space Ė this is not ideal.

Anytime I find myself sitting or waiting around, I start writing. I keep my backpack with me at all times. Itís always in the car and follows me into the doctor's and dentist's offices, daughters basketball games and recitals, and it travels with me wherever I go. One problem with this strategy is that the loss of the backpack would be a devastating blow Ė it contains my writing life.

Iíve tried other methods of writing as well. The other day I tried to talk into a recorder while driving on a long trip. But I had a hard time of it because it's not part of my regular habit. They say you have to do something about 10 times to make it a habit, so Iíve got nine more to go.

I see having a special writing place as part of your writing habit. If you have one, take advantage of it; get into the habit of using it. Having a place is much easier than trying to nab a little bit of time here and there, as I can attest to. However, if youíre serious, you do whatever you have to get the words down.

Having a place to do your work that allows you to do the things that make writing a little easier is important. If you can cut yourself off from the world of distractions that surround you and get away from the things that allow you to procrastinate such as the phone, TV, video games, and yes the computer, youíre well on your way.

Now music is another matter. Some people work well with music, while others find it distracting. Of note is the scientifically proven fact that if you listen to classical music for 30 minutes or longer at a time, your IQ rises. So take that information and fit it into your writing habit as you see fit.

For some people, the time at which they write is important. For some, the god-awful time of 5:00 a.m. is just peachy. It is true that no one else is up at that time, not even the sun for cry'n' out loud. Iím not any good myself until after midmorning or even lunch. Iím up but the grey cells that make up the right brain are still asleep. They donít shed the covers and climb out of bed until later in the day.

The way you write may also dictate your writing habit. I handwrite my work first, so I can do it just about anywhere. If you audibly record your thoughts it might cut down on the places you can do it, and unless you want to be thrown out of the movie theatre, I wouldnít suggest doing it there. One plus with an audible recording is that someone else can type it for you.

Directly typing your thoughts also limits where you can do it, even if you have a laptop Ė sometimes there just isnít enough room. Personally, I have a problem with laptop keyboards being too small.

If you do have a space to dedicate to writing, surround yourself with things that spark your imagination. I use fossils. Fossils? Yes, theyíve sparked my imagination ever since I was a kid. And now that I'm older, historical ruins ignite my imagination. I begin to wonder who these people were and how they lived here so long ago. What did these huge buildings look like before the hands of time tore them down? I can actually feel the aura of history around me when Iím there. Thatís one reason why I loved being in Ireland. I saw the things that werenít, and I wondered what was, which led me to what could be. I leave the here and now, entertained by fantastic possibilities.

Establishing the writing habit and having an inviting environment in which to write helps move you out of the rest of the world and into the business of writing. Consider the space a part of your habit. Keeping it consistent will enhance your productivity.

Write On!
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Ken Robinson, IN's Write On! columnist, winner of Bare Bones Int'l Film Festival Best Screenplay Award, has written over 10 screenplays, 3 episodes of TV series West Law, is executive producer for the feature Sacred Bloods, board member of the Oklahoma Film Society, founding member of Oklahoma Movie Makers. His email address is:

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