It’s that time again. Whether you embrace the most romantic day of the year with open arms or rant about the stupidity of it on Facebook, there’s no denying that Valentine’s Day is important to a lot of people: Americans spend millions on dinners, gifts, cards, and flowers every year. The media is busy giving us all tips on how to pull off the perfect V-Day for our significant other, so I thought I would jump into the fray. For those of us who are practically married to our work, here are some tips for setting the mood in order to get the most out of writing time on Valentine’s Day and every day.
Go Out. Do you have a specific place where you go to write every day? Leave it. There’s nothing like breaking out of your normal routine to inspire fresh ideas and adventurous new techniques. Try the local park, the library, a cafe, or even your own back porch.
Use Your Imagination. Sure, you can’t be writing all the time. That would burn you out! But when you’re standing in line at the bank or struggling through a boring day at work, think about your characters. Follow various alternate storylines to see how they would pan out. Begin planning the scene you’ll write when you get home. Keeping your mind busy will help build anticipation for the moment when you actually sit down to write.
Pamper Yourself. There are days when I roll out of bed, head straight for my laptop, and go at it. I can never stay there for very long before I start to feel gross, and I have to break my rhythm to go and take a shower. Instead of bumming around, treat yourself to a long bath (with bubbles if you’re feeling particularly indulgent), a manicure, a new ‘do, an expensive bottle of cologne/perfume, anything that makes you feel sexy. If your body is happy, your brain will be, too.
Get Away. In the world of social media and cell phones, distractions abound. Disconnect. Set your phone to silent and put it aside. If you can’t be on your computer without compulsively checking Facebook and Twitter, shut it down and grab a notebook. Remove yourself from anything that causes your mind to wander and give your writing your full attention-- it’ll thank you for it.
Music. I’ve only recently gained the ability to listen to music that has words while writing, but it has to be related to the work somehow or the lyrics get in the way. Music, used wisely, can really set the mood for the piece you’re working on. Choose carefully, though: Thrash metal might cause your love scene to turn out a little weird.
Scents and Lighting. Never underestimate the value of a room full of scented candles. Atmosphere has an incredible influence on mood, from the color of the walls to the aroma in the air. Create a special place for writing that makes you feel comfortable, relaxed, and ready for anything.
Self-Confidence. It all boils down to this: You must love yourself before you can love anyone or anything else-- including your work-- properly. You can’t bring your A-game if you’re feeling inadequate. Your confidence will show in the bold choices, the energy, and the originality your writing bursts with. Knock ’em dead.