The Part-Time Writer

Tips and tools to help you make the most of your writing time

The Pampered Writer

I admit it. I’m a pampered writer. I never write unless the conditions are just about perfect. Fortunately for me, they nearly always are. How do I manage that? Fairly easily as it turns out. You see, my brain knows my weak points and loves to take advantage of them. So I’ve learned to bypass my weaknesses by giving myself what I need to make my writing time as productive as possible, no matter what.

Take the weather for instance. It was really hot this week, but I’m not complaining. I love being hot – both literally and figuratively! Actually, this is when I do my best writing. It’s also why I’m about a thousand times more productive in the summer. Unfortunately, summers are not that long in my part of the world. There are many more cold days than hot ones. The worst is that in-between period, when summer has ended but it’s not really cold enough to turn on the heating or start a fire in the wood stove. Every room has a damp feel to it that seems to seep through my clothes and right into my bones, especially on cloudy days. Getting out of bed from my cocoon of warm blankets in the morning is absolute torture. And just the idea of sitting still to write in those conditions is torture times a hundred!

As much as I would like to, I can’t hibernate for three quarters of the year. So what’s a writer to do?

Here’s some of the tricks I use:

For those misery-inducing cold days, I use a heating pad. I can plug it anywhere for instant heat. Wool socks are great, too. If my feet are toasty, it’s easier to keep the rest of my body warm. I even have special writing gloves with the finger tips open for easy typing.

But for those rare days when it’s too hot even for me, a wet towel works wonders. I simply soak it in cold water for a minute, then wring it out and wrap it around my head and shoulders for cool relief. Frozen treats are marvellous, too!

Once the ambient temperature is taken care of, my brain will start complaining about my surroundings. I have a great home office, but if I have already spent several hours sitting at a desk at my library job, followed by more desk work in my own office doing translations, then the chances of me doing any writing in there are nonexistent. So, I’ve made my writing portable. I went all out with the pampering here by getting myself both a laptop and a tablet. Except for the shower, I can write pretty much anywhere.

But then, my brain tried to trick me again: Sure, go ahead and write outside on your lounge chair! Let’s see how long you last after you’ve had to make thirty-six trips back to your office to get something you need! In answer to that, I made myself a writing bag. It follows me wherever I flop down to write. When I hurt my foot recently, it came really handy. As I could neither sit at my desk nor keep dashing back and forth to grab what I needed from my office, I simply stretched out on the couch with an ice pack on my foot. Then with my tablet in hand and my writing bag on the floor next to me, I was all set. What do I keep in there? Everything that I use the most or can’t do without. This includes a fully-equipped pencil case, notepad, important files, thesaurus, market guide, three-ring binders containing book outlines for manuscripts I’m working on, and even an emergency pair of socks (because you never know when the temperature will suddenly drop). It can get pretty messy in there if I keep adding to it, not to mention heavy and bulky! So once in a while I empty it out and make sure that what goes back in is truly necessary.

By ensuring I always have all I need to write, I effectively cut off any excuse the wimpy part of my brain might possibly find to trick me into skipping my writing session. Plus, it’s fun to be a pampered writer.

What do you need to write? Go ahead, pamper yourself!

P.S. If you’re one of those people who have difficulty indulging yourself, see this as investing in your writing career.

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