The key to a productive writing session

Writers know that a muse can be a very fickle creature. She can be scared off by loud noises, the smell of dinner, or the sight of a pile of dirty dishes. In her native habitat, the muse is at rest and feels welcome, but creating the right atmosphere to lure her in can be a difficult undertaking. The slightest thing can upset her, causing her to vanish for days.

Here at the Cafe, we try to help each other capture by encouraging good conversation and consistent writing. So, we were wondering what our writers do to create the perfect atmosphere for their muses. Is it hot beverage? Quiet music? Soft morning light?

Here are some of our answers:

Muriel Green

The less, the better. I do my best writing when it’s just a pen and paper and maybe a cup of coffee close at hand, but no computer or music or distractions!

R.L. Naquin

My mouse. I’m terribly uncoordinated and can’t function well without it. I usually have a bottle of water or a cup of coffee, but they aren’t always nearby. I have a tendency to get up, refill my drink, and remember an hour later that I left it in the kitchen. Good thing I enjoy cold coffee.

Kevin Wohler

My day job as a copywriter has allowed me to learn to write under a number of different conditions. I can write in a crowded room or a quiet one. I can write with music or without. At a desk, a kitchen table, or on a comfy couch. To be truly productive, I need only one thing — a deadline.

Sara Lundberg

I seem to work best when I have an inspiring beverage nearby — red wine in the evening, and coffee in the morning or afternoon. I basically need something to reach for when I get stuck, so I have an excuse to take a break. Coffee stimulates and wine inebriates, so that’s why I choose those particular beverages to help me write.

Jack Campbell, Jr.

The key to a productive writing session is my ass glued to a seat and my hands glued to a keyboard. Anything else is just window dressing. I am a firm believer that the only way to write is to sit down and do it. Is coffee nice? Yes. Wine, scotch, music? Yes. No distractions? It would be nice. None of that is really necessary. When you get down to it, the physical act of writing involves seat of the pants to the seat of the chair, and nothing more.

Amanda Jaquays

If I’m going to have a productive writing session I need my writing playlists — which might also mean I need headphones depending on where I’m writing. Caffeine, or at the very least a glass of water, is appreciated, but not required. Usually though, I can just plop down, prop my feet up, turn on the laptop, start up some music, and begin writing. Well, after I goof around on Facebook for half an hour, but that’s normal, right?

Ted Boone

Food and beverage are nice, but not essential. What I desperately need is an Intenet connection and access to Google and Wikipedia. Without them, I feel COMPLETELY lost during the writing process. Being able to look up trivia, locations, historical figures, scientific theories, etc. are critical to my process.

Larry Jenkins

I’m a mood guy.  I need music.  Most of what I write has a tongue-in-cheek quality to it, so I prefer songs that amuse me.  Flight of the Conchords, Infant Sorrow, Lyle Lovett, and Barenaked Ladies are all in heavy rotation on my playlists.

Ashley Poland

My most productive writing & editing days this month included a pair of earbuds and a tailored playlist. Earbuds are essential; if I don’t have them, I’m guaranteed to get distracted. Speakers make music a communal experience — my husband all my neighbors can hear it and get involved. Headphones I’m ambivalent about. Earbuds become an internal, isolated, often deafening experience. I can feel the music and relate to it without letting anything else in. Coffee helps, but not nearly as much.

Cafe Management is run by the administration of The Confabulator Cafe. We keep things running smoothly, post stories by guest authors, and manage other boring back-end tasks.

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