Finding the time to write a novel – Part 2: Preparation


Water in many beliefs reflects the emotional side of human nature. In terms of writing, it reflects the free-flow of ideas and the abundance of resources we have available to us.

Finding the time to write may not always be about the lack of available time, but being in the mood or being prepared to write. Besides being inspired to write there are certain resources that not only set the tone for the flow of ideas, but are also regarded as a necessity to keep the flow going. Coupled with this is the requirement to ensure that nothing breaks that flow, as it may interrupt the eagerness to continue the writing streak.

1. Research

Having ideas and developing the plot may require more than just writing. Sometimes, the topics and events in the book may require specialised knowledge that the author may not have or may require a better explanation. Many times the author’s authority on a subject matter or the story’s authenticity has been challenged simply by placing incorrect facts in the book.

For me, when I am in a rut or not in the mood to write, I find researching (even if it has nothing to do with my novel) helps me get back into the right frame of mind. Even if the time set aside for writing is actually spent on research, consider this progress, as you are adding to the meat of your story. Just don’t spend all your writing time researching every day, as you will end up never actually getting back to your story.

2. Setting the tone… and the pitch

If there is one thing that I seriously struggle to write without, it is music. I have my playlist ready just before I open any programs or documents. And if I am no longer satisfied with the playlist, I spend the opening moments creating a new one.

The music I select is usually appropriate for the type of writing I am engaged in. For the Celenic Earth Chronicles, being epic fantasy, I generally switched between rock (Evanescence, Nickelback, Creed, Skillet – and Bon Jovi for the more romantic moments) or classical / instrumental (read ‘Lord of the Rings soundtrack’ there). For Silent Hill: Betrayal, I move more towards Disturbed and some of the Silent Hill soundtracks, specifically Downpour.

Whatever your selection, make sure it is something that your brain can mentally step a beat to. If you find yourself singing or playing drums with your fingers more than actually typing…. don’t worry, I’ve done that too. And a bit of advice to my fellow guitarists out there – do not play your guitar playlist! I find the brain sways from one side of the creativity ship to the other and I end up with my fingers on strings instead of laptop keys.

3. Stocking the fuel

Unfortunately this matter is very underrated and underestimated and for the wrong reasons too. Keeping supplies of snacks and drinks near you while you write is of the utmost importance, for practical and scientific reasons. Scientifically, or rather biologically, the brain and body needs sustenance. We humans tend to forget that every now and again. It’s like powering up a car without petrol / gas and expecting it just to perform. So if you haven’t eaten or had anything to drink for a while, have something before you set down to write. If you have, keep some snacks and liquids near you for further sustenance.

Part 1: Inspiration
Part 3: Structure
Part 4: Accessibility


5 thoughts on “Finding the time to write a novel – Part 2: Preparation

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