What are your bare necessities?

The hardest part of writing is writing,” said the legendary Nora Ephron. To me, the hardest thing about writing is getting started.

Word count: 303                       Reading time: 1-2 minutes

When I finally get down to work, the walls recede, the rat stops gnawing the door, and I forget everything but the characters in front of me. Why is it so difficult to get out of the starting gate? Are there physical things that draw a person to the desk? Over the past week, I made a list of things that seemed essential to writing on different days:

  • a cup of green tea
  • a mug of strong coffee
  • a glass of wine
  • none of the above – water only, please
  • a tidy desk
  • a desk heaped with notes and reference material
  • a free writing warm-up
  • jumping right in
  • a good pen and a friendly notebook
  • a laptop
  • sunshine
  • rain
  • reading a couple of poems aloud, listening to the diction, tripping out on the images, enjoying the poet’s playfulness
  • reading no poetry
  • a quiet corner
  • music
  • complete silence
  • incense
  • open windows and fresh air

So the list revealed nothing more than the lack of a magic formula. In the end, the main thing that gets me working is a looming deadline, usually a self-imposed one. Without it I could and would avoid the pain and the joy forever. After all: writing is 90% procrastination, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It’s a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write. ~ Paul Rudnick

What makes you get started? Do you have a favourite spot that gets your story spinning? Or do you like variety, somewhere new every time? Do you have routines or physical comforts that that entice you to work?