Writing is a commitment like no other. Battles with writer’s block are all too common, but it is an enjoyable experience nonetheless. Putting your thoughts and opinions, your dreams and your interpretations of characters and plots into words is an awesome thing to do. But there’s something that’s as important as the thoughts you have: the space you write from. The space you write from can make or break you; it can hamper your progress or it can take you to new levels. People usually prefer writing on their laptop when they’re in a cafe or maybe alone in a room. Some people prefer pen and paper when writing, some like me prefer a laptop and there are bloggers who prefer blogging from their smartphones.
Personally, I do my writing on a laptop, alone in a room. Coffee at a cafe is a nice companion when reading or writing, but the ambient noises tend to distract me. My attention spans are really low and anything in a cafe could distract me. Also, the fact that there are people around me tends to clog my mind up and the thoughts don’t flow freely anymore. When I’m alone in my room, I can mentally shut the whole world out and just let my thoughts flow. It’s just me, my laptop screen and my internal editor (but that’s for another day).
So now that I have described my setup, let’s talk about the tools. I connect an old mechanical keyboard to my laptop with a PS/2-to-USB converter cable. The laptop keyboard just feels too fragile and I love the clickity-clackety feel of the mechanical keybaord. When I’m on Windows, I use WriteMonkey, a great writing tool with built-in distraction-free mode, word counter, timer, progress meter and more such fancy stuff. Whenever I sit down to write, I open WriteMonkey, set a 25 minute timer and tap away, as the sound of an old typewriter echoes through my earphones. When I’m on Linux, which is most of the time, I use Sublime Text, a great text editor that is best suited for programmers. I use the HTML editor in WordPress when I write and Sublime Text has HTML syntax highlighting and tag autocompletion. It’s just the little things here and there that make you love products.
So why do I set a 25 minute timer? Whenever I write, I try to disconnect myself from the world. I keep my smartphone away and smash my keyboard for 25 minutes straight, no distractions. I try to turn off my internal editor as best as I can, and simply write. Once the time is up, I edit the text and add in a few final touches. This doesn’t work for all my posts, but this is my system for most of them. 25 minutes of just writing and about 10 minutes spent in editing and making it look pretty.
I haven’t really considered investing in an ergonomic chair or armrest, but that’s because I don’t spend a large amount of time hunched over the laptop. The room I write from is sufficiently far from every other room in the house. Noises and people talking seldom affect me here and I’m able to get my thoughts out faster. Also, for a hobby like writing, turns out the only gear you need the most, is an active imagination. Who would’ve thought?
What is your writing setup like? If you don’t have a writing setup, what would your ideal setup look like? Let’s discuss in the comments below.
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