Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Setting the Mood

Do you ever like to "set the mood" when you write?

For me, sometimes I like to have everything "just so." If I'm writing at my desktop computer, I want my desk to be cleared of everything, my lamp on, my candle lit, and of course, my beverage of choice, Diet Pepsi, nearby. Music is optional sometimes, but I have found some great classical and baroque music stations that I can stream via Windows Media, therefore eliminating the need to change CD's over and over (I know, I know, I can copy my CD's onto my media player, but that's at the bottom of my "to do list").

When I get the urge to use my laptop to write, I'll usually have a few other things I need to do - music playing on the Crosley radio (last night it was Frank Sinatra's early stuff when he was with Columbia Records), a relatively clean house, maybe a bit of dark chocolate on hand, and of course, the Diet Pepsi.

This "mood" can invariably change. Sometimes I don't light the candle. Sometimes I have copious amounts of dark chocolate. Sometimes I want silence when I write, and would rather just sit in front of the fireplace instead of having music in the background.

And sometimes, I don't need to "set the mood" at all - I'll just sit down, open up my file, and start writing (though I almost always need something to drink, whether it's water or even cranberry juice).

Do you do anything special to "set the mood" when you write?

A Few Words on the NaNo Challenge...

I don't know if you read my comment in yesterday's comments section, but I do want to make it clear that this NaNo challenge we're going to do in January or February or maybe even March is not really a NaNo at all. Instead, it's more of a "set a goal and meet it" challenge. For example, my goal is to finish my novel. Maybe someone else's goal is to write 1000 words a day. Someone else could choose to write five short stories and submit them all. Whatever it is, that is what you will work toward for that month. If you're interested, vote in the poll located in the top right corner or drop me a note in the comments!


  1. I need to get into this whole mood thing just for Christmas, let alone in my stories. Perhaps I need to find a Christmas songs CD ... or streamer ...

    The "NaNo" thing is a good idea, and a bit like my retreat, just a LOT bigger. I'd be torn between doing it in March (31 days - longer to work on it) and doing it in February (28 days - a shorter time, so pats on the back come quicker). But January is still full of holiday for me, and I take a fortnight every Christmas, losing at least a week in December and the best part of a week in January depending on how it falls. I'd have to check Easter, though, for March, as that's another long weekend.

  2. I don't know if I need to set a mood, per se, but I do have a routine, and I keep it simple. Same place on the couch, in with the earbuds and I fire up the Pandora. Click to open file on laptop and away I go!

    I can write in other place and in other ways, but that's by far my preferred way to do the work. :)

    I'll have to think some about the Faux NaNo thing, since I'm starting school soon. I'll have to see how I work it in with my existing schedule, but I'm thinking March would be a good time. I'll vote in a day or two when I've made up my mind. :) It's a good idea, though, I think!

  3. My mood needs to be internal. Some days are just open to writing for me, some days I need a little help. I prefer to write in a clean house but I don't usually eat or drink when I'm writing. In fact, when I'm enmeshed in my writing I lose weight. Music is okay but too often I start ignoring it.

    As for your NaNo thing-a-ma-bob, either Jan. or Feb. are good for me.

  4. Your mood-setting sounds great! Can I come write at your house? LOL

    Okay, I'm in. I'll figure out exactly what I want my goal to be and keep you posted.

  5. Every now and then I'll put on some classical music or jazz (always instrumental -- never anything with vocals), but I don't really do much mood setting. For me, it comes down to just sitting down and staying put. Sometimes I write in my office, sometimes in my bedroom, sometimes in the kitchen, in the living room or in good weather, outside.

  6. This is great advice for those of us who have difficulty "getting down to it." I've heard this type of advice - setting a routine - helps in other areas of life, such as sleeping, so why not writing?
    Care to share your fave music stations?

  7. The mood? Having the house to myself definitly works for starters. A full belly and an idea.

    You know me, I'm always about some goals--and as my life gets settled--I will definitly be in on it too!

  8. No music at all and kinda cluttered is fine when i write comedy--happy bouncy stories.

    Lot's of dramatic sad music, perfectly clean area when I'm writing something sad, gripping and dramatic.

    Oh and I ALWAYS have to have a bottle of water ready as I type, no matter what the mood is.

  9. I like quiet when I write. Music distracts me when I actually write, though inspires me when I'm in thinking/planning mode. And my work area is generally tidy, just computer, notes, reference materials. I stay very focused when in writing mode.

  10. Sometimes when I write I crave absolute silence. Sometimes I want music, or background noise. It varies by what I'm writing...and probably my own mood at the time.


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