What are the essentials for writing? A laptop (or other electronics), somewhere to park the butt (except for those who write while operating a treadmill), and chocolate are the minimum daily requirements. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t look to chocolate as part of the creative process? Indulging in this basic is part of what I view as Writing—the Sensuous Art. After all, how can we create the sensuous stories of lovers in pursuit of romance if our own senses, as writers, are deprived?
Taste is not the only sense that needs attention. We can’t be too hot or cold, we need to deal with the clutter or learn to be oblivious to it, and it’s hard to write in a place that doesn’t smell good. As writers, we need to pay attention to all our own senses just as we do the characters’.
Recently, I’ve gone beyond chocolate (and wine after I reach the day’s word count goal). Specifically, I now listen to the music that my heroes and heroines would. This is a switch from the music I listened to for years as my background for writing—Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov. Had to be the Fritz Reiner version. Whenever I heard the opening chords of Scheherazade, I’d react like Pavlov’s dog to its stimulation, and begin working. I figured Scheherazade was a great choice, given the story-telling challenges of that young woman in the Arabian Nights.
Switching soundtracks so that I now listen to my characters’ music was an adjustment. I’ve lost the automatic Pavlovian response, but I’ve gained a deeper insight into the world I’m creating. Right now I’m working on a medieval and have found that I love the music of that era. Listening is almost as delicious as dipping into the chocolate and keeps me smiling as I write.