How do you get in the mood? By Rita Karnopp
Has it occurred to you that when you ‘feel’ like writing you do some of your best work? I’m all about ‘setting the mood.’
How do you set the mood for writing – you might ask?
Surprisingly, it’s one of the easies and most rewarding thing you can do for your writing career.
I believe we are in one of two states-of-mind. #1 is our usual state-of-mind - the employee, the mother, the baseball coach, the wife, the craft master, or the confidant. And #2 is the creative state-of-mind.
How do you flip the switch – you might ask?
First-of-all be aware of your state-of-mind. If you can’t seem to concentrate because you can’t turn-off your usual state-of-mind – it will be a struggle for sure. You must decide there is a time for your regular life and you deserve a time for your creative life.
Let everyone around you know when you are writing – that is your time. Unless the house is on fire – do not disturb! You must not only convince your family and friends of this – but you must also convince yourself you deserve this time to yourself.
I often told my family (then the kids were young – and the husband was new to the idea of my writing), I write for me. All the other stuff I do for them – but I deserve some time for me. They go it … and finally so did I.
Now that you’re in the right state-of-mind – what next? Turn off all responsibilities – demands – obligations - and relax … it’s time to write. My rule of thumb, after years of developing ways to ‘get me in the mood’ – to write – is to set the atmosphere first-of-all.
When I write – say 1800s historical – I read 1800s novels and historical documentary books. I watch 1800s movies and documentaries. I self-absorb myself in the 1800s – and sometimes it’s almost hard to snap back into the current year.
When I was writing White Berry on the Red Willow – I was so self-absorbed it felt like the future – and I struggled to come up for air. Some may say this is extreme – but it’s normal for me.
I also ‘get in the mood’ by shifting my music or by playing 1800s video as background ‘mood’ ambiance. I’m writing a scene in a Blackfoot village and Douglas Spotted Eagle is playing his flute or the Last of the Mohicans’s soundtrack is intensifying in the background will my hero races across an open field … two Blackfeet hell-bent on his heels.
Creating mood is so important … it keeps you in-tune with your surroundings … and the book take life because you can smell the trees pine pitch, or you can hear the rustle of the leaves in the trees, or you can taste the buffalo stew, or feel the softness of a ermine lined boot, plus you can see ahead two buffalo skinners who deserve the wrath of the Blackfeet behind him.
Once you lock into the five sense of your story … it will take off like a wild fire. You are surrounded with your character’s dialog and the action surrounding them. Nothing else exists …and your fingers fly across the keyboard documenting everything they see, hear, feel, taste, and say.
I personally call this moment a ‘writer’s surge. If you’ve never had one – you’re in for a treat when it happens. I might venture to add – nothing is more exciting than a writer’s surge! Nothing!
Never stop to correct grammar, sentence structure – the time for editing, revising, or proofreading your scenes is later. Get a drink later and never stop for a minute or so to check you emails. Any disruption, break, pause, or intrusion –will snap you from the scene you’re writing – you’re snapped from the scene like a blast of cold air from an opened door in the middle of a blizzard. The ‘mood’ is over!