5 Things to Consider Before Writing

Before you can write the next great Canadian (American, or the other places you could be from) Novel, you need to be sure you have your bases covered. Below, I have listed some essential items/rituals you should cross off your checklist before plunging into the deep unknown.


Put the pot on baby we’re going to wordsville! You wouldn’t start a 6 hour road trip without a coffee first, right? Well, the same rules apply to writing. While it is unlikely that you will be sitting down hammering away at your keyboard for 6 straight hours, coffee can always be a great way to kickstart any writing session. Coffee contains caffeine which is a natural stimulant that boosts your energy. This will ensure you hit the ground running and stay focused! In addition, having a coffee by your side will promote a great writing cadence. By taking breaks to sip your coffee, you force yourself to pause and read over your work. This can have a positive effect on your prose and line of thought.


If you don’t like coffee there are other great substitutes (i.e. tea, water, redbull, whiskey)

Sketch Book

I am personally, a huge fan of doodling. I find this helps me clear my thoughts, keeps me on track and makes me feel like I am being productive. Not only is doodling fun, there happens to be a ton of benefits associated with it! According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology, doodlers find it easier to recall dull information (even 29 percent more) than non-doodlers, because the latter are more likely to daydream.


You can find great sketch books at DeSerres art shop, or, if you’re a little thriftier you can use the back of energy bills, post it notes, napkins, etc..

Tidy Work Space

I too am guilty of eating at my desk, but rather than starting to write and then stopping moments later take a few bites of your sandwich, make sure you have a tidy work environment to before clocking in. Having a clean work space will allow you to focus in on the task at hand and should assure minimal hiccups. In contrast, messier work spaces can promote stress, negativity, and illness. While this sounds a tad dramatic, a build up of lint, dust and pollen can lead to breathing hazards.


If you are writing from the POV of a lethargic, disgruntled, sunovabitch and you have to go to all lengths to capture their perspective, then it is okay to make the exception.

Natural Lighting

My desk is situated directly beside my window! This is because I have no where else to put it in my studio apartment and because I prefer the natural lighting. Overhead lamps can produce distracting shadows as well generate heat. Besides the obvious advantages of spying on people outside your window, natural light can make a positive impact on your work. In a 1999 study­ “Daylighting in Schools: An Investigation into the Relationship between Daylighting and Human Performance,” commissioned by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, HMG found a high correlation between schools that reported improvements in student test scores — upwards of 10 percent — and those that reported increased daylight in the classroom.

Fun Fact

Absolutely no studies indicate the benefits of people watching, but I still do it.


Interviewer: Where do you get your ideas from?

Arthur Miller: I wish I knew; I’d go there more often.

Mike Tassone